Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Council says ‘yes’ to energy-savings program

A program that allows homeowners to pay for energy improvements on monthly utility bills will soon be available to local residents.

What a homeowner saves through a more efficient system is what pays for improvements over a five-year period through Energy Pioneer Solutions.

At their Aug. 16 meeting, Gothenburg City Council members agreed to bill customers who want and qualify for the program.

Scott Kleeb, one of three founders of the company, explained the program to the council, during a special meeting in July, noting that energy consumption will become even more important over the next five years.

Energy Pioneer Solutions performs free in-home energy audits and targets homes they feel they can help.

Kleeb, said they then work with local contractors and suppliers which reduces shipping costs and helps local economies.

Improvements usually include insulation, doors and heating system repairs, he said.

Energy Pioneer Solutions buys and pays for all authorized upgrades/retrofits to properties up front—and property owners repay those costs over time on their monthly utility bills.

Payments are sent to the company which is headquartered in Hastings.

The city charges residents for improvements on their monthly utility bills that are paid for with a portion of their energy savings.

City officials also provide property owner’s energy usage histories if they participate in the program.

Average savings, Kleeb said, are in the 20% to 30% range.

If savings are not shown, Kleeb said the owner is reimbursed the cost of the improvement.

Kleeb told the council Energy Pioneer Solutions does credit checks and that, if a participant misses a payment, the city will be covered by the company.

Residential property owners and renters, commercial property owners and lessees, schools and other public institutions are eligible to participate in the program.

A couple of council members raised concern about other entities wanting similar agreements with the city but decided that the benefit to the community outweighed those concerns.

With energy rates rising, council member Tim Strauser said he thought it was a good way to help people who can’t pay for improvements up front.

The council approved an agreement with Energy Pioneer Solutions contingent on the city attorney’s review of the agreement.

Kleeb, of Hastings, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and House of Representatives in 2006.

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