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Members Improve Homes With BEC Energy Saver Program

Story and video by David Norris

It was getting late, and Gail Chappell decided it was time to turn in for the night. As she walked from the comfort of her living room to the bedroom, she could feel the temperature begin to rise. This was nothing new for Chappell. By now, turning on the fan to keep this part of the house cool had become a nightly ritual.

“In 10 years at this house, I’ve never had air or heat in my bedroom or bathroom,” said Chappell.
It’s not like she didn’t try to have it fixed. Over the years she said several people came out to look at her HVAC system, but no one could pinpoint the problem. When her husband, Steve, died in 2019, getting it fixed suddenly seemed even more difficult.

“I lost three quarters of our income when he passed,” said Chappell. “Financially it was a problem. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. Until Bandera Electric came along.”

Chappell decided to try out the Energy Saver Program offered by Bandera Electric Cooperative. The plan provides BEC members with interest-free on-bill financing for energy efficiency upgrades for their home. When BEC’s energy services team arrived at Chappell’s home to investigate, Chappell said they discovered something no one else had been able to find.

“They checked out my AC system and found out that the converter was a 2014, but my system in the attic was a 2007. It needed to be upgraded because they weren’t working together,” she said.

A short time later and her HVAC system was working like new. Chappell said she couldn’t be happier with the outcome. After a decade of sweating it out at night, she now sleeps soundly in her room without the constant hum of the fans.

Chappell knew she wasn’t done. She wanted to make her home more energy efficient, but there was yet another big problem standing in the way.

“I knew the windows weren’t energy efficient,” she said.

Chappell was able to use the Energy Saver Program again to finance new, energy-efficient windows throughout her home.

“Now my windows have been built and they’re ready to install,” said Chappell. “I’ve been telling everybody that has Bandera Electric, especially the seniors that I know, if you’re not on this program you need to get on the program”

Miles away, Amy Mitchell and her husband were having their own discussions about energy efficiency. This one, however, was more focused on how they could use the sun to help power their home.

“My husband and I always tell each other, solar will pay for itself,” said Mitchell. “He started talking to BEC about solar, and then he started telling me what he was learning.”

After many weeks of research, they decided they liked what BEC had to offer, specifically the benefits of a custom-designed solar power system and Tesla Powerwall for energy storage. After a few conversations with the energy services team at BEC, they knew they’d made the right decision. Mitchell and her husband signed up for both the Apolloware Saver and the Solar Saver programs.

“We decided BEC was the one. We loved their incentives and just how helpful they were throughout the process,” said Mitchell. “We have one Tesla Powerwall for now but are in discussions with BEC to get a second.”

Mitchell said they have already seen a drop in their monthly utility bill. As for exactly how much they’re saving, Mitchell said it’s too soon to tell. However, after looking at their bills and doing some quick math, Mitchell said the future is looking good.

“My husband and I broke down our costs, and it looks like we’ll see about a 50% reduction in our bill. Maybe more!” she said. The benefits and peace of mind, Mitchell said, are worth the investment. Saving money and education are just the beginning.

“We’re more self-sufficient. We don’t have to rely so much on electricity, and that’s a blessing to know,” she said. “It really has changed my outlook on how I do things, how I run my home. It’s taught us to be more energy efficient. If you’re not using it, turn it off.”

Mitchell and Chappell agree BEC isn’t just about business, it’s about a relationship and concern for community they’ve come to love. To learn more about BEC’s Energy Saver Program, visit BanderaElectric.com/EnergySaver.

Posted: 10/22/2021 11:39:40 AM
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