South Shore News
TECO offers energy audits to save businesses money
SEFFNER - If you can see light coming in through those doors, air conditioning is going out. And if you don’t change those office air conditioner filters every month, the system is working harder and costing more money. Members of the Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce got plenty of other information as well during a recent luncheon on how to cut back energy costs at a time when many small businesses are struggling financially. Tampa Electric Company’s Denise Rodriguez, senior commercial energy analyst, met with the chamber to apprise them of the utility’s free commercial energy audits, available to all customers. “We can come out and go over our 17 rebate programs. Most people don’t even know about TECO’s conservation programs,” Rodriguez said. There are another 11 or 12 rebates available to residential customers, as well.The audit program focuses on saving energy and money for businesses. “It will improve your bottom line,” Rodriguez said. One of the programs TECO offers sends contractors into businesses to seal AC ducts. A gap in ducks could mean cold air is flowing into an attic instead of rooms. Sue Smith, executive director of Delaney Creek Lodge, a large assisted living facility in Brandon, said her company got the ducts sealed and is saving about $600 a month on its $5,000-$6,000 monthly electric bill. The duct sealing cost is covered by TECO. “It has been a substantial savings,” Smith said. Delaney Creek recently had the energy audit and is awaiting a report that should give the company even more ways to save. Several other chamber members said they, too, had gotten their office ducts sealed or had energy audits conducted on their businesses, leading to meaningful savings. There are also wall, ceiling and roof insulation rebates available. “We give a detailed report specific to your business,” Rodriguez told the group. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the audit for most businesses. “Maintaining AC equipment is key,” Rodriguez said, because it is typically one of the highest costs a business must absorb. And she told them something most did not know. Soda vending machines can cost $90 a month in electricity. They are a huge expense, she said. She recommends a gadget called a vending miser that plugs into an outlet where the soda machines are plugged and cuts off the cooler at night when no one is around to purchase sodas. To set up a commercial energy audit, contact TECO at (813) 275-3909. Information on residential audits is also available by visiting www.tampaelectric.com.