Mississippi Power program offers free energy audit and possible free insulation

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune City Council, Randy Fischer, who is the audit manager for Mississippi Power Company’s Neighborhood Efficiency Program, gave the council a preview of what to expect with the roll out of the program in the Picayune area.

Fischer (pictured) said the overall goal of the program is help residents save money on their power bill, because in the end, Mississippi Power saves because the cost to produce power is substantial, especially the cost of building energy generation plants. Fischer added that one of the biggest problems he faces is getting people to participate which is largely due to them not knowing about the program. He came before the council to get ask their assistance and the local media to help get the word out.

Fischer said there are four parts to the program. One, he performs an energy audit of the home inside and out. The second part has an insulation component to it. If a home has a number below the designated number for this program, which is R-19, the resident will qualify to have insulation added to their house at no cost to resident and will be paid for by the Neighborhood Efficiency Program. The third part is lighting where everyone who is the program will receive a box of six (6) LED light bulbs. The fourth part is some general information and education. Fischer has done approximately 2,500 audits and he shares information from that experience to suggest behavior changes to help promote better power conversation.

Initially, the program will be implemented in four areas in Picayune and eligibility is based on historical financial information in regards to income. The first four areas that will be part of the project include an area on East Canal Street between Highway 11 and Interstate 59, east of North Beech Street between Palestine Road and Sixth Avenue to Dozier Street, the east side of Neal Road from Mark Street to Morris Street, and the east side of Highway 11 from Carroll Street to Laird Street to Adcox Road.

(Note: maps of the area are included below at the end of this story)

Fischer said that program will work north to Carriere and up to Poplarville in order to make the insulation installation easier for the contractor to schedule and complete the work.

Fischer said that in the currently designated areas, he will go to the homes and if the occupant is not home, he will leave a door hanger to provide a number to reach him to schedule the initial appointment and assessment.

The program is open to all income qualifying homeowners and tenants (rental units are eligible). While mobile homes are not eligible for the program, Fischer does attempt to provide educational information to the mobile home residents in regard to mobile home energy saving ideas.

Fischer said the program does have a budget, but did not disclose that number.

If an area is not in one of the qualifying areas, the resident can contact Catholic Charities in Biloxi at 228-701-0555 or 855-847-0555 to see if they can become income qualified and be included in the program.

Fischer can be reached through the program’s main number at 855-693-8326.

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