Are Your Energy Bills Through The Roof?

June 18th, 2013

Bucks County Opportunity Council is Accepting Applications for the Weatherization Program. If you have a limited income and are struggling with soaring energy bills, the Opportunity Council may be able to cut those costs and make your home more comfortable in all temperatures.

Summer heat is just arriving, which means Bucks County residents will be opening windows, operating power fans and turning on air conditioning units to stay cool. That’s not always easy for low-income families living in homes in need of insulation, caulking work and more efficient appliances. These families watch the rapid consumption of their oil, gas and electricity, and anxiously await the elevated energy bills.

Balancing the high costs of energy with other household expenses is a common stressor for families living with a low-income. That’s why the Bucks County Opportunity Council is looking for residents that are eligible to participate in its Weatherization Program to reduce their energy bills. There is no cost to approved applicants of the program.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

1. The program is for Bucks County residents only.
2. Your family’s income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level for the past 12 months, which will be verified by BCOC staff. (Click here to review the Federal Poverty Guidelines.)
3. Both homeowners and renters are eligible. For a rental property, a landlord’s signed approval is mandatory, and a contribution may be required.

Once approved, a trained Energy Auditor will contact you to schedule an appointment for a Home Energy Audit. After a thorough inspection and review of the home, the auditor will explain to you what changes are recommended to increase your home’s efficiency, including duct sealing, weather-stripping doors, pipe and attic insulation, heater work and possibly replacing inefficient refrigerators and lights. Contractors are then assigned to do the work in your home. All materials and labor are provided and installed at no cost to you.

Big improvements were in store this past spring for the Bucks County home of Vivienne Fennimore after her home was weatherized, and she has noticed the difference.

“The house was so cold, it was like the windows were open,” recalled Fennimore. “They sealed the air leaks, installed insulation in the attic and they gave me a new programmable thermostat.”

After the work is finished, the auditor will follow up to inspect the quality of the work to ensure it meets our standards and program guidelines. You should begin noticing the increased efficiency of your home and a reduction in your energy usage before you know it! Your energy bills should be lower and you will be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter!

Bucks County resident Donna Shukwit saw big improvements in her home’s efficiency after insulation was installed in her home through the Weatherization program in 2012.

“It was wonderful after the work was completed. I don’t have to put the heater on as high now,” said Shukwit. She added, “Insulation isn’t something you pay attention to, but once you have it, thank God.”

To get more information, or find out if your family or someone you know may be eligible for the Opportunity Council’s Weatherization program, please call 215-345-3309 or 215-345-3302. (Please leave a message if there is no answer. They will return your call shortly!) Future funding of this program is uncertain, so call and apply today to be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

Bucks County Opportunity Council, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income people in Bucks County achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. For more information, visit www.bcoc.org.

About the Contributor: Randy Levine recently relocated to Chalfont from Maryland to seek an opening in the public relations or marketing field. Previously, he provided strategic communications support to a leading provider of pest management services in the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia area. At this time, Mr. Levine is a volunteer with the Bucks County Opportunity Council. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Towson University. Randy is also a member of the New Hope Historical Society.

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