A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cantwell: President’s Budget Continues to Shortchange Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – Monday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) expressed her dismay at the president’s Fiscal Year 2009 budget which, as in years past, breaks commitments to Washington state residents and does nothing to curb the rising costs of energy, health care and education. Cantwell looks forward to working with the next administration in crafting a budget that is not only fiscally responsible, but protects successful programs benefitting small businesses and the middle class.

Cantwell identified eight specific ways the administration’s budget request falls short. Below is her language regarding the Weatherization Assistance Program:

Weatherizing Program: The President’s budget cut the government’s most successful energy efficiency effort, the Weatherization Assistance Program. The program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. The Weatherization Assistance Program provides weatherization services free of charge to approximately 100,000 low-income households every year, 9 percent of whom have annual incomes of less than $15,000, and two-thirds earn less than $8,000 per year. On average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 31 percent and overall energy bills by $358 per year. This year, using funds already appropriated, Washington state will receive $4.5 million dollars from the DOE Weatherization program which will help provide services to 1300 households.

“At a time of economic uncertainty when American’s can’t afford to heat their homes, this is not the time for the Administration to make cuts to energy efficient programs,” said Cantwell. “Nearly 1,300 households in Washington state will benefit from this program in 2008.”

2 comments:

fromwembleypark.typepad.com said...

The WAP is a misguided federal initiative. Assistance to low income households is best left to the states. I would not want any more of my tax dollars - and I pay a substantial amount of taxes - going to support the comfort of low income people. Many public utilities already have "assistance" programs that provide funds to low income residents. This really is a matter best left to the states, and if low income people want to conserve energy and reduce their heating bills then I suggest that they lower their thermostats.

National Association for State Community Services Programs said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Wembley Park. Your comments raise some interesting points regarding the misconceptions surrounding this and similar programs.

To clarify, the Weatherization Assistance Program does not provide direct funds to low income individuals to pay their energy bills and prevent their utilities from being shut off. However such funds are often necessary to meet the immediate needs of a family facing a no-heat situation and should not be discounted.

Programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) address the immediate crisis for a family. The WAP provides state of the art energy conservation measures that permanently lower energy consumption and the household’s utility bill. These benefits last over the life of the home and transfer from occupant to occupant. In other words the home continues to consume less energy than it did prior to weatherization.

You suggest that low income families should simply “lower their thermostats” in order to save energy and reduce their heating bills. Unfortunately, many of the structures these individuals live in are so inefficient that it is often difficult to distinguish between the temperature inside and outside the home. In many cases these families are already lowering their thermostats, wearing winter coats and sweaters indoors, and living in only a few rooms of their home to save on energy costs.

Weatherization allows the occupant (often an elderly individual on social security, a working family with young children, or a disabled individual) to use less energy to heat and cool their homes. In some cases, the program even saves lives by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Weatherization Works for the environment, economy, low income individuals, and our nation as a whole.

And the fact that it is increasing the comfort of low income individuals makes it all the more worthwhile.