COLUMBUS, Ohio - Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing more than $453 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in 15 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 jobs across the country. Chu made the announcement while helping to weatherize a local resident’s home in Columbus, Ohio, with Gov. Ted Strickland.
The following states will receive 40 percent of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: 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.
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 the DOE says results in average savings of 32 percent on 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 multi-stage 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 12; following a DOE review for each state, 40 percent allocations are awarded; and the remaining 50 percent 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.