A GRU workshop in the neighborhood was held at the DaySpring Baptist Church
About two dozen people attended the “GRU in the Neighborhood” workshop where they met personally with GRU staff who taught residents how to reduce their utility bills.
Speaking at the May 31 event at the DaySpring Baptist Church in the Duval neighborhood of northeast Gainesville, Casey Smith, community relations coordinator at GRU, said she had been doing for several years and encouraged attendees to share the information they received at the event with their neighbors.
Yvette Carter, director of government affairs and community relations at GRU, explained how tipping helped her save money on her utility bill.
“I want to thank Evelyn Foxx and Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church for inviting us,” Carter said. “I employ some of these practices and my bill has gone down by $40.”
Brandi Shatto, Home Efficiency Program Coordinator at GRU, provided advice on how to reduce utility bills.
Residents should set their thermostats to 78° or higher for cooling in the summer and 68° or lower for heating in the winter, and check the air conditioner filter monthly and clean or replace it as needed, Shatto said.
“The three main users of electricity in your home are the HVAC system, the water heater, and the refrigerator,” Shatto said.
Shatto urged those in attendance to look into the GRU’s Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP), which helps low- and middle-income customers make improvements to their homes that can lower their utility bills. electricity, improve comfort and reduce energy consumption.
Some of the requirements to be eligible for the program are:
• Must be a GRU residential electric customer with at least one year of service at current location.
• Must own and live in home being improved.
• Homes must be 10 years old or older to qualify. Single-family homes, manufactured homes or townhouses, and single-deed condominiums are eligible.
• Clients or households can receive assistance from this program once every 10 years.
• Clients must demonstrate that they meet current HUD low income guidelines:
Will Dougherty, a customer service representative at GRU, instructed residents on how to properly read their utility bill.
Carolyn Eason, a resident who has lived in the Duval community for approximately 47 years, enjoyed the workshop.
“I’m grateful to them for organizing this because I’ve heard so many concerns in our community,” Eason said. “I’m grateful that they’re here to help someone else. A lot of people don’t understand. This meeting helps clarify a lot of things and helps us understand better. I’m going to ask them to come to my church. “
Alachua County NAACP President and Dayspring member Evelyn Foxx requested a neighborhood GRU event for the Duval neighborhood.
“We learned a lot tonight,” Foxx said. “I hope they come back. It’s very important.”
Shatto said it was his passion to educate the community.
“Community outreach is our passion,” Shatto said. “We like to help our customers and give them advice on how to reduce the bill. It’s good for them to know how to run their home efficiently.”
Carmen Burse, Energy Affairs Manager at GRU, said helping residents through these workshops is what she enjoys doing.
“We love to educate and give our neighborhoods the information to conserve more energy,” Burse said.
Other tips shared to reduce utility bills include setting washing machines to cold, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, drying your hair naturally, and using LEDs (light emitting diodes) instead of standard incandescent bulbs.