Obama Administration Delivers More than $60 Million for Weatherization Programs in Six States and Territories
September 14, 2009
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $60 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand weatherization assistance programs in American Samoa, Northern Arapaho Tribe, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funding, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the grantees meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help to weatherize nearly 17,000 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing pollution, and creating green jobs across the country.
"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."
These states and territories will receive 40% of their total weatherization funding authorized under the Recovery Act today, adding to the initial 10% of each funding allocation that was previously awarded for training and ramp-up activities. The remaining 50% of funds will be released after they meet specific reporting, oversight and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act. The states may spend up to 20% of their total funds to hire and train workers.
DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200% 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% for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills. States and territories will spend an average of $6,500 to weatherize each home.
The Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the need to quickly deliver funding to states to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
The following states and territories received weatherization funding today:
AMERICAN SAMOA - $287,804 awarded today
American Samoa will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 225 homes over the next three years. To start, services will be performed on the island of Tutuila, where 97% of the territory's population resides, and may be expanded to other islands in the future. American Samoa's Territorial Energy Office (TEO) will oversee the program and perform weatherization services directly, reducing administrative costs. Homes occupied by the elderly, disabled or families with children will be given priority. The territory will also give preference to households with a high energy burden or large energy use. Weatherization activities will include the installation of cost effective compact fluorescent lights, solar water heaters, refrigerators, window air conditioners, and low-flow faucets and showerheads.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive nearly $360,000 in additional funding, for a total of almost $720,000.
NORTHERN ARAPAHO TRIBE- $382,484 awarded today
The Northern Arapaho Tribe will use Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 125 homes over the next three years on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The program will prioritize homes with emergency or life-threatening conditions, homes with the elderly or disabled, families with young children under six, or households with high energy burdens. The Northern Arapaho Tribe will also use Recovery Act funds to educate weatherization clients regarding ways to save energy in their homes, such as thermostat setbacks and efficiently using draperies, lighting and appliances. The program will also provide clients with educational materials to explain how each of the weatherization measures works to lower energy use in the home. By educating and involving homeowners on how best to reduce their energy consumption, the program hopes to encourage them to adopt further energy management habits in their homes and motivate others across the reservation to save energy.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the tribe will receive almost $480,000 in additional funding, for a total of more than $950,000.
NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS - $318,082 awarded today
The Northern Mariana Islands will use Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 175 homes over the next three years. The commonwealth's funds will be administered by the Department of Public Works, Energy Division, and since this is the first time that the Northern Mariana Islands have been included in the Weatherization Assistance Program, the territory will emphasize training and technical assistance. Weatherization workers and administrators will be trained to maximize energy savings in homes, minimize production costs, protect the health and safety of the clients and workers, and ensure transparency and accountability in the program. The Energy Division will also perform inspections on 100% of all weatherized homes to ensure the effectiveness of the commonwealth's weatherization program.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the commonwealth will receive almost $400,000 in additional funding, for a total of more than $795,000.
PUERTO RICO - $19,546,235 awarded today
Puerto Rico will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 5,500 homes over the next three years. The Energy Affairs Administration (EAA) will oversee the program and will work with the Infrastructure Financing Authority (AFI) to provide weatherization services throughout the island. While Puerto Rico is new to the Weatherization Assistance Program, AFI has significant experience in renovating low-income housing in Puerto Rico. The organizations will work together closely to maintain and improve work quality and delivery, including rigorous field monitoring and an extensive training and technical assistance program.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the commonwealth will receive over $24 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $49 million.
TENNESSEE - $39,644,840 awarded today
Tennessee will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 10,500 homes over the next three years. These funds will be administered by the state's Department of Human Services' Division of Adult and Family Services. Tennessee will give the highest priority for weatherization services to those households occupied by the elderly (60 years and older), the disabled, and families with children under six years old, as well as those who have been on a weatherization waiting list for more than three years. Other priority homes will include those with six or more persons and those that have applied to receive energy assistance. Tennessee's weatherization office will closely track and monitor the program's expenses and number of homes weatherized, including inspections of completed work.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive nearly $50 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $99 million.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - $566,172 awarded today
The U.S. Virgin Islands will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize approximately 430 homes over the next three years, with homes weatherized on all three main islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. These funds will be administered by the Virgin Islands Energy Office, a division under the territory's Governor's Office.
The territory will prioritize weatherization services for the elderly (60 years or older), disabled, families with children five years old or younger, and those households with high energy burdens or energy use. The Virgin Islands Energy Office has also designated 3% of its weatherization funding to address health and safety issues in the homes, including mold, mildew, and electrical safety.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the territory will receive an additional $700,000, for a total more than $1.4 million.