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Keisha Robinson

Home Uplift Helps First-Time Memphis Homeowners Shoulder Utility Bills

TVA's Home Uplift program is helping homeowners keep the lights on.

Nestled in a quiet Memphis neighborhood, Keisha Robinson was excited to own her first house.

“It was milestone I wanted my son to see me accomplish,” says Robinson.

Robinson’s two-story red brick home sits a mile away from I-55, surrounded by the convenience of grocery stores, gas stations and fast-food restaurants.

Memphis’ extreme weather, however, made the older home hot in the summer and cold in the winter. 

The result was high utility bills. 

Despite TVA’s low electric rates, which can be up to 23 percent lower than other utilities during the hottest periods of the summer, aging homes often face higher bills due to poor insulation and older heating and air systems.

With high energy bills and the costs of new homeownership, Robinson did not have the means to make the necessary energy upgrades to keep her bills affordable.

But it wasn’t long before Robinson found out about a program that could offer a long-term solution to her energy bill woes from a trusty source: her mom. Robinson’s mother had recently participated in the TVA EnergyRight Home Uplift program.

“Mom had a great experience and encouraged me to sign-up through my local power company, Memphis Light, Gas and Water,” says Robinson.

When Robinson learned her home was eligible for Home Uplift too, expert home energy advisors from TVA performed an evaluation of Robinson’s home and determined the house needed additional insulation and a new HVAC unit.

Now, Robinson does not wince when opening her utility bill. “Before the upgrades, I would have a $300 utility bill and it was just me living here,” says Robinson.

Frank Rapley, senior manager of TVA EnergyRight, whose team manages the Home Uplift program, says most Home Uplift participants experience a 25 percent monthly savings on their power bills. “After we do our work, it’s like getting a pay raise, because your power bill decreases dramatically.”

Starting in 2018, TVA has invested more than $9 million in Home Uplift to help customers with limited means make long-lasting energy-efficiency upgrades. The initiative continues to help lower monthly utility bills and is free for those who qualify. To date, TVA matching funds and donations from community partners and local power companies have invested about $16 million in Home Uplift. 

“TVA believes in uplifting lives,” says Rapley. “Home Uplift is just one TVA program that directly improves the quality of life for families across seven states.”

Contact your local power company to find out more about Home Uplift. 


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