Parke County REMC team connects members with big-time efficiencies

Jeremy Montgomery (left) and Gene Baxter team up to spread the word about rebates.

Jeremy Montgomery (left) and Gene Baxter team up to spread the word about rebates.

Parke County REMC Staking Engineer Gene Baxter is working hard to connect members with rebates—and the savings that come from building a home to Touchstone Energy Home standards. He does it with the help of Energy Advisor Jeremy Montgomery, and the excellent result of their teamwork is a lot of Touchstone Energy Homes. In fact, more Touchstone Energy Homes have been built in Parke County than anywhere else in the Wabash Valley Power Association service area.

It starts when Baxter is called to a site to review the lay of the land and otherwise prepare to add electric service. He tells contractors and homeowners the Touchstone Energy Home story, and then he passes on the member information to Energy Advisor Jeremy Montgomery for follow-up.

“Everybody’s looking for efficiency these days,” Baxter said. “And it’s a feather in the cap of these contractors if they build a tighter, more efficient home that earns their customers tax breaks and rebates.”

Baxter and Montgomery chalk up their success to the rebates, which mean retail members come out just about even on home costs for a home that’s cheaper to operate. For builders, it means a half hour of paperwork earns them a lot of good will.

Baxter said he has “the easy part,” simply mentioning the program and collecting contact information for Montgomery, who gets into detail with members or their contractors.

“I elaborate on the rebate programs,” he said. “I talk to them about fuel costs and geothermal.

“The geothermal rebate is a big help to this program. You’re 90% there with the geothermal system. The rest is proper air sealing and insulating techniques. We cover all of that with the builders in the two-hour training session.”

Baxter notes the results surpass the numbers: “When all is said and done, and the customer sees what their power costs are, we’ve made a friend.”

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