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Weatherization Blitz To Help Lower Income New Yorkers With Winter Home Heating Costs
New York Power Authority And Village Of Solvay Kick Off Energy Efficiency Program

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

December 3, 2008

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 

SOLVAY— New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel was joined today by Solvay Mayor Tony Modafferi to kick off the Power Authority’s “Weatherization Blitz” program in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley 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 Solvay Electric Department for the lower-income residents they serve.” 

“The Village of Solvay is pleased to be part of the Weatherization Blitz program sponsored by the New York Power Authority,” said Tony Modafferi. “In these tough economic times it is essential that this energy saving program for low income households be implemented not only here in Solvay, but throughout New York State. Municipal Entities have made great strides in energy savings thru the years and this new program will be an added benefit to those qualified families and their Municipality. I am looking forward to the kick off of the Weatherization Program and am honored to be a part of it. Thank You New York Power Authority for taking the lead on this important program and allowing all New York State Municipal Systems the chance to participate as well.”

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 Solvay, several other NYPA municipal and rural cooperative customers have joined in the Weatherization Blitz program. In Central New York, the electric departments of Skaneateles, Groton and Marathon have agreed to participate. In the Mohawk Valley, the Oneida-Madison Cooperative and the  electric departments in Sherrill, Hamilton, Boonville, Sherburne, Frankfort, Mohawk and Ilion also have signed up.

Kessel noted that this rural cooperative and these electric departments alone, which have in total nearly 19,000 customers, have identified some 2,550 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.

For the Power Authority, this program is being handled by Maribel Cruz, Business Development and Engineering Facilitator in the Energy Services and Technology business unit. 

 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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