Summer power bills don't have to make you steam

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The stifling weather has air conditioners working overtime right now.  And that means power bills are going through the roof.  So on Tuesday, Mississippi Power reached out to 50 of its low income homeowners and tried to help them weatherize their homes.  The initiative was called the Earth Cents Home Weatherization program.  It was set up to show people how to better manage their energy consumption.

Cindy Duvall was part of the weatherization team.

"We're going to change out these bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs," she explained, while standing in Lethann Broughton's kitchen.

Mississippi Power and Mercy Housing sent their weatherization teams to Broughton's house on Keller Avenue in Biloxi.

"Whatever they'll do for me, I'll be thankful, grateful," the elderly Biloxi resident said.

The energy efficiency experts were armed with a variety of materials should help homeowners like Ms. Broughton reduce their power bills.

"If you make money, you have a chance to save.  But if you don't make it, you can't," noted Broughton.  She's 89 years old.  So her days of making money are over.

"And so at this age, on a retirement, you don't have a lot of income.  It's rough," she said.  "But I thank God that I have courage enough to keep going and trust in him that things will work out."

Frank Magee is a Mississippi Power marketing representative sent to Ms. Broughton's house.

"The cost of everything has gone up, power being one of them.  And so we just want to do what we can to help our customers the best we can," he said.

Other than the wrong sized air filter, the weatherization team was pleasantly surprised with what it saw.  They said the volunteers who rebuilt Ms. Broughton's home after Katrina did a great job, because Mississippi Power's experts found very little to weatherize.

"This home is air tight," Duvall boasted.

Broughton listened carefully when team members shared a few tips to control her power usage.

"I appreciate whatever help you can do," she told them.  "I'm a person that always gives thanks to the person and then to the good Lord because if it wasn't for you doing it, I wouldn't be able to receive it."

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.