Killing unnecessary kilowatts a quality of life issue

Janet-Taylor Birkey

One of the “bennies” of living in base housing is that Airmen don’t see utility bills in their mailbox or deduct them from their bank accounts. So why should Airmen care what it costs to cool, heat and light their homes? Why should Cannon’s annual $6.2 million utility bill even faze them?
Simply put, better housing, better dorms and better facilities.
“That bill takes away from operating funds,” said Kenneth Cable, 27th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy command operations flight. Utility bills are “must pays,” Mr. Cable said, and turning off that unnecessary light ensures that the necessities for completing the wing mission are available when needed.
Effects of high utility bills are seen across the board, said Capt. Jason Moschella, 27th CES. When funds must be diverted to pay bills that are not budgeted in entirety, revamping and remodeling facilities and dorms, housing and computers may be put on hold.
As an Air Combat Command (ACC) mandate to take steps to conserve electricity, Cannon’s civil engineer squadron is working toward that goal and in the process is saving money. By implementing smart electronics and doing many of their own repairs, thousands of dollars have been saved, said Robert Shobe, an energy management control systems technician with the 27 CES.
“The fact that we have to pay this bill is going to take away from other programs at the major command level. We’ll get less construction money for quality of life projects,” said Captain Moshella.
If funds are diverted to pay utility bills, there are fewer funds available to revitalize and upgrade recreational facilities such as swimming pools and putting computers in eating areas — all quality of life issues for Airmen and their families, said Dave Proctor, also an Energy Management Control Systems technician with the 27 CES.
To help meet the ACC mandates, ideas will be sought from Cannon residents with initiatives beginning at the squadron level and then examined by group commanders.
One of the biggest keys to practicing good stewardship is to “use energy in the home and in the work place like you’re paying for it,” Captain Moshella said. He said this involves a mindset change to things like setting thermostats to 75 in the summer and 68 in the winter, turning out lights when not in the room and opening or closing windows instead of using electricity to heat and cool.