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Fed cuts could leave N.C. in cold
Weatherization boots residents, economy
 
Published Monday, December 9, 2013 11:10 am
by Stephanie Carroll Carson, N.C. News Service

RALEIGH – With snow predicted for parts of their state later in the week, keeping temperatures high and heating bills low is a concern for many North Carolinians, especially those living on limited incomes. 

The state receives just over $2 million a year in federal assistance to weatherize homes for people who qualify, but those funds could be cut significantly next month, when Congress faces another decision on funding the government. 

According to Seth Effron, energy program communications director for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, sometimes people's energy bills are higher than their mortgages.

“If you can go in and help folks out with making their homes a little bit more energy efficient, you can help somebody really make their lives more affordable,” he said.

North Carolina Community Action Agencies have been helping to manage weatherization funding and report the waiting lists for assistance go well beyond the funds currently available.

Effron said that for every dollar invested in weatherization, the program returns $1.60 back into the economy. He also pointed to the environmental benefits.

“The most effective way to make more energy is to save what we're doing,” he declared. “That's more efficient than switching fuels, solar energy, any of those things.”

According to the National Association for State Community Services Programs, low-income families pay more than 14 percent of their incomes for energy, but other families pay just a little over 3 percent. Families who participate in the weatherization programs save an average of $350 a year.

 

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