Local News

KPU readies energy conservation campaign

Photographer Jeff Fitzwater took this photo for Ketchikan Public Utilities’ new conservation campaign, featuring local residents Kayla Williams, Hunter Davis and Bill Tatsuda.

Ketchikan Public Utilities has an empowering message for its customers, and it’s all about energy conservation.

KPU sales, marketing and customer service division head Kim Simpson gave a presentation during Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council meeting about a conservation marketing effort the utility has developed, and is about to launch.

Simpson explains that one of the goals is to make conservation easy, so customers feel they are able to effect change.

“From here we developed the slogan, which is: I have the power to save energy and money,” she said. “To tie into the power message, we chose to use Rosie the Riveter-type images using likeable local Ketchikan residents.”

Some examples she showed the Council featured Bill Tatsuda, Kayla Williams and Hunter Davis.

The images will accompany newspaper ads, and will be used on a website dedicated to the topic. KPU also has developed radio ads, and will send postcards to every residence. The card instructs customers to purchase certain energy-saving items, bring the postcard and receipt to KPU, and receive a credit of up to $50 on their electric bill.

“This will support local businesses by driving purchases of the item to the businesses, and the items we selected are products that will actually help Ketchikan residents,” she said. “We avoided things like water-flow reducing items and other items that are not relevant to us here.”

Simpson adds that a magnet with easy energy conservation tips will be attached to all of the new KPU telephone directories.

The website, which is not active quite yet, offers more conservation tips, such as switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and reducing “phantom energy.”

“That’s when you have something plugged in, but it’s turned off, but it’s still using electricity,” she explained.

Simpson said that plugging those items into a power strip that can easily be turned off when they aren’t in use could save a customer up to $100 annually.

Another easy tip is turning the temperature down the water heater, and turning it off when on vacation.

Council members appeared impressed with the campaign, and eager for KPU to get started. Simpson said it should launch mid-August.

Also Thursday, the Council voted to continue negotiating with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough on a way for the city to continue providing dispatching service for areas outside of city limits.

The issue has been a point of friction between the city and borough. Officials have disagreed about how much the borough should pay for dispatching, with the city previously claiming the borough’s share should be about $150,000, and the borough offering about $15,000.

The borough looked into alternatives, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough offered to provide dispatching for about $16,500 a year.

The Council agreed Thursday to offer the service for $40,000 annually, which is about the cost of one half-time dispatcher. Council Member Dick Coose cast the only no vote.

The Council’s next meeting is a special session next Thursday to talk about budget planning and to hear a presentation from OceansAlaska.

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