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Klyve retires from energy role

Bill Klyve retired at the end of May as an energy management representative for Otter Tail Power Company. Klyve was based in the Morris office. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

That old refrigerator in the garage or the basement may be running but it's most likely not running efficiently and wasting money, said Bill Klyve. Klyve should know. He's spent the better part of 41 years helping Otter Tail Power Company customers save money on energy.

Klyve was the energy management representative for Otter Tail and was based in Morris. He retired at the end of May.

"It was the greatest job," Klyve said.

Klyve worked with customers in western Minnesota to help them select energy efficient heating, cooling and other equipment options. In most situations he was able to help those customers obtain rebates when they upgraded systems.

Because rebates are based on the Conservation Improvement Program surcharge on customer's monthly bills, "The money we give away is yours in the first place," Klyve said. "The money was never Otter Tail's in the first place."

The CIP was designed to be returned to customers in the form of rebates when customers chose more energy efficient systems.

Klyve was often involved at the start of many hospital, school and large business building projects.

"I know every school superintendent, every city manager, every hospital administrator (in the region)," Klyve said.

Klyve spent time as a lineman in the region, then spent several years as service represenative before he became an energy management representative in 1991.

"This job is way more involved now," Klyve said.

"When I first started there was big interest in switching to dual fuel heating," Klyve said. "The interest is still there but it's not as big of deal as it was back in the early 90s."

Now, "everybody is interested in renewable energy and everybody is interested in energy efficiency," Klyve said.

Klyve was there to help make sure customers make good energy choices.

Recently in Morris, Klyve helped the city of Morris with an electric car charging station at Willie's Supervalu and with a similar station at the University of Minnesota Morris.

He's worked with Walmart, McDonald's, Wyndom properties and other big-name customers in projects throughout the region.

Through it all, Klyve had to meet continuing education and certification training requirements to ensure he knew of the latest technology and programs in energy.

The technology changed during his time at Otter Tail.

Back in November 1993 he recommended a particular ballast type of lighting to a school district because it was the most efficient lighting available. Ten years later, a differenty type of lighting became more efficient and in 2018, it's LED lighting, Klyve said.

When LED lights first arrived, Klyve knew they were a good product but he didn't expect them to improve so much and so quickly. Ballast flourescent lights were better when LED lights were first available but LEDs "passed them up like a dirty shirt." he said.

Lighting is where customers can save a lot of energy and consequently money, Klyve said. He will walk into a building and can't help but notice how to improve the lighting.

Klyve has conducted reviews of lighting and energy systems and offered recommendations for improvements but the final decision is always with the customer.

"I make suggestions but I don't sell anything," Klyve said.

While the job kept him busy Monday through Fridays during the day, he was often able to respond to questions at night or over the weekend. For example, a contractor may call about a rebate program or energy system at night or on weekends, Klyve said.

"I couldn't go to church or a restaurant without a question (being asked)," Klyve said. But that was OK because he liked the interaction with people.

And he knows what he's going to miss--- the people he worked with --individual customers and big project customers.

"I will miss the people," Klyve said. "I will definitely miss the people I've come to know so well."

He's known customers long enough to have worked with the second-and even third-generation representative of a business.

While he will miss the people and the job, Klyve said 41 years was long enough. The timing with his pension and other interests prompted him to retire. He plans to work on the family farm near Swift Falls and also be a regular during this season's local fishing league.

He's pleased he's helped many businesses and public entities over the years. Helping a customer reduce energy costs with rebates and new systems has helped to drive the local economies in the region, Klyve said.

Klyve won't be in the Morris office anymore but new energy management representative Lori Moxness will.

If an Otter Tail customer has a question about saving energy and saving money, Klyve said they need to call Otter Tail. There could be a rebate available. Even for that old refrigerator.

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