SmartHub saves: Wendell and Joanne Stevens, Kearney

Wendell and Joanne Stevens of Kearney with their dog, Casper, stand in front of the couple's solar panel system at their home.

Wendell and Joanne Stevens of Kearney with their dog, Casper, stand in front of the couple’s solar panel system at their home.


This series focuses on Dawson PPD customers who use SmartHub to manage their electrical use. SmartHub is a free web and mobile app available to all Dawson PPD customers. To sign up, call Dawson PPD at 308-324-2386 or click here.

What do you use SmartHub for?

Joanne – I watch SmartHub throughout the day to monitor our energy use. We have a solar panel system to offset our energy use.

Our goal is to try to save as much energy as we can so our electric bill is as low as possible at the end of the month. We are retired and on a set income, and it’s nice to know what our bill will be each month without any surprises.

What are some SmartHub features that you enjoy?

Joanne – I love looking at the graph! SmartHub shows us our energy use by the hour, and during the evening I can get an idea of what our base load is. (The base load is the minimum amount of electricity a residence uses at any given time. This may include items that continuously use electricity like HVAC, refrigerators and deep freezers).

When I notice a spike on the chart, I’m able to figure out what caused it by thinking back to what happened that day. I can tell when my air conditioner turned on or when my husband used the air compressor in the shop.

Why focus on your energy use?

Joanne – My folks always told me not to leave everything running unless it was necessary. If we’re not there, it doesn’t need to be on – except for things that can’t shut off like the refrigerator.

We are also conscious of the environment. I’d like to think I’m doing my part. According to my solar panel’s reporting system, we’ve saved 1.56 tons of carbon and 40 trees in 2019.

Wendell – We owned S & B Heating and Air until we sold it in 2005, so I have a lot of experience with HVAC systems and how that can affect your electric bill.

What steps have you taken to be more energy efficient?

Wendell – I only shower once a month (he’s joking!) But seriously, we use the solar panels and it can produce up to 15 kW. It usually averages 10 to 11 kW in the summer.

Joanne – We have a pump and dump geothermal heat pump, keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and use a solar barrier static cling on our windows to help keep the heat out. I also shut the computer off each night and shut off power strips that have our TV plugged into it. Any little bit helps.

What would you say to other customers who have not used SmartHub?

Joanne – In hindsight, I wish we would have looked at SmartHub and reduced our energy use first before investing in our solar panel. It’s a good fit for us, but if we would have known ahead of time we may not have needed the solar. Our payback on our solar system is 20 years, but my goal is 10.

I tell everyone that they need to use SmartHub. I make it into a game to see how much energy I can save each month. Even doing some simple things like adjusting your thermostat or reminding your kids to shut the doors and turn off the lights can help.


September 2019

What our customers say

An informed customer is our greatest asset.