For just a few minutes of your time, residents can save energy and money in their homes and businesses while simultaneously helping New Albany win a $40,000 grant from AEP Ohio.

Our schools and city need to eclipse 300 points through AEP Ohio's Community Energy Savers program between now and Dec. 23 to earn the $40,000 grant. Every point counts, so city and school staff members would appreciate your help in obtaining our 300-point community goal.

The grant funds would be used for a new community playground on the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus.

Participating as a resident

Participation in three easy steps will earn four points for the grant.

1. Download the "It's Your Power" app (1 point) from aepohio.com/itsyourpower and log in to the app using your AEP Ohio account credentials. This app allows you to see how much energy your home uses around the clock to be able to make informed choices to save money and energy.

2. After the app is downloaded, use it to request a free AEP Ohio Energy Bridge (2 points). This energy bridge will allow you to control your energy devices remotely, pinpoint times of high use in real time and set a budget to save money and conserve energy.

3. Complete an online home energy profile to get a free energy-efficiency kit (1 point) and receive recommendations for saving energy in your home. Access this kit to build your energy profile by using the app or by going to aepohio.com/kit.

For more information, call 844-220-4128.

Participating as a business

1. The AEP Ohio Efficient Products for Business program (10 points) offers incentives for business customers who install energy-efficient equipment and technologies. Efficient lighting, HVAC, motors, drives and refrigeration are just some of the products that qualify. For more information, call 877-541-3048 or go to aepohio.com/solutions.

2. The AEP Ohio Express Program for Small Business Customers (5 points) helps small businesses cut the hassle and cost of energy-efficiency upgrades. A representative will survey facilities for free to identify energy-saving opportunities. Customers may be eligible for incentives up to 80% of total project cost. Participation is limited to nonresidential customers with annual usage of less than 200,000 kWh or 100 kW. For more information, call 855-546-3644.

For more information about the Community Energy Savers program and the $40,000 grant, go to communityenergysavers.com/new-albany.

Kasey Kist is a New Albany City Council member.