Progress Energy
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06/28/07 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

This morning, Progress Energy celebrated the kickoff of its “Save The Watts” campaign. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker was among the speakers at the event, which was held on the front lawn of a South St. Petersburg Progress customer. Beneath a gazebo that could barely fend off the heat of the summer sun, Progress energy employees demonstrated various ways in which consumers can cut back their energy uses. And their energy costs.

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Senior energy delivery analyst Tom Artau stood near a replica of an air conditioner as he described a facet of Progress Energy Florida’s “Energy Wise” program. This one involves shutting off air conditioners or heaters in events of extreme heat or cold.

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While this may seem like absurd as we plunge further into the throes of another Florida summer, Artau said that customers participating in the Energy Wise program can save up to $145 per year on their energy bills. But this was just one of over a hundred ways Progress spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs says that the Save the Watts program lists on its Web site, savethewatts.com.

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Jacobs said that in addition to trying to get consumers and businesses to change their ways when it comes to energy consumption, Progress is also trying to develop cleaner sources of energy.

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Progress also has nuclear plant at Crystal River and plans to build another eight miles away. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker said that the development of alternative fuel sources is a national security issue as well as an environmental issued, but that he believes that its most important aspect is economic.

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Progress held the Save the Watts kickoff event at the home of elementary school special education teacher Maxine Robinson. Robinson said that she sought to reduce her energy consumption a year ago, and that Progress contacted her about holding the event in her front yard.

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Robinson said that two things spurred her decision to change all of the light bulbs in her home to compact fluorescent light bulbs, switch to more effective insulation, and make other energy saving changes.

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Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Regional Program Director Ulla Reeves says that she has never seen a power company launch an outreach effort like the Save the watts campaign. Reeves said that she applauds Progress’s effort, but she hopes that there is much more to Progress Florida’s move to get customers off the grid.

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Reeves said that other energy companies in the Southeast, including Progress North Carolina, have taken more concrete strides in pursuit of cleaner, safer energy.

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Other energy saving tips Progress is including in its Save the Watts campaign include cleaning air conditioner filters monthly, using three-way lamps, and planting trees around your home for shade.

For more information on the program, visit savethewatts.com. To find out more about the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, visit www.cleanenergy.org.

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