Fuel Poverty in the UK

Fuel poverty: How can UK tackle cold homes and high bills?, By Dave Harvey, November 17, 2016, BBC News: “When the temperature drops and the chill sets in, people in the UK are more likely to feel it in their homes than their continental neighbours. In European surveys comparing 16 countries with similar climates, the UK was near the bottom.  Why? Because it has the draughtiest windows and least insulated homes. For many families that means the moment they turn off the heating, the warmth goes out of the windows…”

Weatherization Program – Indiana

Weatherization goal passed: 20,185 homes got improvements with stimulus funds, By Mary Beth Schneider, October 27, 2011, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana has surpassed its goal of weatherizing about 20,000 homes with federal stimulus dollars and hopes to deliver energy-saving improvements to as many as 3,000 others before the program ends in March. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, standing outside an Eastside home outfitted with a new furnace, water heater and insulation, said Wednesday that the jump in projections is possible because of cost savings that have left some of the $131.8 million in federal funds available. The success marks a turnaround from the program’s slow start. In November 2009, when the first benchmarks were to be met, the state was to have completed work on 2,202 homes. Instead, only 403 were completed…”

LIHEAP Weatherization Program-Arizona, Colorado

  • Low-income families struggle with utility bills can get help, July 28, 2011, Eloy Enterprise: “PHOENIX – Help is available for low-income families and individuals across Arizona struggling with summer utility bills pushed higher by desert temperatures above 110 degrees and major dust storms. The Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA), through its member Community Action Agencies statewide, offers assistance to qualifying individuals and families through programs including the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the federal weatherization program and the locally-funded Arizona Home Energy Assistance Fund. LIHEAP and the Arizona Home Energy Assistance Program provide bill assistance for low-income families who may be spending up to 30 percent of their income to pay for energy costs…”
  • 17,000 low-income Colorado households likely to lose energy assistance benefits this winter, By David O. Williams, July 28, 2011, Colorado Independent: “More than 17,000 low-income Colorado households will lose state benefits to help pay their home heating bill this winter if the federal government delivers on expected funding cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Colorado’s share of LIHEAP last year, delivered in the form of block grants to the state’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), was $62 million. The Obama administration in February proposed cutting overall LIHEAP funding in half, meaning Colorado is faced with receiving only $31 million for the winter of 2011-12…”

Weatherization Program – California

State’s slow start puts federal stimulus funds at risk, audit finds, By Kate Linthicum, July 12, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “California could lose tens of millions of dollars in job-creating federal stimulus money for home weatherization projects because the state and several local agencies – including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – have failed to perform as promised, according to an audit released Monday. Two years ago, California was awarded nearly $186 million to help low-income homeowners make their houses more energy-efficient. But as of April 30, the state had spent $68 million, the audit found. California State Auditor Elaine Howle, whose office conducted the review, warned that California could be forced to forfeit more than $37 million early next year if it doesn’t quickly pick up the pace of distributing grants. Howle blamed a host of factors for California’s sluggish spending of the federal money, part of a $5-billion economic recovery allocation approved in 2009 to put people to work insulating attics, weather-sealing windows and making other energy-saving improvements on nearly 590,000 homes nationwide…”

Home Weatherization Program – West Virginia

‘Successful weatherization’ effort?, By Alison Knezevich, September 4, 2010, Charleston Gazette: “In April 2009, West Virginia received nearly $38 million in federal stimulus funds to make the homes of needy residents more energy-efficient. Eighteen months later, many are wondering why that weatherization aid never reached them. Karen Hoffman, 55, got a letter last June saying she had been approved for repairs at her mobile home in Cross Lanes. ‘No one has ever been here,’ Hoffman said. Peggy Coleman of Cedar Grove said a weatherization crew replaced her 33-year-old furnace late last year. The crew was supposed to return to install an air conditioner. ‘They just never came back,’ the 79-year-old widow said. Weatherization is meant to help cut the energy bills of low-income, disabled and elderly people. Crews can install insulation, seal ducts, and tune up or replace heating and cooling systems. The U.S. Department of Energy says families can save an average of $437 a year. The federal stimulus package pumped $5 billion into the program, but across the nation, states have failed to meet goals set when the stimulus was rolled out. They’ve blamed complex federal regulations and other challenges…”

Home Energy Assistance Program – Illinois

Community Contacts helps low income residents save energy, income, By Heather Linder, July 23, 2010, Daily Herald: “Carbon monoxide was silently seeping from Samantha Behenna’s furnace and polluting her St. Charles home. She and her family were clueless until Community Contacts, in the process of making their house more energy efficient, discovered the dangerous leak. The nonprofit, Elgin-based organization replaced the furnace and removed the threat through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Community Contacts specializes in assisting low-income individuals and families from Kane and DeKalb counties in making their homes safer and more energy efficient with LIHEAP, the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) and the Housing Rehabilitation Program. The group helps keep residents from spending a bulk of their income on utilities…”

Weatherization Program – California

After cold start, weatherization program heating up in California, By Peter Urban, June 22, 2010, Salinas Californian: “Although it ranks near the bottom in national completion rates, California expects to meet its September goal of weatherizing at least 12,945 homes to secure $92 million in additional federal stimulus funds. For its part, Monterey County already is within reach of its weatherization target for the same time frame. The U.S. Department of Energy slated $166 million for California to caulk windows, install weatherstripping and make other efficiencies to reduce electric bills for low-income families. A year ago, California received $74 million in stimulus funds for what the DOE then described as an ‘aggressive and innovative’ proposal to weatherize 43,400 low-income households within 33 months. The final $92 million is due this September if the state completes at least 30 percent of its overall goal…”

Weatherization Program

Weatherization program ramps up after slow start, By Christine Vestal, June 8, 2010, Stateline.org: “Of all the programs funded by the federal economic stimulus law, one of the most criticized has been the boost given to weatherizing homes. Taxpayer groups and critical members of Congress said the $4.7 billion set aside for installing insulation, plugging air leaks and putting in energy-efficient furnaces and air conditioning systems would result in wasteful spending. Other critics questioned whether tiny local authorities that do this sort of work could gear up to spend the avalanche of new funding in time to meet tight stimulus deadlines…”

Weatherization Program – Texas

Weatherization program finally takes off, By Tracy Idell Hamilton, May 12, 2010, San Antonio Express-News: “Patricia Teran remembers the moment she realized just how well the new insulation in her home was working. ‘I went to let my dog out in the middle of the night, and when I opened the door, I realized it was really cold out there,’ she said. ‘It was nice and warm in my house, and my heater wasn’t even on.’ Teran, 62, is one of the first local beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s $5 billion weatherization program, which aims to help low-income residents to seal up their homes, lower bills and save energy. It also is supposed to create thousands of jobs in the nascent ‘green energy’ industry. The program, a centerpiece of the administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has faced rising criticism as more than a year of bureaucratic delays saw only a fraction of homes completed and few jobs created. But in Texas, at least, the program finally is taking off…”

Home Weatherization Program – Texas

Texas slow to spend stimulus money on weatherizing homes of poor, elderly, By Randy Lee Loftis, March 31, 2010, Dallas Morning News: “Winter has passed, but the state’s pace of spending federal stimulus money to weatherize poor Texans’ homes is just starting to heat up. Under the 2009 federal stimulus bill, Texas received $327 million from the Department of Energy to help armor 33,908 homes of low-income or elderly people against the cold and heat. Texas must spend the money by March 2012 or lose it. A review in December found that in the first four months, the state had spent only $1.8 million and completed work on just seven homes. At a state House committee hearing Tuesday at Dallas City Hall, Texas officials presented numbers showing progress. Work has been finished on an estimated 2,450 homes or apartments and planning has been started on 2,200 more. About $13 million has been spent…”

Low-income Home Weatherization Program – Ohio

Broken fixes: Inspectors find shoddy work in weatherization program, By Doug Caruso, March 14, 2010, Columbus Dispatch: “When low-income Ohioans receive help to improve their insulation and furnace, the quality of the work – including the potential for deadly mistakes – appears to depend on where they live. State records show that 12 of the 58 nonprofit agencies in Ohio’s Home Weatherization Assistance Program passed all of their state inspections in the past three years. That includes two of the agencies that serve Franklin County: the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Ground Level Solutions. But 20 other agencies failed more than half of their state inspections, and five of those failed all of them. And that’s just among the houses that were inspected. Federal rules call for examining the work in one of every 20 houses. Overall, nearly 40 percent of the houses that state inspectors checked failed…”

Home Energy Assistance Programs

  • Need for heat aid in Minnesota higher this year, By Maria Elena Baca, December 21, 2009, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “This winter, Art Swanson is thankful to be part of a group he’d just as soon have avoided. The Anoka County resident represents the newest trend among the more than 125,000 Minnesotans who have applied for federal heating assistance since Oct. 1 (the start of the fiscal year): At 50, he’s a first-time customer. He was laid off in January from his job as a union glazier, installing windows and doors mostly in new commercial buildings, and work this year has been inconsistent at best. Statewide, the number of applicants to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is up 8 percent from this time last year, and 19.5 percent from December 2007. Administrators point to a growing number of families dealing with unemployment or underemployment for the first time…”
  • Texas agency slow to spend stimulus funds to weatherize homes, By James Drew, December 20, 2009, Dallas Morning News: “The state received millions of federal dollars from the economic-stimulus package to help poor Texans cut their energy bills, but by the end of last month, just seven homes had been weather-treated under the program. The state has spent $1.8 million of $163 million available over the past four months, with most of it going to administrative costs, such as the salaries of state workers. The weatherization program was a key element of the federal effort to revive the economy, billed as a quick way to create jobs, save energy and cut utility bills. In Texas, the task has been heaped onto a midsized agency that must figure how to hand out millions more in federal funds to local agencies and governments, but do it carefully enough to avoid wasting money…”

Weatherization Program – Wisconsin

As funds increase, review finds nearly 1 in 8 weatherization jobs flawed, By Ben Poston, November 29, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “As stimulus money doubles Wisconsin’s weatherization budget for the next two years, a review of state records since 2007 found weatherization work done on hundreds of low-income homes failed to meet federal standards. A $141.5 million infusion of federal stimulus dollars is to be used to weatherize more than 36,000 homes and apartments through 2011 – from installing new furnaces to adding attic insulation. But a Journal Sentinel review of three years of state records showed that inspectors with the Division of Energy Services found 12.3% of the performance measures they spot-checked were below standard. Inspectors flagged projects when done in a way that could threaten the safety of residents or if the project didn’t save enough energy…”

Stimulus Spending on Weatherization Program – Indiana

  • Indiana weatherization set to begin, By Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, August 27, 2009, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Indiana can start spending nearly $132 million in federal stimulus funds to help low-income Hoosiers weatherize their homes after the U.S. Department of Energy approved the state’s plan for the money. The new money provides an 11-fold increase in the size of the state’s weatherization program. The approval announced Thursday means more than 30,000 households could get new energy savings equipment, including programmable thermostats, insulation, new furnaces or hot water heaters…”
  • Indiana gets stimulus green light, By Eric Bradner, August 27, 2009, Evansville Courier and Press: “The federal government has green-lighted Indiana’s plan to spend $131 million in stimulus money to equip homes of low-income Hoosiers with energy-saving furnaces and insulation. The decision ends a monthslong snag that had frustrated state officials and put the project behind schedule…”

Weatherization Programs – Kansas, Pennsylvania

  • State gets $56 million for weatherization from stimulus, By Beccy Tanner, August 26, 2009, Wichita Eagle: “Bernice Jones made history Tuesday when her house on East Second Street became the first in Kansas to be weatherized using federal stimulus funds. Workers were installing a furnace, central air-conditioning unit and refrigerator in her 1920s-era bungalow Tuesday as she ushered in the Kansas governor and other state and city officials…”
  • Pa. gets weatherization funds held up by impasse, By Tom Infield, August 26, 2009, Philadelphia Inquirer: “After months of delay caused by state inaction, the federal government finally was able to announce yesterday that it had awarded $101 million in stimulus funds to Pennsylvania for home weatherization. E. Craig Heim, in charge of weatherization for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said that while Pennsylvania was “unquestionably behind” many other states in launching its program, “I think we’ll be able to catch up.” The funds from the U.S. Department of Energy, together with some earlier money that has been on hold, comprise nearly half of the $253 million that the state expects to receive to weatherize the homes of nearly 30,000 low-income Pennsylvanians over the next 21/2 years. The funds represent a sevenfold expansion of the decades-old Weatherization Assistance Program…”

Stimulus Funding and Weatherization – Indiana

Weatherization: Feds leave state out in the cold, By Mary Beth Schneider, August 2, 2009, Indianapolis Star: “Homeowners in some states, including Ohio, already are getting new furnaces and their houses insulated, thanks to federal stimulus dollars. But not in Indiana. No homeowner here has received a penny from Indiana’s $131 million share of federal weatherization funds. The federal government has only ‘conditionally’ awarded Indiana its funding — meaning none of it, including nearly $53 million this year, can be put to use…”

Stimulus Spending and Needy Communities

  • Stimulus Watch: Neediest areas not first for money, By April Castro (AP), July 20, 2009, Washington Post: “Under the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan, needy communities were supposed to be first in line for money to rebuild highways and jump start the economy. It hasn’t worked out that way.  The rules required that states give priority to counties considered “economically distressed.” Yet less than half the federal highway money announced so far is directed toward those high-unemployment, low-income areas, according to an Associated Press analysis of more than $16 billion in spending announced by the U.S. Transportation Department…”
  • Pa. trails N.J., others in plans for stimulus spending, By Tom Infield, July 20 , 2009, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Five months into the federal stimulus program, Pennsylvania is lagging behind its neighbor New Jersey and other states in preparing for a deluge of money to do energy-saving home improvements for low-income families.  The state has received about $25 million of $253 million it expects to get over three years for the massive expansion of its Weatherization Assistance Program, which dates to the ’70s…”