Utility Bill Assistance



Weatherization assistance programs in Washington

The federal government is providing Washington state more than 50 million federal stimulus dollars for weatherization programs in Washington. The funds are coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus plan).

The funds will be allocated in multiple waves. In the first wave, Washington will get close to $24 million in federal stimulus money for home weatherization projects, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The funds being provided to Washington will help weatherize 5,500 homes over the next three years across the state.

The weatherization assistance program is run by local charities and organizations. For example, the Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development will oversee the state component of the program and allocate funds to both local government organizations and community-based nonprofit agencies to help provide services in every county and also to aid every tribal nation across the state.

As an example of one of the local groups that will help, about $1.5 million will go to the Benton-Franklin Community Action Committee for running the weatherization assistance programs. And this one group, the CAC, expects to weatherize anywhere from 140 to 200 homes this year. In South Sound Washington, the local Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties is expected to receive about $1.3 million in funds to distribute.

Up to 26 weatherization partners across the state will be authorize to begin projects as soon July 2009.

Also, jobs will be created. The Federal government funding will also be used for technical assistance, worker training, and other program support.

It was reported that about 7,000 homes might be upgraded with insulation and other improvements from the weatherization projects through March 2012 using the state’s allotment of federal funds, which ultimately could reach about 60 million in additional installments. This is expected to generate close to 300 direct construction jobs per year across the state, according to CTED, and this does not count indirect jobs created.

Of course, lets not forget the utility bill savings. Weatherizing a home also saves 20 percent to 30 percent of a home’s energy costs each year.