What is Round It Up?
Round It Up is a voluntary program that puts your change to work helping others in our community. KUB automatically rounds your bill up to the next dollar and sends that money to the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) to weatherize homes, which can help lower energy bills. KUB's Resolution 1318 passed in November 2014 and established a three-year pilot for the program with a May 2015 start date. KUB Resolution 1374 was passed in March 2018 to authorize the ongoing implementation of the Round It Up Program after the pilot's expiration.
Round It Up is authorized by Tennessee Public Chapter No. 508, subdivision (e)(1), which reads as follows:
“ln addition to the authority granted under otherwise applicable law, a municipality operating an electric plant may, acting through the authorization of the board or supervisory body having responsibility for the municipal electric plant, accept and distribute excess receipts for bona fide economic development or community assistance purposes pursuant to programs approved by the board or supervisory body, which programs may include, but are not limited to, programs in which utility bills aie rounded up to the next dollar when the amount of any excess receipt due to rounding is shown as a separate line on the utility bill.”
Why should I participate in Round It Up?
Your change can help change our community for the better for less than $12 a year. Weatherizing homes saves energy, which is good for the environment. It also helps reduce the need for chronic energy assistance for low-income families. That lets assistance programs help more people who have temporary or emergency needs.
What if I don’t want to participate?
Round It Up is a voluntary program, and you can choose not to participate at any time by
- Logging into your account, visiting the Billing Options section, and clicking the “Enrolled” check box beneath Round It Up section. Next, choose “Unenroll.”
- Calling KUB at 524-2911; you can use the automated phone system or speak to a representative.
- Checking the box on the back of your bill stub and sending it to KUB.
What if I have been participating, but I change my mind? Can I get my money back?
Yes. If you change your mind, KUB will credit up to 12 months of your donation to your account.
What if I decide later that I want to start participating again?
You can choose to re-join the program at any time. Just log into your account, go to the My Account page, and click on the “Inactive” link next to Round It Up.
If I have multiple accounts will they all be rounded up?
Yes. Every account will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.
Are my donations tax deductible?
KUB can’t offer tax advice, but Round It Up donations can generally be considered tax deductible, charitable contributions.
How do I know how much of my bill is going to Round It Up?
Your monthly billing statement will have a line listing Round It Up and the amount that rounds your bill up to the next dollar.
How much money does KUB estimate Round It Up will raise each year?
Assuming an average contribution of 50 cents per month and a customer participation rate of 50 percent, the program could raise more than $50,000 a month, or $600,000 a year, to support weatherization and energy education.
Although the example above uses 50 cents, the actual Round It Up amount could vary from one cent a month to a maximum of 99 cents a month. Multiplied by 12 months, customers yearly donations could range from a minimum of 12 cents to a maximum of $11.88.
Why did KUB start the Round It Up program?
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Report, which IBM presented to the City of Knoxville in May 2013, recommended that KUB, as a partner with the City and other stakeholders, implement a Round It Up program.
Who administers the program?
The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) administers Round It Up under its existing Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP is an award-winning program that has already used over $6 million in federal stimulus funds to successfully weatherize more than 1,500 homes in the Knoxville area.
KUB manages the process to round up bills and sends 100 percent of the money collected to CAC. CAC takes applications from low-income customers that meet federal program guidelines of eligibility and manages the weatherization process according to those guidelines.
CAC is a public nonprofit agency that offers a variety of community services and operates under the umbrella of the City of Knoxville and Knox County. The CAC Board of Directors includes representatives from the City and County and other organizations such as Knox County Schools, Head Start, the Knox County Health Department, and the Metropolitan Planning Commission.
What is the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)?
- Weatherization is the nation's largest residential energy efficiency program.
- Weatherization aims to reduce the energy costs of low-income families through energy-efficient weatherization measures.
- Weatherization specifically focuses on assisting low-income people - primarily the elderly, persons with disabilities, and families with children.
- High energy costs are an excessive burden on low-income families. Weatherization addresses this need for assistance.
How Does Weatherization Work?
- Weatherization's professionally trained crews evaluate single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, and mobile homes.
- Weatherization determines which energy efficiency measures are appropriate, emphasizing the most cost-effective measures and those which are essential for the health and safety of the occupants.
- Weatherization performs energy efficient retrofits through the utilization of Department of Energy and privately leveraged funds.
Weatherization Works For Individuals By:
- Reducing energy costs for families.
- Providing education in energy-efficient practices.
- Addressing health and safety concerns.
- Increasing financial independence.
- Creating greater flexibility in spending choices.
Weatherization Works For Communities By:
- Promoting energy efficiency.
- Creating jobs.
- Executing successful Public/Private partnerships.
- Improving neighborhood housing conditions.
- Helping to create an empowered community.
How do I know all funds collected are used for the weatherization programs?
Both KUB and CAC undergo annual financial audits, providing assurance that all donations to Round It Up are appropriately accounted for.
Why did KUB decide to automatically enroll customers in Round It Up instead of waiting for customers to sign up?
KUB wanted to be able to provide as much support as possible for weatherization and energy education in our community. Research into similar programs at other utilities showed that the most effective ones started by automatically enrolling all customers but allowing them to stop participating at any time. Programs that take that approach have significantly higher participation rates—even after allowing for customers who choose not to participate. KUB offers several easy ways customers can unenroll from Round it Up participation. In addition, customers who decide to opt out can receive refunds of any contributions they have made to Round It Up for a period of up to 12 months.