Lowering your energy bill in the face of record demand

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Knoxville (WVLT) – The Tennessee Valley Authority met its highest demand for electricity ever during the winter season on Wednesday and according to the federally owned corporation, they were on pace to reach another record power demand on Thursday.

The TVA system met a demand of 30,537 megawatts on January 2nd.

Their previous record for winter power demand was 30,320 megawatts almost a year ago on January 31st, 2007.

The all-time record is 33,482 megawatts, met on August 16, 2007.

With the freezing temperatures outside, many are forced to bump up their thermostats.

When that happens, your electric bill can cause your jaw to drop.

But believe it or not, you can cut back up to 50 percent.

If you're a senior citizen on a limited income, there's a program that can keep your meter from spinning so fast!

Annetta Harris has on Valley Road in Knoxville for 42 years.

Though it’s her home, she said it has never got warmer than 50 degrees.

"It was very cold and I realized I had to do something,” she said, “I couldn't live like this.”

So she signed up for the Community Action Committee’s weatherization program.

That’s when Dorthy Hoff came in and used a high tech piece of equipment to find the areas of air penetration and heat loss.

"Many people don't understand weather is not only about windows, it's a lot about testing to find out what your building is doing," said Hoff, from the Community Action Committee.

Dorthy put thresholds on the doors, sealed off the fireplace, installed door sweeps and applied a foam that sealed any pipe openings.

She also wrapped the water heater with insulation and insulated Annetta’s walls, floor and attic.

"Thank God for weatherization, it's a big relief," said Harris.

But it's not just the improvements.

Annetta has to do her part to cut down on her energy use.

To do so, she now turns off all the lights and the TV when she's not in the room.

She also put in energy efficient light bulbs and cut down on the hot water she uses.

Experts say those are all things you can also do to lower your electric bill.

With the weatherization on her home and the conservation of energy, Annetta saved 50 percent of her power bill.

If you're interested in signing up for the weatherization program, it's an easy application process.

All you have to do is call 865-637-6700.

It's a federally funded program available to low income home-owners and renters.

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