2020: The Year of the Electric Vehicle

Thanks to advancements in technology, EVs are now an affordable alternative for the average consumer. With increasingly affordable vehicles, longer-lasting batteries, efficient charging options and a rapid increase in charging stations across the country, experts say that 2020 will be the year the electric car finally permeates the mass market.

PSO offers up to $250 in rebates on a Energy Star-certified Level 2 EV Charger, meaning you can charge fast and efficiently without breaking the bank. Check it out!


Here are five facts to know about EVs:

Long-term savings: Electric vehicles cost significantly less to maintain than their gas-powered counterparts.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, on average it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle. In Oklahoma, it’s even more affordable—as of this writing, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Oklahoma costs about $2.26, while an electric eGallon (the cost of fueling with electricity) is roughly $.89 a gallon. Put another way, it costs you $36 to fill up a 16-gallon gas vehicle, but only $14 for the electric equivalent. That’s over 60 percent cheaper! If you fill up on average about once a week, that’s over $1,000 in savings over a single year. Calculate fuel savings based on where you live.

Up-front costs: Electric vehicles are cheaper than ever

Not so long ago, those shopping for electric cars were faced with a difficult choice—pay considerably more for a high-end EV with long battery range, or settle for a tiny car with a short battery range, but a lower MSRP. Now, with improved technology and more car manufacturers getting in the EV game, you can get a new electric car for roughly the same price as a lot of gas-powered counterparts.

Oklahoma offers significant tax credits for electric vehicle purchases

While the federal government recently chose to end its electric vehicle tax credit incentive, there’s no need to fret: Oklahoma legislature voted to extend its own alternative fuel tax credit program with some alterations—namely, shifting from a flat percentage credit to credit by weight of the vehicle.

What does this mean? Most mass-market consumer EVs can qualify for a tax credit of around $5,500. You can search for rebates by state at AFDC.

Oklahoma ranks as the best place to own an electric vehicle in the U.S.

For several years, Oklahoma has ranked as the best state to own an electric vehicle based on its low cost of electricity, the number of charging stations per capita, and year-over-year EV sales increases. That #1 ranking is about to be further cemented as Francis Renewables prepares to add 250 fast chargers at 110 locations across the state. See a list of public charging stations.

PSO offers rebates on Level 2 EV Chargers

Level 1 home chargers are easy and affordable, but they require longer charging times — a full electric battery could take over 20 hours to fully recharge. On the other hand, Level 2 chargers “fill up” your EV battery five times faster than Level 1s. And the cost to own one just got more affordable thanks to rebates from PSO. Now, when you purchase an Energy Star-certified Level 2 EV Charger, PSO will give you up to $250 in rebates. View more EV tools and resources and get on the road to savings with rebates from PSO.

Be Green. Save Energy. Show your Lawn Some love with these Four Energy-Efficient Landscaping Tips!

We talk a lot about saving energy around your home and office (it’s one of our favorite topics). But you don’t have to be inside to be energy efficient. Turns out some simple landscaping ideas can help you save energy, and keep your backyard looking beautiful!

Don’t worry; you don’t have to have a green thumb to try these tips. But if you want to be green (and save green), here are four ways to save power between April showers and May flowers.

Plant a shade tree
This is one of our favorite tips — plant a tree on the side of your home facing direct sunlight. You’ll screen your house from up to 70% of the sun’s rays, and enjoy energy savings up to 50%. In fact, summer daytime temps in shaded areas can also be a full six degrees cooler than non-shaded areas. Where should you plant? Consider the sun’s direction. We suggest shading the west and east-facing walls of your home and your roof so your A/C doesn’t have to work as hard, as well as over pavement and stone patios, which absorb heat and reflect it back onto your home.

Stumped about what type of tree to plant? Deciduous trees like oak, maple, and hickory block sunlight mostly during the spring and summer, and lose their leaves in the fall, while evergreen trees never lose their leaves and provide shade year-round. Up to you, but you can’t go wrong with planting some arbor near your abode.

Pro Tipplant trees and all other greenery at least a foot away from your home so the roots don’t spread to your house’s foundation.

Save time and plant a vine
Trees take time to grow, especially when you plant a sapling. While you’re waiting for your trees to grow, spruce up your space and save energy too with vines and ivy. The leaves of fast-growing vines provide shade to filter out sunlight. As an added bonus, they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. We suggest planting plant-climbing vines and ivy on archways, trellises, pergolas and columns. You can also plant bushes, vines and shrubs near your outside walls to trap pockets of “dead air,” and control temps all year long.

Win with the wind
Want to get really fancy? Use the wind to control your home’s temperature. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it is. During the summer, spend some time outside to figure out where the evening breezes come from. Next, create a “wind funnel” by planting greenery to funnel those breezes towards your house. This keeps your home cooler in the summer. During the winter, determine where your winter breezes are coming from and create a “windbreak,” using landscaping to block cold winds from hitting your home. What type of greenery works best? Thick vegetation like shrubs and trees work great, but you can also install tall and mid-sized fences too. Wind funnels and windbreaks keep your indoor and outdoor temperatures under control, lower your energy use, and add to your property’s ambiance. Nice!

Save H20 by Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is the term for landscaping with plants that use less water. You can reduce your outdoor water use by up to 50% simply by switching from thirsty grass to planting beds, wild flowers, or mulch. Native plants and shrubs not only require less water to survive, but they also adapt well to your yard’s soil and climate, don’t need pesticides or fertilizers, and provide food for birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, and other wildlife. You can also get creative, and build a deck, patio, or stone or gravel-walking path. Xeriscaping may not save power per se, but it does preserve the most precious resource of all: H2O.

Try these four tips and your neighbors will be green with envy when they see your beautiful yard — and hear about your major energy savings. For all the ways you can save inside and out, visit powerforwardwithpso.com

Special thanks to LawnStarter and Oklahoma freelance writer and amateur landscaper, Alexis Jones, for providing some of the tips used in this article!

Light Bulbs – Watts the Difference?

It’s pretty clear we’re huge fans of LED light bulbs. But you may be thinking: “Why?”

We’re glad you asked. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between bulbs is, this is your “light bulb moment!” 

Background on Bulbs

Before we get started, some good light bulb terms to know are lumens and watts.
Watt-ch this video for a quick overview:

Here’s a breakdown of the lights you can buy for your home — Incandescent, CFL, and LED:

Incandescent
Incandescent bulbs use a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing. Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, requiring new energy-efficient lighting standards for basic light bulbs. Standard incandescent bulbs are being phased out, and for good reason: they only last for one year on average and use up to 75% more energy than LED bulbs!

CFL
Compact fluorescent light, or CFL, light bulbs are filled with mercury vapor that emits UV light when electricity is applied to it. The bulbs have a coating inside that turns UV rays into visible light. While CFL bulbs use less energy than incandescent light bulbs, there’s only one clear winner when it comes to saving energy — LED!

LED
Light-emitting diodes, or LED, are semiconductors that turn into light as electricity passes through them. LEDs are more efficient than incandescent and CFL light bulbs, so less energy radiates from the bulbs as heat, making LEDs much cooler too. LED lights also don’t burn out, they just grow dimmer. Most LED lights have an average life span of 25,000 hours, so if you kept your LED bulb on 24/7/365, it could last nearly three years! Oh yes, they also use way less watts. In fact, LEDs are at least 75% more energy efficient than incandescent.

Watt’s the big deal about LED? Here’s how many watts each bulb uses for the same light output.

LED CFL Incandescent
14 – 16 watts  23 watts 100 watts
12 – 13 watts 20 watts 75 watts
8 – 9 watts 15 watts 60 watts

What about color?
The light bulb you choose isn’t just about the energy it saves or how long it lasts. Lighting directly affects the atmosphere and mood of a home. Light color is measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. A lower Kelvin number means a more yellowish light, while a higher Kelvin number means the light is white to blue.

Worried about cost?
Don’t be. LEDs do cost a little bit more, but they last much longer and use far less energy. Also, we’ll help you pay for them, with instant savings of up to $2 per bulb at participating retailers!

Now you can see why we’re such big fans of LED light bulbs, right? We hope you are too! Now it’s your turn to experience the LED difference for yourself.


Spring into Energy Savings with these Five Spring Cleaning Tips!

Spring is here (woop, woop)! Sure, building snowmen and drinking cocoa was pretty great, but we’re ready to come out of hibernation and bask in warmer weather!

Doing some spring-cleaning around your home? While you’re sprucing up your place, there are plenty of easy ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency too. You’ll make your house more comfy, save energy and money, and get a head start on one of the most active energy seasons of the year — summer.

So be green (and save green) with these five energy-saving, spring-cleaning tips!

Switch your fans

Did you switch your ceiling fans to run clockwise in the winter to push air down? Good for you! Now it’s time to switch them to run counter-clockwise. This will pull warm air up and keep A/C energy costs down. Pro Tip — wipe down the blades first. Oklahoma is allergy HQ, so you don’t want to spread dust.

Reprogram your thermostat

Spring means longer days and warmer nights, so here’s a good rule of thumb — set your A/C to turn on at 78℉ and your furnace to kick in at 68℉. Even better? Sign up for PSO Power Hours and get instant savings of $110 on eligible WiFi thermostats that allow you to adjust your thermostat from anywhere!

Keep your electronics away from your thermostat

Your thermostat gets confused easily. If it’s near electronics, it may think your home is warmer than it actually is and keep your A/C running longer than necessary. So if you’re rearranging your furniture, make sure you keep your heat sources like lamps and TVs away from the thermostat.

Dust everything.

And we do mean everything. Air vents, light bulbs, ceiling fan blades, baseboard, electronics, all of it. Each uses more energy when it’s covered in dust. Be sure to open a door or window when cleaning to keep those dust bunnies gone for good.

Take the LED.

Hey, you’re dusting your lights anyway. Might as well replace your energy-draining bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs, which can use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Good news, we’ll also help you pay for them!

Feeling more ambitious? Go the extra step and weatherize your home. Our customers love PSO’s home weatherization assistance because it helps keep their home more comfortable all year long. While we recommend weatherization for everyone, qualifying customers can also get this service for FREE! What could be better?

Spring into energy savings all year long with tips, rebates and more from your friends at PSO.


Go Green this St. Paddy with these Delectable Cheddar Chive Shamrock Scones

You don’t have to be Irish to love March 17. Especially when you have these cheddar chive shamrock scones on the menu! Four-leaf clovers are a sign of good luck. You’ll feel very fortunate when you chow down on these cheesy delights.

This recipe comes courtesy of Food Network, which has lots of other scrumptious St. Patrick’s Day recipes too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat dry milk powder 
  • 30 chives 
  • ¾ cup lightly packed fresh dill
  • ¾ cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 4 ounces  extra-sharp white Cheddar, grated
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 cold and 1 at room temperature 
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Special Equipment: 2-inch wide, heart-shaped cookie cutter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk the cream, egg, and milk powder together in a liquid measuring cup. Put 20 chives, ½ cup of dill, and ½ cup of parsley in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt, and pulse in the food processor until well combined with the herbs. Add the cheese and pulse a few times to combine. 
  3. Cut the cold stick of butter into pieces. Add a few pieces at a time to the food processor. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and mix with a fork, incorporating the dry ingredients a little at a time until a dough forms. Lightly knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together.   
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a ¾ inch-thick rectangle (about 9 by 7 inches). Use a floured, 2-inch-wide, heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out 20 hearts as close together as possible. Arrange four of the hearts in a four-leaf clover pattern (with the points of all the hearts meeting in the center) on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining hearts for a total of five clovers, spacing them evenly apart. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Brush the tops lightly with cream and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake the scones until golden brown, about 25 minutes.  
  6. Meanwhile, pulse the remaining 10 chives, ¼ cup dill and ¼ cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the stick of room-temperature butter and pulse until mixture is light green and well combined. Serve the scones warm with the herb butter.

These four-leaf clover scones will win four-star rave reviews from your guests, guaranteed.