PSO Launches Programs to Help Customers Conserve Energy

Managing Editor

SUMMER EFFICIENCY: PSO encourages homeowners to check the level of insulation in their attic using a ruler. This attic only has four inches of insulation, but it is recommended that insulation measure 12 to 15 inches to reduce energy waste and make the most of energy dollars for customers.

Courtesy PSO

There is reason to be excited when a Public Service of Oklahoma bill arrives in the mail this summer: it signals an opportunity for Tulsans to save money through PSO’s newly launched conservation programs.

After completing their last rate case in October 2007, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission suggested PSO create programs that would help customers save money on bills.

“We saw our fuel costs going up,” says DSM Program Manager Kathy Champion. “Immediately, our president was concerned about how that was going to affect our customers and how we could help them and get them the information.”

In January, PSO filed paperwork for programs and just this month began implementing them. Programs cover residential customers by providing simple, energy-saving information and business customers are eligible for a number of incentive programs.

As a residential customer, Tulsans can do simple tasks such as using compact florescent light bulbs, available for as little as $3. The bulbs last over ten times as long as an incandescent bulb and uses one-fourth of the energy. During summer months, PSO recommends setting the thermostat at one temperature and utilizing fans to circulate air. Blinds and curtains should be kept close to keep the heat of the summer sun out and using a microwave for cooking during the day will keep the kitchen cooler.

Champion offers a few more tips:
“It’s only a couple of dollars to buy a roll of weather stripping, but it will make a huge difference in keeping cool air in and hot air out during the summer,” she says. “When you get your electric bill, use it as a signal to check your air filters, especially during the summer months when your bill is a little bit higher. Keep the filters clean and you’ll keep your system running more efficiently.”

Phantom loads or vampire appliances also make a difference in energy usage. These “instant-on” appliances typically use a remote control, digital clock or LED light of some type, such as VCR’s, televisions and even cell phone chargers. Even in the off position, they are constantly using energy.

“Once the appliance is fully charged, you should unplug it,” advises Champion. “Otherwise, it’s drawing power. If you go through your house and notice how many of those you have plugged in, you’ll be surprised.”

Before the end of the summer, PSO will also begin offering customers rebates for replacing old air conditioners or heat pumps with new, energy efficient units.

Programs offering rebates or incentives will also available to business customers soon.

“If businesses are changing out to a more efficient motor or changing their lighting system, they can receive incentives,” says Champion. “We have a higher education loan program. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce works with universities around the state to help them offset the cost of replacing less efficient equipment with better equipment. We’ll be contributing to that program and will help universities get an audit of their facilities so they can identify their biggest need.”

Cities can participate in the “Model City” program, allowing them to receive compensation for changing streets lights to LED lights. Incentives are also given to local builders who build Energy Star homes. These homes have Energy Star appliances, higher insulation and better windows and doors to use less energy.

“We also have a low-income weatherization program,” says Champion. “PSO will be working with the ODC and through their community outreach program helping low-income families and senior citizens get their homes insulated and improved so they’re more efficient. We’ll be contributing additional funding so they can help more families.”

The final business program is emergency load management. PSO estimates there are 49 hours each summer where large businesses use the most energy. These businesses can enroll in an incentive program where they benefit from powering down for a couple hours so there is no overload on PSO’s system.

The Public Service Company Web site,, is full of information on saving energy and provides numerous links to other informative Web sites on conservation. The site also has useful calculators for residential and business customers to help determine what uses the most energy in their home or place of business.

In addition, this summer Oklahomans can attend a town hall-style meeting PSO has planned across the state.

“We thought about how we could get to where the customers are and see them face to face, so they can ask us questions they might not otherwise ask,” says Corporate Communications Manager Andrea Chancellor. “We thought ‘What better way to do it than through a town hall?’ Bring folks in, let them sit, listen to and view what we’re doing. We show them things like a blanket that insulates their water heater or the compact florescent light bulbs. We talk about things like weather stripping and caulking. In today’s fast-paced communications world, we’re all being bombarded by so many messages. We still believe that face to face is the best way to reach our customers.”

For a list of upcoming town hall meetings, visit

PSO’s conservation programs are just barely a month old, but the company is already looking forward to expanding them to target the needs of customers.

“Immediately, it’s important to conserve energy because you save money on your electric bill,” says Champion. “Overall, we’re saving fuel for future generations. Resources are limited and anything we can do to ensure our future generations have energy is a good thing.”

For more information on how to conserve energy, visit

Updated 07-02-2008

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