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No more stacking wood: a Switch It Up! success story

When John & Suzanne Olson found out about OPALCO’s Switch it Up! program, they were excited to upgrade from a home-made wood-burning furnace and leave behind the work and hassles of chopping wood and going outside in all kinds of weather to reload the fire box. They anticipated the comfort and quality of life benefits but did not expect to see the savings on their bill. Some of the savings was due to an old and inefficient electric blower in the system they replaced. Their Ductless Heat Pump project was installed in late March of 2019 and you can see the difference compared (chart below) to March 2020: down 1,744 kWh. The monthly charge is also lower and that includes the finance charge for the project.

chart with kwh usage

Over the course of a year, the Olsons have seen substantial savings as well as reduced their carbon footprint. When asked, their greatest satisfaction still comes from the comfort and quality of life benefits.

“We are so grateful to be done with making, stacking and feeding firewood,” said Suzanne.  “We’re happy to do our part for the environment. But, mostly, we’re thrilled to be able keep our home warm in the winter and cool in the summer – with a simple push of a button. We wouldn’t have ever invested in an air conditioner, but really appreciate the comfort year-round. The fact that we could finance it on our OPALCO bill made it possible.”

Next on the project list for the Olsons is fiber to the home through Rock Island. They organized some of their neighbors to share the cost of the middle mile and will be able to finance the last mile on their bill through Switch it Up! as well. Fiber projects through Switch it Up! require an energy savings measure, and the Olson’s will install wireless thermostat controllers for their ductless heat pump – to program and control their home temperature from their phones.

Save now, pay later! OPALCO members can finance a number of energy efficiency measures on their bill through Switch it Up! at a very low interest rate (2%) and pay for it over ten years – while the savings take a bite out of it your energy costs every day. Find out how to make the switch today at

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