CEO’s Message – January 2023

I admit... I'm a gadgeteer

Anthony Smith headshotI really do love all types of electronics, gadgets, and gizmos. I have always been a bit of a geek when it comes to technology, so you can imagine that when the trend toward having smart-home technology became mainstream, I was one of the first on board. In-home technology can be great, especially when it is used wisely and in a way that helps you become more efficient.

Take, for example, my own smart thermostat. It’s easy to set it to reduce energy when we’re not home and then to make it comfortable when we are. I also like that I can use an app to access it when I’m away to make sure everything is running well, and that the temperature is where I want it.

I’ve got routines set up to turn lights off at certain times, and it’s super convenient — and fun — just to tell my smart speaker to play some 90s rock when I want to wind down. It’s handy that my phone can notify me when a package is delivered on my front porch because a smart camera caught the action (probably delivering another gadget!).

Another thing I love is the convenience of using my phone to do everything from ordering lunch to reading the news, to watching the latest sci-fi show. I’ve got a lot of apps. I’m sure you do as well, but I bet I have one that you probably don’t.

Do you have SmartHub? It’s the app that allows you to pay your URE bill, report outages, and monitor electric and gas usage — right from your phone! I’m not kidding, it’s a cool little app, and it really is handy. From your phone, just download the SmartHub app. You can also use it on your computer; make sure you head over to our website, click on “pay bill” (in the upper right corner) and sign up for a SmartHub account. Smart tech is great when it’s used wisely. This month’s issue of Ohio Cooperative Living touches on some things to think about when you’re using smart gadgets, and how you can save energy while enjoying technology.

Sometimes being high-tech isn’t the only way to save energy. One thing we often overlook is our windowpanes. Winter winds can push air through your home, especially if your windows are older or damaged. Consider applying clear indoor window fi lm over any windows that might be letting in the cold air. Also, simply shutting down devices that aren’t needed, like lights and ceiling fans in unoccupied rooms, reduces your usage. Around our house, the thermostat is always set a little cool in the winter, because it’s just fine to wear a comfy sweatshirt and some fuzzy socks when we’re streaming our shows on TV. Setting your thermostat back just a few degrees can make a major impact on your heating bill.

There is no doubt that energy prices have been increasing. Thankfully, progress has led to innovations like LED lighting, smart thermostats, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. But let’s not forget that there are also simple ways you can reduce energy usage — it just takes a little knowledge and some simple planning.

Anthony Smith