Monday is the day to think weatherization

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 29, 2000

Features Editor

With temperatures staying steady in the 80s, not much thought is being given to the time ahead when heaters will be turned on and higher energy prices will play havoc on monthly budgets.

But colder weather is coming and it’s time to start thinking about the impact it will have on utility bills, said Jan Davis, weaterization coordinator for the Organized Community Action Program (OCAP).

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"According to recent data by the Energy Information Administration, natural gas prices are forecast to rise nationally by 27 percent and fuel oil by 30 percent this year," Davis said. "Combined with colder winter temperatures this year, many families will see their energy bills rise dramatically."

Davis said this will impact all of the families in Pike County but the hardest hit will be the low-income families.

"The lowest-income households pay 14 percent of their annual incomes for energy compared with 3.5 percent of other households," Davis said. "Under current conditions, this heavy energy burden may rise to 18 percent, causing more families to make the difficult choice between heat and other basic necessities."

Davis said Monday, Oct. 30, is National Weatherization Day and the Pike County community needs to be reminded of the federal program that addresses these daily energy concerns.

The Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, working with its state and local partners like OCAP Weatherization, helps to reduce the energy burden on low-income families by installing cost-effective, energy efficient measures.

"The purpose of National Weatherization Day is to raise awareness of the important benefits provided by this program," Davis said.

Since the inception of the program in 1978, nearly five million homes have been weatherized, Davis said.

"In our community, OCAP weatherizes an average of 130 homes every year in a 12-county area," Davis said. "These households save an average of $193 annually on their heating bills after the weatherization work is completed. The dollar savings alone make a big difference for the families. In addition, weatherization makes the home warmer (cooler) and safer."

Serving as the nation’s core program for delivering energy efficiency services to low-income households, the Weatherization Assistance Program prioritizes the elderly, persons with disabilities and households with children, Davis said.

"Households experience energy efficiency, financial and health and safety gains as a result of weatherization measures," she said. "The Weatherization Program serves every county in the nation through its network of state and local agencies. 

For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, call OCAP at 566-1712. At this time, the local OCAP office is in need of good contractors to work with the program which serves Butler, Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes and PIke.