Since November 2014, nearly 10,000 students across Mississippi Power’s service territory have seen Energy Efficiency Education Program demonstrations from Tamara Proctor and her team.
“When we first started, we had to call schools and urge them to invite us,” said Proctor, the company’s representative for the program. “Now, they call us.”
Since the program’s inception, the company has awarded more than $21,000 in grant money to 95 schools throughout the region.
At each school, fourth- and fifth-graders watch a 45-minute presentation that gives an overview of Mississippi Power’s services, the types of devices that use electricity, a description of energy efficiency and how they can be involved in the process.
Each student attending the presentation takes home an energy efficiency kit including several CFL bulbs, an LED nightlight and a questionnaire on their family’s energy habits.
When 75 percent of the class returns the questionnaire, it’s eligible for a $250 grant from the company.
In Gulfport, Gaston Point Elementary fourth-grader Bakara Crow got jealous last year when she saw her older sister’s class having a party because it received an Energy Efficiency Education grant.
“She ate a cupcake right in front of me that she got at the party,” said Crow.
This year, it’s Crow and her classmates who will be partying because they received a $250 grant check for having 85 percent participation in the program.
On this day, the kids at Gaston Point not only got an over-sized grant check, but they also shared what they learned from Proctor’s first visit to the class.
“I used the kit they gave us and changed some of the lightbulbs at my house,” said fourth- grader Barbara Humphries. “I also use the nightlight when I read before I go to bed.”
Classmate De’Asia Burkes has taken things a step further.
“I make all my family members use the shower timer,” she said. “I keep track of who’s spending too much time in there.”
Those stories are what keep Proctor and her teammates making more and more school visits.
“When we started, we never thought that we would’ve given out $21,000 by now,” Proctor added. “Once the program got some momentum, it ramped up quickly.”
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOneTM Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.