Meet a real-life Energy Advisor: Joshua Durbin on the benefits of a boring energy bill

Joshua Durbin is a farmer by heritage, and an Energy Advisor by sheer enthusiasm. Taking the position was, in his words, a “no-brainer,” and he’s been helping co-op members save money ever since.

How’d you become an Energy Advisor?
I worked for Tipmont REMC while I was studying Construction Management at Purdue University, and when I graduated they made me an offer to stay. What I really wanted was to be closer to home, so I turned it down. Then, three years after I got back, a friend tipped me off to this position, and for me it was a no-brainer.

What’s the first thing you thought of this morning?
I live on a farm, so first I thought about having to go out in the cold to feed the animals. We’ve got horses, a cow, and a calf.

What’s the last hobby you picked up?
Raising beef cattle. I also recently got back into riding and showing horses, but I’ve done that my entire life. The beef cattle is a new thing. When I was younger, my family raised 100 to 150 beef cattle, but after my grandfather passed we moved away from farming as our main source of income.

If you could switch lives with a person for one day, who would it be?
Part of me would choose a rancher in Texas, but maybe I’ll say my wife. That way I could see what kind of husband and father I really am. That answer might get me some brownie points.

In a world without electricity, what would you miss most?
Probably running water. I’d love to say technology, but having the livestock means I have to say water. My pipes froze yesterday, so I learned what it was like not to have it.

How’d you change your energy habits at home after you took this job?
I’m certainly more conscious of my usage. I always tried to be conservative, but now I really understand how to manage it. Before, the summer and winter bills were all over the board, but now I can normalize that so I can estimate what my bill will be.

What’s the number-one thing members want to know?
Mostly members trying to figure out why their bill is not the same as every other month and how they use so much energy. Many times the cheapest upfront investment in an appliance or heat source will cost you the most in the long run.

What’s the number-one thing you wish they knew?
That their bill is a month behind. Members will get a high bill on a 50-degree day and think there’s a mistake, when they’re forgetting that the month before it was freezing.

If you weren’t an Energy Advisor, what would you be?
It’d have to be farm-related. As a kid, I always wanted to be a rancher and raise cattle. I’m still trying to do that, just on a smaller scale.