For Wisconsin customers
- Alliant Energy Kids in 500 classrooms this year
- Electronic and appliance recycling options
- Summer projects? Call 811 before you dig!
- Beat the heat of high cooling costs
- Don't just disconnect natural gas appliances - remember to CAP the line
- Alliant Energy offers nine ways to pay your bill
- Keeping connected - Budget for the winter heating costs ans save for the holidays!
- Is my meter correct? What to do when your bill is higher than expected
- Power Move - Start or stop service online
- Debris pick-up reminder
Alliant Energy Kids in 500 classrooms this year
For several years Alliant Energy has promoted the importance of energy safety and energy efficiency through classroom presentations by Alliant Energy employees. Those messages are as important as ever, but we wanted to find a way to reach more students and their teachers.
"With the old program, we were able to be in 40 to 50 classrooms a year. With the new program, Alliant Energy will have a presence in almost 500 classrooms across our service territory," said Robin Sempf, Senior Product Manager.
The updated Alliant Energy Kids program targets students in 4th and 5th grade and is designed to help teach the most important concepts about electricity and natural gas: how it works, where it comes from, ways to reduce energy usage and how to stay safe.
Each 4th and 5th grade participating teacher receives a free kit of energy education resource materials. The kit includes 30 copies of The Energy Zone and a large poster to hang in their classroom. The Energy Zone is a 12-page, full-color student magazine filled with articles, fun facts and word puzzles about energy resources, energy conservation and important energy safety tips.
An email inviting teachers to participate was sent out last fall and the response was immediate and overwhelming. Teachers appreciate these free energy education resources that are targeted to 4th and 5th graders, like Joe, a 4th grade teacher from Dodgeville, Wis, who said: "Thank you for all that you do!" and Janice, a 4th grade teacher from Waunakee, Wis., that said: "Thank you so much for offering this to schools!"
As one of our core values, Alliant Energy is proud to provide valuable safety and efficiency information to teachers, students and their families. Teaching children how to use energy safely and wisely now, makes for educated customers in the future.
Alliant Energy will contact 4th and 5th grade teachers in our service territory to order the energy education kit this fall for the 2012/2013 school year. If you are a 4th or 5th grade teacher in our service territory, you can order a kit now and receive it in the fall. For more information about Alliant Energy Kids visit alliantenergykids.com or email us.
Electronic and appliance recycling options
Since Wisconsin's electronics recycling law took effect in 2010, more than 150 electronics collectors have registered to be a part of the E-Cycle Wisconsin program. E-Cycle Wisconsin takes a product stewardship approach to electronics recycling. Each year, manufacturers of products covered by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law must pay for electronics to be recycled. This funding makes it easier for individuals and schools to recycle old electronics.
Each year collectors host more than 400 collection sites across Wisconsin. The sites take old electronics from households and schools for free or a small charge as part of the manufacturer-funded recycling program. For more information about the E-Cycle Wisconsin program visit dnr.wi.gov.
It's not just electronics that can be recycled, but appliances too! According to ENERGY STAR®, an old refrigerator or freezer uses two to four times as much electricity as a newer model. Through Focus on Energy, Alliant Energy residential customers can now benefit from the Appliance Recycling program that will reduce your electric usage, save money on your utility bill and keep harmful materials out of landfills.
Focus on Energy will pick-up your appliance at no charge and offers a $30 rebate per appliance that is in good working condition, with a limit of two per calendar year. Call Focus on Energy at 1-855-398-5226 or visit their website for more information and to schedule an appliance pick-up.
Call 811 before you dig!
This August 11th, Alliant Energy is reminding you to call 811 before any digging project. It's important for everyone, from homeowners to professional contractors, to remember the importance of calling before you dig all year, but we hope this date, 8/11, will serve as a great reminder.
"Nationally, failure to call before digging results in more than 60,000 unintentional hits of underground utility lines annually, and we do not want anyone's project to become a statistic," said Richard Sublett, Compliance & Operational Performance Senior Manager for Alliant Energy. "Everyone needs to call, whether you're doing a little project like landscaping at home or a big project like putting drain tile in a farm field."
When you call 811, you are connected to your state's One Call center. That center will notify appropriate utility companies of the digging project. Homeowners and contractors should always call at least three business days before starting a project to allow time for locators to come to your home and mark the underground utility lines. Professional locators will come and mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and/or spray paint, for free.
Hitting a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages for you and your neighbors. Every time you undertake a project, regardless of the size, you need to call 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting.
Wisconsin (Diggers Hotline): 811 or 1-800-242-8511
Beat the heat of high cooling costs
The dog days of summer are here. We all want to be comfortable in our homes and we certainly don't want "sticker shock" when we receive our next utility bill. Because you need to stay cool this summer, anything that lowers the temperature in your home will help the air conditioner to run less and save you money.
Start with the K.I.S.S. principle - keep it simple and straightforward. If you keep the cold air in, keep it flowing freely, and keep direct sunlight out, your house will stay cooler. Seal air leaks and make sure the filters in your cooling system are clean as well as the outside portion of the air conditioning unit. White or pale blinds help reflect the heat and are the most effective when used on the south side of your home. Upgrading the insulation in your walls and attic will also generate energy savings.
Here are a couple more simple and straightforward tips:
- Try not to use your oven when the outside temperature exceeds 80 degrees
- Use your clothes dryer sparingly and run your dishwasher overnight
- Reduce the number of trips in and out of your home that lets the cool air escape
- Utilize a clock-programmable thermostat for temperature adjustments to match your schedule
Of these tips, utilizing a clock-programmable thermostat provides the greatest impact. According to Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities' statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, each degree you set your thermostat above 75 degrees, during the summer, cuts your cooling costs by about three percent. At the end of the day, cranking the air conditioning down to the low 70s or high 60s is a recipe for a high electric bill.
If you are interested in taking the whole-home approach to lowering your cooling bills, Focus on Energy's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program is for you. Homeowners receive a comprehensive energy assessment performed by a certified contractor who will then recommend upgrades specific to your home's needs. At the time of the assessment, you may be eligible to receive free installation of energy efficient equipment, such as CFL bulbs or faucet aerators.
Click here to learn more or call 1-800-762-7077.
Don't just disconnect natural gas appliances - remember to CAP the line
If you are no longer using a natural gas appliance, be sure to disconnect the unit correctly. If you are getting rid of, or removing a natural gas appliance, be sure to first shut off the natural gas supply at the valve on the piping inside your home. Then you can remove the appliance.
Appliance connectors can become brittle and break when you start moving a unit - which is why you should shut off the gas supply first. Once the unit is removed, be sure to cap or plug the end of the pipe. Adding this cap prevents someone, like a child, a renter, or a visitor, from mistakenly opening the valve and causing a dangerous gas leak. Alliant Energy encourages you to contact a licensed contractor to perform the work.
Alliant Energy offers nine ways to pay your bill
It used to be there were only two ways to pay your utility bill: at the payment counter or through the mail. Times have changed; now you have many more options.
If you're the "set it and forget it type", the best option is Paperless Billing with Automatic Payment. Paperless Billing allows you to view your bill online, and Automatic Payment deducts your bill from your bank account each month, automatically.
Want to pick the day you pay your bill? Make a same-day payment from your bank account online or by phone. Pay your bill online or call 1-800-ALLIANT (1-800-255-4268).
Paperless Billing, Automatic Payment and the Instant Payment Options are all FREE services. You can also make a payment through Western Union® Speedpay® using your credit or debit card, or pay with cash, check or money order at any Western Union Convenience Pay® agent location. Western Union charges a transaction fee for both of these services.
Check out the chart below, and get more details on the many ways to pay your bill.
Budget for the winter heating costs and save for the holidays!
It may still be summer, but now is the time to sign up for Budget Billing in order to even out your winter heating costs. Budget Billing spreads your energy costs across the entire year, so you pay a set amount each month.
Since you'll know how much you'll pay, it really helps your monthly budget. You won't have to worry about a large heating bill making a surprise entrance during the holiday season this winter. Plus, it could also help you start saving money now for holiday expenses!
How Budget Billing works
Alliant Energy calculates your average yearly bill based on current fuel costs, anticipated fuel cost changes and the past 12 months of energy usage at your home.
We'll review your budget plan every six months to compare your actual energy usage costs to your budget amount. If there's a significant difference, we'll adjust your monthly budget amount up or down accordingly.
Is my meter correct?
What to do when your bill is higher than you think it should be
When a bill arrives that seems unusually high, you might wonder ... maybe it's the meter?
John Van Allen, Electric Meter Specialist for Alliant Energy says "Meters are designed for accuracy and longevity. We test them regularly and replace them at scheduled intervals, but some can last longer than 30 years!"
"When we talk to customers, the overwhelming majority of the time it turns out they've had a change in usage," says Van Allen. "Many times it's something you might not think about."
He suggests you consider the following:
- Have you added a new appliance or electronic equipment like a television or DVR? Or maybe you've added additional cell phones to charge or a game system.
- Did you replace a current appliance with a larger version?
- Kids on summer break using more energy
- Are you running your air conditioner and/or dehumidifier more?
- What about a pool pump, outdoor lighting or hot tub?
- A spare refrigerator in the garage has to work harder in warmer temperatures.
Here's the good news: a few easy fixes around the house can bring your bill back in line:
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Shut off lights and game systems when not in use
- Use a clock-programmable thermostat to set the air conditioning a few degrees warmer at night or when you aren't home.
To compare your bill to last year's, go online to My Account. You can view up to 18 months of your usage and bills, as well as take care of your payments.
Preparing to move? Start or stop service online
Whether you're a college student moving into an apartment, a family moving to a new home, or an empty nester downsizing to a condo, Alliant Energy offers an easy way for residential customers to start or stop service online.
To start or stop residential service visit us online.
If you are building a new home and need to establish service, download our residential service application and agreement for new electric and natural gas installation.
Debris pick-up reminder
When storms bring trees down, Alliant Energy crews are ready to start restoring your service. Alliant Energy asks you not to touch downed electrical lines or any debris on or close to the lines.
Alliant Energy crews will trim trees or branches but does not dispose of storm related debris. Proper disposal of storm debris is the customer's responsibility.
For customer service, call 1-800-ALLIANT (1-800-255-4268).