Goin’ Green: CPPD’s ‘ugliest fridge’ gets replaced

It’s not always an honor to win the “ugliest” of anything. However, in the case of the “Ugliest Fridge Contest,” put on by Custer Public Power and Nebraska Public Power District, having the ugliest fridge was precisely the goal. Mike and Rachelle Ryan of Berwyn entered their 27 year-old fridge into the contest and are now the proud owners of a new energy efficient, Energy Star refrigerator. “They asked me not to tell anyone until it was announced on the radio the next morning.” Rachelle explains, “It was almost too good of news to keep to myself.” Mike and Rachelle started looking on line for the fridge that would suit them better. For a family with 11 kids, having a full-functioning refrigerator is quite important. Rachelle, who lost her hearing a little over two years ago after having meningitis, and her youngest daughter, Kerry, were all smiles as their new fridge was being assembled in their kitchen on Monday. Kerry, who danced around the floor, couldn’t wait to fill it up with all kinds of goodies. “Can we put pop in there now?” Kerry asked her mom when the fridge was finally in place. During the month of March, Custer Public Power District, with the help of the Nebraska Public Power District’s Energy Wise Program, held an “Ugly Fridge Contest.” Entries were sent in showing off “ugly” fridges from all over the Custer Public Power’s service area by its customers. A panel of five judges looked carefully over each entry to decide who would benefit most from a new, more efficient fridge. This contest wasn’t just about a fridge having an ugly appearance. The goal for CPPD was to raise awareness about the wasted energy old refrigerators use. The average life of a refrigerator is 12 years. Many people however, find themselves using them far longer than that. It is also their goal to be sure the old units are recycled properly. The Ryan’s fridge will be recycled to keep harmful materials out of the landfills. In fact, all CPPD customers can have their old fridges picked up, recycled and actually end up with money in their pocket. JACO Environmental provides this service for all CPPD customers. A meter was placed on the Ryan’s fridge for one week before the new one was brought in. This was to allow CPPD to compare the amount of energy needed to operate and to show the Ryans how much they will be saving on their energy bill every year with the new one. From the reading on the meter of the old unit, the figures show it was costing them around $75 a year. The new Energy Star fridge the Ryans picked out will cost an average of $48 a year to run, cutting their usage in half. This is the first year this contest has taken place and Rick Nelson, General Manager for CPPD, says they hope to do it again. “We’re excited that we could do this with the help of NPPD’s Energy Wise program.” Nelson continues, “To get an old refrigerator out of the system, get it recycled and put in an energy efficient one.”