10/27/2017 12:20:28 PM
Weatherization Assistance Program has helped thousands of vulnerable Minnesotans save energy, cut utility bills, stay safe
SAINT PAUL – Oct. 30 is Weatherization Day in Minnesota and across the nation, a day to recognize 41 years of the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program, administered by the Minnesota Commerce Department. It is also a day that Steven Koelln of rural west-central Minnesota celebrates as one of more than 1,500 households that received weatherization services last year.
“I received weatherization through West Central MN Communities Action and it’s made a huge difference in my home,” said Koelln, whose farmhouse in Spruce Hill Township of Douglas County received a thorough energy efficiency upgrade in December 2016. “Before I had the work done, there was a steady draft in the house and the walls and floors were cold. But now I’m toasty warm in the winter, and the cool air stays inside much better in the summer. My fuel oil bill has been cut in half, and my monthly electric bills have decreased 25 percent to 40 percent each month. I am tremendously grateful.”
Koelln, a former farmer who is disabled, received weatherization after five years on a waiting list. His home, built in 1900, was filled with air leaks and aging appliances. An advanced energy audit identified several cost-effective measures that were needed. His home received air sealing and insulation, a new fuel oil furnace, weather-stripping of doors and windows, a new whole house fan for ventilation and new carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.
More about Steven Koelln’s weatherization experience is available on the Commerce Department website.
“Our state weatherization assistance program has been a lifeline for vulnerable Minnesotans who struggle with high energy bills because they live in older homes with poor insulation, old heating systems and inefficient appliances,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Many more Minnesotans are still in need of this assistance, so additional resources would make a big difference in helping them permanently reduce their energy bills while staying safe and warm in their homes.”
Directed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Minnesota’s Weatherization Assistance Program serves households at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines ($49,200 for a family of four). Priority is given to households with seniors, disabled family members, children or high energy consumption.
The program, which the Commerce Department administers in cooperation with a network of 24 local service providers, has served about 32,000 Minnesota residents over the past eight years.
Eligible Minnesotans can apply for weatherization assistance through /commerce/eap.jspa combined application with the state Energy Assistance Program (which helps homeowners and renters pay for heating bills). The completed application should be sent to the local service provider.
Minnesotans can also obtain an application or receive assistance with finding their local service provider by contacting the Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-657-3710.
More information is available at the /commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/weatherization/index.jspWeatherization Assistance Program section of the Commerce Department website.