Meet a real-life Energy Advisor: Jake Taylor teaches members how to save

Energy Advisor Jake Taylor may be new to the job, but his experiences as a teacher gives him a real knack for educating members on how to save money while they save energy.

How’d you become an Energy Advisor?
I started April 20 this year after I answered an ad in the paper, but I’ve had exposure to Energy Advisors before. I taught building trades for 10 years at Fremont High School and for 2 years at Four County Vocational, which is now the IMPACT Institute. When I was teaching, an Energy Advisor from Steuben County REMC helped me develop energy efficiency lessons for my curriculum. He helped add to the ideas I already taught.

What’s the last hobby you picked up?
Since I was a teenager I’ve had too many. I love motorcycling, fishing, hunting, camping—I haven’t flown in years, but I love to fly. And photography. And I love watching movies, I love cooking. A little bit of everything!

Actually, the best way to put it? I love taking in the nice moments in life.

If you could listen to only one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“Pride and Joy,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

You didn’t even have to think about that.
Oh, I’m a big Stevie fan.

How’d you change your energy habits at home after you took this job?
Some of it I was already doing before I ever became an Energy Advisor—I switched all my lights to LEDs and added dimmers. I sealed up my ductwork to prevent heating and cooling loss. As far as usage goes, my family is pretty good about turning lights off when they leave a room.

If you weren’t an Energy Advisor, what would you be?
I really loved teaching, so I think I’d still be doing that. If there had been enough demand from students to keep taking those programs we’d have kept going, but it wasn’t in the cards. This is the next best thing.

What’s the number-one thing members want to know?
They want to understand why their bill is high. That’s the number-one thing. When you ask about their usage, they may assume there’s nothing at home using up electricity but come to find a spouse or a kid left something plugged in without realizing it.

Initially, I talk to them and get a feel for what’s going on. If we still can’t identify the issue, we’ll systematically start going through a checklist. But taking that little bit of time to talk to them at the beginning makes it easier when you really dig in with questions.

What’s the number-one thing you wish they knew?
They have somebody to help them. I think most members know that there’s someone in the co-op office to help, but they don’t always think their issue is worthy of attention. But that’s what I’m here for. I want members to understand that I’m here to help watch their backs.