CUB staffer teaches her brother that being efficient pays

By Samantha Vercellino

20150819_Yami_BrotherFor years, Atukwe Newell listened to his younger sister (and CUB Staffer) Yami Newell, talk about the benefits of being energy efficient. But he wasn’t sold.

Now he’s biting his tongue and singing his sister’s praises after she helped him cut his electricity usage about 50 percent in one week.

The father-of-three called Yami, CUB’s Community Technology Liaison, for help after discovering he was spending $300 a month on electricity and could no longer afford it.

“I forgot to look at my bills because I had set up automatic payments,” Atukwe said. “It made it hard to see how much money I was spending.”

After hearing his dilemma, Yami instructed him to sign up for ComEd’s Home Energy Assessment program. It offers participants a free personalized energy assessment, and installation of free and discounted energy-saving products, such as smart power strips, efficient light bulbs and low-flow shower heads.

Immediately, Atukwe scheduled an appointment—and was glad he did. The assessment revealed that his family was using three times more electricity than the neighbors.

“Our home was a classic example of people wasting energy,” Atukwe said. “We constantly kept the lights on and all our appliances plugged in.”

As a result, Atukwe and his family set out to be more conscious about their energy usage.

To start, the home energy assessment technician installed smart power strips and ENERGY STAR certified LEDs throughout their home. Next, Atukwe purchased a programmable thermostat that he could control from his smartphone.

Along with the thermostat, Yami recommended her brother buy a window air conditioner unit for the upstairs. The unit would keep the second floor cool while letting him bump the house thermostat up a couple of degrees.

The Newell family also focused on making changes to their lifestyle. They explored different energy efficiency tips through CUBEnergySaver.com, an online tool that is filled with simple actions consumers can take to cut power bills by potentially hundreds of dollars each year.

The family’s efforts were rewarded when the power bill shrunk to $150—half of what it used to be!

“Being energy efficient has had absolutely no impact on the quality of our lives,” Atukwe said. “All we did to save was cut out energy that we weren’t even utilizing.”

If you would like to schedule a home energy assessment, call ComEd, at 855-433-2700, or visit CUB’s award-winning website, at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org, for more information.

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About Jim Chilsen

Jim is director of communications for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
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