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Weatherization Blitz to Help Lower Income New Yorkers With Winter Home Heating Costs: New York Power Authority and Villages of Freeport and Rockville Centre Kick Off Energy Efficiency Program

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

November 13, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 

FREEPORT—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel was joined today by Freeport Mayor William Glacken and Rockville Centre Mayor Mary W. Bossart to kick off the Power Authority’s “Weatherization Blitz” program on Long Island that will help lower-income residents reduce 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 in September 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 Freeport and Rockville Centre Electric Departments for the lower-income residents they serve.” 

William Glacken, mayor of the Village of Freeport, said: "The Village of Freeport would like to thank Governor Paterson and NYPA President Kessel for bringing this Winterization program to New Yorkers. These are challenging times for our customers. With the high cost of fuel, a sluggish economy, and predictions of another tough winter season approaching, Governor Paterson’s Winter Weatherization program will lessen the financial blow to our customers by helping New Yorkers reduce their utility bills. Energy matters more now than ever before as it affects our environment and our pocket books as well.  The Village of Freeport is extremely enthusiastic about this program and looks forward to implementing it.  We commend Governor Paterson, President Kessel and the staff of the New York Power Authority for coordinating this important energy conservation initiative."

Mary W. Bossart, mayor of the Village of Rockville Centre, said: "Rockville Centre is proud to be assisting NYPA in making a success of its Winter Home Heating and Energy Tune-Up program. We thank the Power Authority for taking the lead in providing assistance to our low-income residents this winter. We look forward to working with the Power Authority on this project and others to come, in the interests of providing clean, safe and economical energy to all of our residents."

“Considering the cost of energy today, I applaud the New York Power Authority’s proactive approach to help Long Island homeowners reduce their bills.  Promoting energy efficiency not only helps homeowners save money, it helps preserve our environment,” said Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg. 

"CDC is delighted to be hosting this important event and commends NYPA’s initiative to make available energy savings measures to the low income community,” said Marianne Garvin, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Community Development Center of Long Island.  

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.         

In addition to Freeport and Rockville Centre on Long Island, the Village of Greenport, another NYPA customer, has also agreed to participate in the program. Kessel noted that the three Long Island electric departments, which have in total over 23,000 customers, have identified some 875 households for the weatherization kits and believe 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.  

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.

 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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