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Relationship with Xcel Energy

 

What's the relationship between Xcel Energy and the NEC?

Since the 1980s, we've partnered with Northern States Power and Xcel Energy to deliver home energy efficiency programs around the state, including home energy audits and the Home Energy Squad. 

If you’ve had a visit from one of our energy auditors or Squad members, you might have noticed their work clothes had both Xcel Energy and NEC logos. That’s why some of the emails you receive about our services are from the NEC, rather than Xcel Energy. Together, our organizations are dedicated to helping you reach your home energy efficiency goals.

Home Energy Audit

What is a home energy audit?

During an in-home audit, a trained expert assesses how much energy your home uses, and then suggests measures to improve the energy efficiency and safety of your home.

What are the benefits of an in-home audit?

An energy expert reviews your attic, insulation, doors, windows, furnace or boiler, and appliances and then identifies energy wasters, such as insufficient insulation or inefficient appliances. Your auditor will also diagnose health and safety issues, and will offer solutions for humidity and ventilation problems. Plus, you receive options for financing and rebates to help you make improvements.

How do I schedule a home energy audit?

Xcel Energy gas and/or electric customers call 1-800-895-4999. (Note: you must be a combined gas/electric customer for the Infrared Audit.) If you are a CenterPoint Energy gas customer, call 1-800-234-5800.

How do I know which home energy audit is right for me?

Choose from three types of home energy audits depending on your energy conservation goals: a Standard Audit, a Standard Audit with Blower Door and the Standard Audit with Blower Door and Infrared (Xcel energy electric/gas customers only). If you are unsure what audit is best for your home, call the NEC at 651.221.4462 ext. 123.

What does a blower door do?

A blower door is a diagnostic tool that determines how much air your home loses through the various air leaks in your home.

What does an infrared camera do?

An infrared camera is a diagnostic tool used to scan your home’s walls and ceilings. The camera shows temperature differences and gives a visual indication of where insulation is present, missing or just not working effectively.

How long does a home energy audit take?

            Standard Audit: Generally less than an hour
            Standard Audit with Blower Door: Generally 1-1 ½ hours
            Standard Audit with Blower Door and Infrared: Generally 1 ½ - 2 hours

How much does a home energy audit cost?

Audits are subsidized by utility companies. Prices for Xcel Energy customers are:
Standard Audit = $30
Standard Audit with Blower Door = $60
Standard with Blower Door & Infrared = $100

I’m on a limited income; can I get a free home energy audit?

Contact these organizations for information on programs for customers with lower incomes:
Energy CENTS Coalition: 651.774.9010
Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties: 651.645.6445
Community Action of Minneapolis: 612.335.5911

Other organizations that may help with minor home repairs:
Housing Resource Center (see website for the number for your area)
A Brush with Kindness (Habitat for Humanity): 612.788.8169

Do I need to do anything to prepare for my home energy audit?

Be prepared to point out specific areas of your home where you may have concerns, and feel free to ask questions. Please have access available to your attic to assess insulation levels.

I didn’t get my home energy audit report.

Audit Reports are sent by mail or email. If you have not received your report within one week of your audit, first check your email application’s junk mailbox or spam folder. Customers without an email will be mailed their report within one week of their audit. If you have not received your report, call the NEC at 651.221.4462 ext. 136.

 

Home Energy Squad

What is the difference between an audit and a Squad visit?    

A Squad visit results in energy saving measures being installed during the visit, while an audit gives homeowners information on the most cost beneficial steps they can take to make their home more energy efficient.

What is the cost of a Squad visit?

The cost varies but is somewhere between $40 and $80.

Do you recommend both an audit and a Squad visit?  Which should be done first?

Customers will usually benefit from both services, and usually the Squad visit happens first.

Is there a cost if nothing is installed?

If the Squad makes a trip out to the house and there are energy saving measures that can be installed, but the homeowner chooses not to accept any measures, they will be asked to pay a $30 trip charge.

Do I need landlord approval?

Yes. You will need approval form your landlord if the Squad is installing a programmable thermostat.

Can I schedule a visit if I don’t want or need bulbs/thermostat/water heater blanket?

As long as there are some measures that can be installed, the visit can happen.

How long does the appointment take?

It usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, but can run to 2 hours if there is great need.

Can you put weather stripping on patio doors?

Unfortunately no, we are not able to weather strip a leaky patio sliding door.

Do you do anything for windows?

No. Windows are best addressed by the homeowner due to the time intensive nature of the work.

Do you do insulation?

No, but we do inspect your attic for insulation and make recommendations as to what is needed.

What area do you service?

The Squads serve all customers in the east metro area that have Xcel Energy gas and electricity, plus customers in the Northfield and St. Cloud areas.

Loans

What types of loans are available?

Energy Smart Homes for Saint Paul homeowners. Repayment deferred for 15 years or until you sell your home.
Fix-Up Fund available statewide for almost any home improvement.
Fix-Up Fund (unsecured) a welcome financing tool for Minnesota homeowners who do not have equity in their homes.
Energy Fix-Up Loan makes key energy system improvements possible at a low interest rate.
Suburban Ramsey County Energy Conservation Deferred Loan a loan for homeowners in select Ramsey County cities that is forgiven when you own your home for ten years.

When will I know my loan is approved?

Loans are generally approved seven business days after your paperwork is submitted.

Do you credit score your loans?

Only the Fix-Up loans are credit scored.

I’m not sure about my credit rating, will I still be approved?

Each situation is unique. Please speak with LeAnne, NEC Loan Manager, at 651.221.4462 Ext. 132.

Do you have any grants for low income households?

Depending on your net income and what city you live in, you may qualify for the Energy Smart Homes program or the Suburban Ramsey County Deferred Loan program.

Are your loans secured?

Yes, all loans EXCEPT the Unsecured Fix-Up loan and Energy Fix Up loan are secured by a mortgage on the property.

Are your loan programs asset restrictive?

The Suburban Ramsey County Deferred Loan does have asset restrictions which are listed on the program page.

Do I need to schedule an audit when applying for a loan?

An energy audit is not required when applying for the Fix-Up Fund. An energy audit is required for the Energy Smart Homes Loan, the Suburban Ramsey County Deferred Loan and the Minnesota Energy Loan. It is advised to wait until your loan is approved before scheduling a home energy audit.

 

Rebates

What energy rebates are available from Xcel Energy?

Xcel Energy's Home Performance Rebate program rewards you with up to $1,200 in cash rebates when you install a wide variety of energy-saving improvements, equipment, and appliances.

Ground Source Heat Pump Rebates: Cash rebate of $150 per ton (5 ton limit) makes purchasing a high-efficiency ground source heat pump more affordable.

Heating Rebates: Rebates on home heating for Minnesota gas customers.

High Efficiency Cooling Rebates: Minnesota electric customers can earn up to a $400 rebate.

Insulation Rebates: Rebates on home insulation for Xcel Energy’s Minnesota gas and electric customers.

Saver's Switch: Use a Saver’s Switch with your air conditioning system and save 15%--guaranteed—on your June through September electric bills.

Water Heater Rebates: Water heater rebates for Minnesota are more comprehensive than ever.

2011 Federal Tax Credits for residential energy efficiency such as biomass stoves, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, insulation, roofs (metal & asphalt), water heaters (non-solar), windows and doors, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines (residential), solar energy systems, and fuel cells.

ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder

How do I schedule a follow-up blower door test and final Home Performance inspection?

Contact the NEC at 651-221-4462 ext. 136 or email us at info@thenec.org.

 

Home Repairs and Improvements

What options are available to help finance home repairs and improvements?

Please see our Home Energy Financing section for our available options.

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