HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville Utilities, and in turn the whole city, will compete to reduce energy consumption.
The city is working to get into the semifinals of the Georgetown Energy Prize right now.
If Huntsville ultimately winds up reducing its energy by more than the competitors, the city wins $5 million.
Huntsville Utilities will compete with other similarly sized cities. They've got a few tricks up their sleeves to get some power off their grid.
Spokesperson Joe Gehrdes explains, "We have applied for the TVA Extreme Energy Makeovers grant. If we are awarded any of those grant monies, that will help us help some of our most needy customers to make their properties more energy-efficient."
The company plans to build off some of its current successes too.
Gehrdes goes on, "We have one of the most successful new homes programs in the Tennessee Valley. We'll continue that."
But day-to-day consumption will play a huge role.
Gehrdes admits, "We'll need the public's help to win this. We can't do it without them."
If Huntsville does manage to lean on the energy grid a little less, the prize money will reinforce the big win.
"Let's just say, for instance," Gehrdes explains, "we were awarded some of the TVA money for Extreme Energy Makeovers, then we would take some of the money from the $5 million and continue that program for as long as we could."
When it comes to actually saving power in the winter, Huntsville Utilities recommends knocking the thermostat down to sixty-eight.
Gehrdes points out, "We've seen information that says changing your thermostat by just one degree can have up to a five-percent effect on your utility bill."
Of course, residents see the usual suspects again - just like the summer.
"Weather stripping, insulation, properly caulking windows and doors and that sort of thing," lists Gehrdes.
But Huntsville Utilities can actually help you figure out your problem spots. They've got a home energy survey program, where they'll come out and do a full analysis of your home for fifty dollars. If you use one of their qualified contractors, you can get rebates toward the work.
Because when the leaves turn, it's like a big red leafy flag that your power bill can get out of hand, unless you get out ahead of it.