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WEATHERIZATION BLITZ TO HELP NEEDY NEW YORKERS WITH WINTER HOME HEATING COSTS
New York Power Authority and Massena Electric Department Kick Off Energy Efficiency Program

Contact:
Christine Pritchard
518-322-9143
christine.pritchard@nypa.gov

October 31, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MASSENA—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel was joined today by Massena Electric Department (MED) Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon to kick off the Power Authority’s “Weatherization Blitz” program that will help low-income residents lower their home heating costs by 10 to 15 percent this winter.

The initiative centers on the distribution of weatherization kits containing items to help improve heating, lighting and water efficiency in the home, and also includes energy conservation guide booklets with additional savings tips.

"Even in these challenging economic times, New York has an obligation to do all it can to help its most vulnerable residents. It is critically important that the state and municipalities provide assistance to needy families trying to cope with exorbitant home heating costs," said Governor David A. Paterson. "The NYPA Weatherization Blitz is a key component in helping low-income New Yorkers reduce their power bills by making their homes more energy efficient. The cheapest energy is the energy that is never used."

“The Weatherization Blitz Program is part of a comprehensive plan announced last month by Governor Paterson to help needy New Yorkers handle their home heating costs this winter,” said Kessel. “While fossil-fuel prices have fallen with the downturn in the economy, heating costs can still make a serious dent in family budgets, particularly for low-income households.  The Power Authority is pleased to support the Governor’s overall efforts through our distribution of these weatherization kits to community-owned electric systems like the Massena Electric Department for the low-income residents they serve.”

“I want to thank Richard Kessel and the Power Authority for undertaking this program, which is going to make a big difference for financially struggling households,” said Superintendent McMahon. “We’re especially concerned about the most vulnerable members of the community, including the elderly, small children and disabled residents, who are struggling to adjust to our economic turmoil. NYPA’s program will help maximize the use of the cheapest fuel—which is the fuel that is never used. These kits when installed will make homes more comfortable, the winter more bearable and bills more manageable. We also want to thank Massena Central High School for their involvement in this program. These volunteers will assure that these kits are put to maximum use and will truly make a difference in their community.”

The eligibility standard for the weatherization kits is in line with the qualification under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally funded initiative. The average family of four must make less than $45,000 gross income annually to be eligible.       

McMahon noted that the MED, which has approximately 9,500 customers, has identified some 500 households for the weatherization kits and believes there is the likelihood of other qualifying customers.

The Power Authority is expecting to distribute between 20,000 to 30,000 kits to municipal electric systems and rural cooperatives in various parts of the state. Other Northern New York systems that have signed on to participate in the program include Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Theresa and Rouses Point.

The weatherization kits include caulk for doors and windows; weather-stripping and door sweeps; shrink-fit window kits; compact fluorescent bulbs and an LED nightlight fixture; a hot-water temperature gauge and refrigerator thermometer; and a low-flow showerhead and faucet aerators. The kits also include equipment for testing for radon gas, which comes from the natural decay in uranium that is found in nearly all soils.

In September, the Power Authority Trustees authorized up to five million dollars for the Weatherization Blitz Program, stemming from a directive by Governor Paterson for state agencies and public authorities to consider ways to make home-heating costs more affordable this winter.

Other elements of the governor’s comprehensive plan for helping low-income New Yorkers with their energy costs include: significant increases in benefits and changes to eligibility levels for the state’s heating assistance program; an additional $49 million for household energy efficiency programs, including NYPA’s initiative; and improved agency administration of efficiency and heating assistance programs.

For more information on the State's heating assistance programs and ways to make your home more energy efficient, please visit www.HeatSmartNY.org, or call (877) NY-SMART.

With its low-cost hydropower, the Power Authority meets the bulk of the electricity needs of the state’s 51 municipal electric systems and rural cooperatives, including seven systems in the North Country.

 About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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