June 17, 2011

Delegation Announces Over $887,000 in New Weatherization Funding to Help Create Jobs and Lower Energy Bills

WASHINGTON, DC — In an effort to help more Rhode Islanders save on their energy bills, increase energy efficiency, and reduce our nation’s demand for fossil fuels, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced the state will receive $887,744 from the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for fiscal year 2011.  WAP helps low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

This funding should help local, certified contractors provide weather stripping, caulking, and other energy efficiency home improvements to about 250 eligible families throughout the state.  Homeowners and renters (with landlord approval) can call their local Community Action Program Agency to apply for funding and determine if they are eligible.  

“This weatherization funding will help more Rhode Islanders save on their home energy bills and it will put people to work installing insulation and making other critical energy efficient improvements,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“As Rhode Islanders continue struggling in this tough economy, weatherization is a way to save money, create jobs, and help make homes more energy efficient,” said Senator Whitehouse, who earlier this year unveiled a series of initiatives to create green jobs and improve energy efficiency.

“High energy costs are wreaking havoc on Rhode Island families’ already-strained budgets and we will continue to experience crises unless we make energy efficiency a priority.  Weatherization assistance helps families save money now, and smart energy investments mean more jobs and a stronger overall economy,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

“Rhode Islanders are experiencing increased housing expenses, including high energy costs that, in many cases, have outpaced income growth,” said Congressman David Cicilline.  “In these tough economic times, every penny counts. These weatherization funds will give Rhode Islanders access to resources they can use to make home improvements which can ultimately help them save money on their utility bills.”

Over the last four years, the delegation has secured over $4.975 million in federal WAP funding.   Additionally, the Recovery Act of 2009 — which Reed, Whitehouse, and Langevin voted for — included over $20 million for more than 2,500 weatherization projects throughout the state. 

Weatherization helps families save an average $437 in annual utility bill costs, and those savings can stay within the local economy and have a large “multiplier effect,” spurring further job growth and economic development.   A study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that for every $1 invested in the program, weatherization returns $2.51 in benefits to the household and society. 

Since 1977, WAP, in combination with funding from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and National Grid, has helped weatherize more than 38,375 Rhode Island homes benefitting over 102,500 Rhode Islanders. 


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