ATLANTA, JUNE 21, 2004 — LCEC’s Web site now features a residential online energy calculator developed by Apogee Interactive specifically for LCEC’s area weather, energy prices, and pool/spa saturation. “Apogee brought the technical expertise needed to create an easy-to-use, accurate energy calculation tool for our members,” said Joe Padgett, LCEC marketing and energy services supervisor.
The Calc-U-Saver lets customers analyze various scenarios to achieve energy and cost savings in their homes — everything from changes in insulation and windows to adjustments in heating and cooling system thermostats. “We want to help educate our customers about their energy use and the Web is a perfect way to supplement our educational efforts,” Padgett explained. He noted nearly 60 percent of area residents have Internet access.
When Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) added the online Calc-U-Saver this year, it made sure pools and spas were included. “Most of our homes in Southwest Florida have a pool or spa and residents are using them year round,” said Padgett.
For the 16 percent of LCEC customers who use an electric heat pump to heat their pools, electricity use could cost about a $1,000 a year. Using a pool cover could cut that cost in half, according to the new Calc-U-Saver.
“Customers want ballpark numbers for savings and they want them fast,” said Susan Gilbert, president of Apogee, the online solutions company that’s been serving the energy industry since 1994. “We’ve designed our online calculators to be intuitive and quick, and to provide instantaneous answers in easy-to-read graphical formats,” she said.
LCEC currently offers a comprehensive energy advisor program to its customers, where energy auditors make house calls to conduct an energy audit and discuss ways to save on electric bills. “We’re looking to touch all of our customers, and educate them on energy usage beyond the hours of 8 to 5 hours, and beyond those we can see face to face. The LCEC Internet site helps expand our reach,” said Padgett.
When the company issued its first e-mail announcement about the Online Energy Calc-U-Saver, it got 211 immediate hits, 180 the next day and several hundred more a day for nearly a week. Today, it is averaging 300 visits a month with people making a variety of calculations each time they visit.
LCEC plans to begin using the calculator out in the field, when the energy advisors access it on their laptops during house visits. “It’s an evolving tutorial tool for our customers,” Padgett said.
Apogee Interactive Inc. (www.apogee.net) is a leading provider of online solutions for the energy industry. Serving more than 200 utilities nationwide since 1994, Apogee’s Web-based content and tools reach millions of electricity consumers daily. The company also provides eLearning systems, call center programs and load management platforms to utilities and their trade associations throughout North America and New Zealand.
LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving a five-county area in Southwest Florida. Its service area includes Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee and parts of Lehigh Acres. With 167,000 customers, it is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Florida.