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Obama Administration Delivers More than $453 Million for Weatherization Programs in 15 States
COLUMBUS, OHIO – U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $453 million in Recovery Act funding to expand the weatherization assistance programs in 15 additional states. These funds, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the states meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help these states achieve their goal of weatherizing more than 165,000 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the country. Secretary Chu made today’s announcement while helping to weatherize a local resident’s home in Columbus, Ohio with Governor Ted Strickland.
The following states will receive 40 percent of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. Under the Recovery Act, states may spend up to 20 percent of funds to hire and train workers.
“These awards demonstrate the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to moving quickly as part of the country’s economic recovery -- creating jobs and doing important work for the American people -- while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly," said Secretary Chu. "Today’s investments will save money for hard working families, reduce pollution, strengthen local economies and help move America toward a clean energy future.”
DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level – or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. Weatherization projects allow low-income families to save money by making their homes more energy efficient, which results in average savings of 32 percent for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills. States will spend approximately $6,500 to weatherize each home.
The funding allocations for the Weatherization Assistance Program follow a stage-gate process: on March 12, funding allocations by state were announced and the initial 10 percent of total funding was available to states and territories to support planning and ramp-up activities; comprehensive state applications were due on May 12th; following a DOE reviews for each state, 40 percent allocations are awarded; and the remaining 50% of funds will be released when states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
This installment adds to the initial 10 percent of the states’ funding allocations that were awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. Following a review of their comprehensive state plans, these 15 states have now received 50 percent of their Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program funding. Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi and Oregon previously received this 40 percent funding allocation.
The Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the necessity of rapidly awarding funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
- West Virginia ($15,033,550 awarded today) will utilize funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement weatherization services at over 3,500 homes. The West Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program will work with existing community action associations around the state to target low-income communities that have benefited from weatherization programs before as well as reaching previously underserved communities. The program will conduct initial energy audits by using activity priority lists developed with audits of a representative sample of homes. The state will monitor the program’s progress with monthly tracking reports from implementation partners and by developing a tracking database for every region participating in the program. The state will also fund training for Energy Educators who will spend time in the field educating customers about better energy consumption behaviors.
After demonstrating successful implementation of their plan, the state will receive more than $18 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $37 million for the entire program.