News & Events

Dan Husted of LREC talks about their Easy Pay LED Program.

“Our goal is to keep electricity bills affordable for our members and our rebate programs also help us meet our state’s CIP energy conservation goals. Our online store provides Lake Region members an easy, convenient and affordable way to purchase basic LED lamps for their home.”
Electric Consumers mention Service Concepts and their new partnership in their Monthly Newsletter.

“Service Concepts, a company founded in 1999 by Indiana’s electric cooperatives to support their energy efficiency programs and serve the needs of co-ops and their residential and commercial/ industrial members, is now partnering with AM Conservation Group, the nation’s leader in energy and water conservation solutions.”
Also mentioned in the newsletter was Tom van Paris’, VP of Hoosier Energy, new position at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.


“Tom VanParis has been selected as the next chief executive officer of Indiana Electric Cooperatives,the Indianapolis based service association for the state’s electric co-ops.”
Announcing Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Special Bulk Pricing

We are pleased to offer special pricing on selected Energy Efficiency items for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
This special features a variety of Energy Star LEDs along with water savers, weatherization, and energy management products for your cooperative


To find out more about this special offer from your Touchstone Energy Partner, contact 877.738.6824.
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Co-ops are helping their members with FilterChange.coop

FilterChange.coop is a program that Service Concepts started in 2012 that allows co-op members to purchase furnace and AC filters online through the cooperative website. Currently, there are over 65 cooperatives participating in this special program.

Program Overview:

Members are able to select filters by size or brand and have plenty of options from 2500 different sizes and brands.
Each cooperative has its own branded website. See what the cooperative branded website looks like by visiting filterchange.coop/start, enter a state and select a Cooperative.

Example Site:


Depending on what filter the member purchase, they will receive an email reminder reminding them when it is time to change their filter.

Example Email Reminder:


This program comes with no cost to the cooperative and provides an income opportunity! FilterChange.coop will profit share 3% percentage of the gross sales from your branded website.

Filter pricing is very competitive. Members will be able to save up to 50% on filters compared to hardware stores and contractor pricing.

FilterChange handles all the customer service

• Take orders
• Fulfills orders
• Ships orders (orders place before 3:00 pm will be shipped the same day)
• Free shipping and free returns incase a member would order the wrong filter or they are damaged in shipping
Promotional materials are provided for your co-op.

Co-ops receive a quarterly report listing the name, address and amount purchased for each member who bought filters through the co-op branded website.The rebate is sent quarterly.
FilterChange.coop is Easy!




Utility Companies Drive Adoption of Efficiency Kits for Customers

Charleston, S.C. (February 10, 2015) A newly released White Paper takes a close look at the impact of energy and water efficiency product kits and the savings they offer to energy efficiency portfolios throughout the country.
One key finding showed that utility customers are most likely to adopt energy and water savings technologies when the efficiency kits are combined with direct outreach, such as direct mail fliers, and educational opportunities, such as pamphlets, videos and workshops.
“Contrary to popular belief, utilities don’t want consumers to use large amounts of energy because that leads to a need for expensive additional infrastructures to support the use,” said Todd Recknagel, CEO of AM Conservation Group. “Utility companies will do whatever it takes, including distribution of efficiency kits and educational tools to help lower energy and water use. These programs help utilities save money on infrastructure and meet government regulations, as well as provide cost saving benefits to consumers. It’s a win-win solution for everyone.”
The White Paper, entitled, “Overview of Energy Savings “Kit Programs: Background, Challenges, and Opportunities,” was created by Illume Advising, experts on energy efficiency programs. The research delved into the background, challenges and opportunities of energy savings kit programs provided by utilities to their customers. AM Conservation Group is the largest provider of conservation kits to the utility industry.
Energy and water efficiency kits have represented an established role in the energy efficiency arena since the 1990s and have proved to be a versatile and effective way to engage customers, the paper states.
The White Paper also looked at the inclusion rates of various energy and water saving products offered in efficiency kits and found that CFLs are most often included in utility provided efficiency kits with a rate of 100 percent. High-efficiency showerheads and high-efficiency faucet aerators also have a significant inclusion rate of 89 percent.
The inclusion rates of other products analyzed included water heater pipe insulation, water heater set-backs, furnace filter alarms, advanced power strips and weather-stripping, as well as LED nightlights and flow rate bags.
“We work with energy and water providers to determine which products to include in efficiency programs to drive the greatest results,” Recknagel added.
Today, conservation kit programs serve two primary purposes in an efficiency portfolio – as a gateway to efficiency and to increase customer participation in other regional energy and water savings programs. Utilities are finding that partnering with a conservation leader like AM Conservation Group to deploy efficiency kits helps ensure operational efficiencies are maximized and customer satisfaction improves.



The Bigger Picture Behind One Utility’s LED Lightbulb Giveaway

Service Concepts worked with the City of Alameda as the fulfillment manager for their LED Giveaway. Author Matthew Wheeland is the editor of SolarEnergy.net wrote the following story on 2/12/2015.
I can’t wait to get my free LED lightbulbs.
Any day now, I’m expecting to open my mailbox and receive two LEDs, courtesy of my electric utility, Alameda Municipal Power.
What sounds like a cool but mundane program is, on further inspection, something of a groundbreaking effort that hints at the power of clean energy in northern California and its future in the state.
To get to the bottom of the impact of this program, you’ve got to start with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which currently requires 33 percent of the state’s electricity sales to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. Last month, Governor Jerry Brown began the process to raise the bar to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Across the state, utilities approached the clean energy requirement with varying degrees of enthusiasm and effectiveness. Alameda Municipal Power, serving this San Francisco Bay city of 76,000 people, took the call to green to heart.

“We were one of the first utilities to go green; we did it decades ago,” explained AMP spokesperson Rebecca Irwin. “We had a strong portfolio, and that’s what the folks in Alameda wanted.” As of about 2011, Irwin said the utility’s power sources are 98 percent carbon-free: 68 percent renewable energy and 30 percent large hydropower (which California’s Public Utilities Commission doesn’t count as renewable).
Being so far in front of the requirements gave AMP the luxury to share some of its surplus green power with agencies that hadn’t yet caught up to the RPS requirements. So AMP began the process of selling some of its renewable energy credits (RECs) to the California Department of Water and Power.
Then came the question of what to do with the proceeds from the sale? Because the revenue came from renewable energy sales, the PUC insisted that the money be used for ongoing emissions reductions within Alameda, not to lower customers’ rates temporarily.
“The PUC board was clear: we can’t reduce rates with this,” Irwin said, “and we wanted to give back to the customers…. Our hope was to do projects that would help renters. We wanted to find something that would be good for them.”
Enter the LEDs.
In Alameda, Irwin said, peak loads start at 5pm in December, reaching a crescendo at 7pm and requiring AMP to purchase surplus power on the open market, when rates are the highest.
“Our calculations showed that if we could get 30,000 households to install LEDs, it would really bring down our load” as well as lower their customers’ bills, Irwin said. “It helps everyone; us and you as the ratepayer.”
LEDs on the rise
As near as I can tell, AMP’s program is a first in a couple of notable ways. While other utilities are working to reduce the energy demand from their customers, that seems to mostly take the form of rebates offered through retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s, or occasionally through on-site giveaways. In August 2014, Anaheim Public Utilities gave away LEDs through the library, and AMP itself offered an LED Christmas light trade-in in December 2013. But mailing LEDs is a rare if not unique program.
“We have done projects like this for other utilities; in years past it was compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) going in the mail,” said Rachel Barker, at Service Concepts, the Indiana-based company that helped AMP distribute the LEDs. CFLs, which contain a tiny but not-insignificant amount of mercury, pose particular hazards for shipping and disposal, were still the bulb of choice for energy-efficiency due to high LED prices. But with recent major price drops for LED bulbs, everyone from shoppers to utilities is taking a second look at them.
“Now that LED prices have gone down, I do think you’ll see more utilities do this,” Barker said, “although they may not be doing it in the same way. The West Coast is more trendsetting — they’re kind of the first [to take this on].”
In addition to pioneering the LED mail-out campaign, AMP also seems to be the first utility to use sales of RECs to fund emissions-reducing programs within its service area. When I contacted the California Energy Commission, analysts there said the group doesn’t track that information, but even anecdotal evidence for a similar program doesn’t exist.
AMP’s LED program is just the first of three funded through its REC sales.
The utility is also working with city officials to switch the streetlights across town to LED bulbs, starting with the modern lamps and eventually replacing the city’s historic streetlights. And starting last month, AMP is working with small and mid-sized businesses to conduct lighting retrofits, and has trained electricians that the utility can recommend to do the work well.
Lighting retrofits for businesses work just like the LED giveaway to residents, but with bigger impact: Business owners save money on their energy bill, and the utility sees a reduction in energy demand from its commercial customers.
“For business owners, the rebates will cover 80 to 90 percent of costs, and they get the savings,” Irwin said. “RPS funds [from selling AMP’s green energy] go to cover the costs of the retrofits.”
The future of green energy sales?
Alameda Municipal Power has been selling excess clean energy since 2013, and sales have been approved by the utility to continue through 2016, so the funds for these projects will continue to come in. And depending on the state of the carbon market in California and the returns AMP can get for selling more RECs, the utility may continue even further: AMP has approval to continue selling RECs through 2019, Irwin said, although it will depend on if it makes business sense to continue the sales.
While results from each of these programs will be some time in coming, Irwin said that responses from its customers to early mailings of LEDs are quite positive. Customer support plus a positive market for RECs will ensure that AMP will continue the program in the coming years.
After a bit of hesitation at first, Irwin said that within AMP strong support has developed for these green projects. “At first there was a lot of concern that we couldn’t say we’re as green as we were for a few years,” Irwin said, “but what better way to prove you’re green than by reducing emissions?”
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Energy Efficiency Expo educates on how to save energy and money

Posted: Oct 4, 2014 12:53 PM by Eduardo Gonzalez, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Oct 5, 2014 11:07 AM
COLUMBIA- The City of Columbia continues its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and comply with the Obama Administrations recommendations on energy efficiency. Columbia committed to reduce energy intensity 20 percent by 2020.
An event Saturday centered around educating Columbia residents on what they can do to conserve energy. The "Energy Efficiency Expo" counted with numerous companies that focus on energy efficient products. Representatives from the companies answered questions and talked about the products they had on display.
Connie Kacprowicz, spokesperson for Water and Light, said this event helps educate people about how they can be more energy efficient.
"There's a lot of misconceptions about being energy efficient," she said. "Some people think that it means that they have to be uncomfortable or don't understand the basic concepts of it."
Kacprowicz said one of the main issues people have is air leaks.
"What you want to do is once you condition that air, you know, air conditioned or heated, that it stays inside the house," she said.
Kacprowicz said air sealing and insulation are two things home owners can do to be more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs.
Rachel Barker, of Service Concepts, said this event helps people see the products in person and ask questions about them. She was showcasing energy efficient light bulbs.
"It helps also with the environment concerns," she said. "As well as meeting efficiency goals for the utility so that another power plant doesn't need to be built."
Barker said dimmable lights are also effective when it comes to energy savings.

Co-op Lighting Lessons

- 2014 brings brighter efficiency standards and savings
By Amber Bentley (NRECA’s Straight Talk Technology Article September 2013)
As federal efficiency standards phase out traditional incandescent lightbulbs, electric co-ops are testing which lighting technologies work best for consumers. Co-ops like RushShelby Energy have long championed compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the first cost-effective, energy-saving alternative to traditional bulbs.
“We give away CFLs each October and other member  events. We see them as a quick, low-cost way our members can start saving on their electric bills,” explains Cathy Rhoades, RushShelby Energy Member Services Representative.

By 2014, household lightbulbs using between 40-W to 100-W will need to consume at least 28 percent less energy than traditional incandescents. Because incandescents use 90 percent of their energy producing heat, upgrading saves Americans an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion in lighting costs every year.
More lighting changes will roll out in coming years. The federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that lightbulbs become 70 percent more efficient than classic bulbs by 2020 (LEDs already exceed this goal.)
Lighting accounts for roughly 13 percent of an average household’s electric bill. Hardware store shelves are filled with lightbulb options. What works best for co-op members?


Electric co-ops teamed up on lightbulb testing with the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), the research and development arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, an Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.
“We found most residential consumers still prefer to use CFLs over more expensive, but more energy efficient, LEDs [light-emitting diodes],” remarks Brian Sloboda, CRN senior program manager specializing in energy efficiency. “The price of LEDs for home use has substantially dropped, so we may begin to see more LEDs as it becomes more economically feasible to buy them.”
A helpful addition to lighting products is the Lighting Facts Label. Much like nutrition labels found on the back of food packages, this version shows a bulb’s brightness, appearance, life span, and estimated yearly cost. The Lighting Facts Label was created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help consumers understand the product and buy the most efficient lightbulb.

Consumers’ energy-efficient lighting options include:

• Halogen incandescents: Use 25 percent less energy, last three times longer than regular incandescent bulbs
• CFLs: Use 75 percent less energy, last up to 10 times longer
• LEDs: Use between 75 percent and 80 percent less energy, last up to 25 times longer


Federal lightbulb standards have the potential to save consumers billions of dollars each year. For an average American house with about 40 light fixtures, changing just 15 bulbs can save about $50 a year per household, according to DOE.

A word of warning when purchasing new types of bulbs: You generally get what you pay for.


“Some manufacturers exaggerate claims of energy savings and lifespans, and cheaper models probably won’t last as long as higher-quality bulbs,” Sloboda cautions. “If you look for the ENERGY STAR label, that means the bulb exceeds minimum efficiency standards as tested by the federal government.”
The best way to benefit from this fast-changing technology is to purchase a more energy efficient lightbulb the next time one goes out, Sloboda concludes.

To learn about lighting options, visit our online store or contact 877.738.6824.





877.738.6824