Dealing with rising energy costs

Heating and cooling costs continue to keep rising even with the best energy efficient plan.

For some, this rising cost can be reduced by installing other more energy-efficient means such as going from electric to a wood burning solution.

Perhaps you’ve been visiting and the homeowner comments on how much it costs to heat their house because there’s no insulation in the attic or walls. You go to school and a group of teachers are pooling their money to pay for a seven-year-old student to have heat at his house. Encountering problems making ends meet is something that most everyone has faced in their adult life. We have all visited homes that were cold inside during winter whether it be from an inadequate heat source, air leaks in the home or no insulation—and after all the bills, the unexpected things for the kids, there was no money left to make things better.

There may be a solution no matter your age. It’s called “On-Bill Financing”. As we know electric utility companies have long been known for having various programs to help their members with energy efficiency. Some co-ops offer one-time payment programs to help their struggling members with their utility cost. Other electric co-ops provide heating and cooling units, appliances that members can purchase and pay for on their electric bill. This often provides an answer to prayer.

Hence the program “On-Bill Financing”. On-Bill Finance programs are provided by electric companies that choose to participate to cover the cost of needed energy improvements with the cost being paid back on the member’s electric bill. This is a much-needed program here in Ashe County as well as in the other counties that Blue Ridge Electric serves.

There are individuals that don’t qualify for needed weatherization assistance or the funds from state and federal agencies are all used up. Appalachian Voices, a group from Boone, have started the channels rolling on this program, in response to a grave need that was realized after they had a home energy remodeling contest two years ago. In this contest there were two winners, and 57 entries.

So they chose to take the Good Samaritan approach and the on-bill financing idea came to mind as a way that could help everyone. Anyone who is a member of an electric co-op that has this program can apply for on-bill financing to help pay for home energy improvements.

Representatives from Appalachian Voices as well a contestant from Boone and Ashe Counties presented the On-Bill Financing program to Blue Ridge Electric at their annual meeting this past June in Lenoir. They were very warmly received by the electric company chief administrators and board members.

Thank you, Blue Ridge Electric, for the generous welcome we received. With a program as large as this, it takes everyone to help our neighbors, friends and maybe even ourselves, if not today, you may need it tomorrow.

You are needed to show support to the electric company in favor of this program.

For more information call Amy Kelly at 828-262-1500 or visit There are also upcoming meetings planned for Ashe and the surrounding counties in the future.

Much like getting electricity to an area, it takes everyone caring about everyone.

Appalachian Voices is an award-winning, environmental non-profit committed to protecting the land, air and water of the central and southern Appalachian region.

By Violet Sholar

Contributing Columnist


comments powered by Disqus