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WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $101 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand weatherization assistance programs in Guam and Pennsylvania. The funding, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the grantees meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help them weatherize approximately 29,200 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."
The Department of Energy also released a video today showing Secretary Steven Chu visiting a Columbus, OH home as it is being weatherized. He is joined in the video by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, where they discuss the benefits of weatherization and how funding from the Recovery Act is having a direct impact in communities across America. View the Home Weatherization Visit video.
Pennsylvania and Guam will receive 40 percent of their total weatherization funding authorized under the Recovery Act today, adding to the initial 10 percent of each funding allocation that was previously awarded for training and ramp-up activities. The remaining 50 percent 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 percent of their total 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 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 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:
GUAM - $447,419 awarded today
Guam will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 200 homes over the next three years. The territory's Weatherization Assistance Program will be administered by the Guam Energy Office, under the Guam Environmental Protection Agency. Since 2009 is the first year Guam is working with the weatherization program, the Energy Office will expand its staff, hiring experienced training professionals and weatherization workers. The program will combine rigorous field monitoring with an extensive training and technical assistance program for contractors, auditors, administrative personnel, and staff at the Energy Office and local organizations. Together, these measures will help ensure quality weatherization services and the success of the program across the territory.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Guam will receive nearly $560,000 in additional funding, for a total of more than $1 million.
PENNSYLVANIA - $101,117,225 awarded today
Pennsylvania will use its Recovery Act WAP funds to weatherize or re-weatherize more than 29,000 homes over the next three years. These resources will enable the state to achieve greater energy independence, increase demand for skilled weatherization professionals, and help low-income residents reduce their energy bills.
The Pennsylvania Weatherization Assistance Program is administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which works with forty-three proven local agencies to deliver services. Pennsylvania has a comprehensive plan for increasing weatherization activity while improving the program's overall energy reduction performance for the low-income residents it serves. To ensure accountability, monitoring and reporting as part of its weatherization plan, DCED will add new oversight staff with expertise in areas such as financial management and technical assistance.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $126 million, for a total of nearly $253 million.