Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Weatherization Assistance Program Expanding, but Not in Dollars

The U.S. Department of Energy yesterday published a proposal to expand and adjust the Weatherization Assistance Program in accordance with the EISA 2007. The '07 energy bill expanded the definition of "states" under the Weatherization Program to include American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands but does nothing to ensure increased appropriations for the program. The Weatherization Assistance Program provides energy cost relief to low-income households by supporting household improvements such as more efficient HVAC systems. Now that the DOE is required to include all U.S. territories, their proposal for 2009's program requires funding cuts, albeit minor at this point, across all states. Considering that the Program's appropriations are based on a formula that takes into account the amount of low-income households and the number of heating or cooling degree days, the slippery slope watch should begin now that the 2009 Program will be expanded to include territories not only with high rates of low-income households, but also potentially high weatherization needs.

No comments: