October 27, 2010
Council to Recognize Austin Energy for Free Weatherization Work
Austin Energy celebrates National Weatherization Day on Oct. 30 by weatherizing this week its 280th home with federal stimulus funds and the enrollment of another 700 applicants for the program with 260 of those representing work currently under way or scheduled. The numbers put Austin Energy on track to enroll more customers and complete its goal of 1,064 homes by August 2011.
Austin Energy will be recognized this Thursday with a proclamation by the Austin City Council in celebration of National Weatherization Day and for its work on the federal stimulus program and also for its long and successful history of administering free weatherization programs in Austin for almost 30 years.
“Our Austin Energy weatherization leadership team shares a common vision - to provide cost-effective energy efficiency services to our low-income customers. This is not just about houses to us; it is about the people who live in them,” said Karl R. Rábago, Vice President of Distributed Energy Services.
Based on its national reputation as a leader in energy efficiency, Austin Energy was awarded $5.8 million in federal stimulus funds to weatherize homes in Austin over two years and also to help spur the development of green jobs in the community. It is the only municipally owned utility in the nation to be awarded federal stimulus funds to administer a weatherization program.
Austin Energy projects to spend about $5,300 in free weatherization work on each home in the federal program and save each customer on average about 1,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year or about $130 annually in electricity costs. Customers must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines ($44,100 for a family of four) to qualify. Each home can receive if needed attic insulation, solar screens, air conditioners, refrigerators, compact fluorescent light bulbs and other energy-efficiency measures to reduce energy use based on an energy audit of the home.
“This program is absolutely vital to these customers, it is good for all customers, and it is essential to developing a more sustainable community. We are proud to accept this proclamation and even more committed to continuing our important work,” Rábago said.
Austin Energy also has weatherized more than 14,000 homes over the years through its own free weatherization program saving 16.4 million kWh annually or enough electricity to power 8,200 average-size homes in Austin year-round.