On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, the Biden Administration announced allocated 3.16 billion USD towards energy-efficient homes for low-income families.
Source: Matthew Lesko/Youtube
“Home energy retrofits and upgrades – like electrification, heat pumps, LED lighting, insulation, and sealing up leaks – can slash monthly energy bills for families and improve the air we breathe,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm explains in a statement. “Thanks to the transformative investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be able to help households in disadvantaged communities, reduce carbon emissions, and generate good-paying local jobs in every corner of America.”
The green energy transition has been on Biden’s agenda from the start, but the current energy crisis has added a socioeconomic urgency to the shift. Earlier this year, close to 1.3 million households in New York state were reported to have been two months behind on their utility bills, accumulating a debt of over 1.7 billion USD. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent energy prices soaring, and many have been having trouble paying their heating bills. Biden’s funds will hopefully be a part of a long-term plan to shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
Governor Kathy Hochul reminded New Yorkers of programs that were available to them and explained that the Department of Public Service had sent letters to the state’s major utilities stressing the need for them to reach out to their customers and educate them on available options. Hochul also highlighted assistance programs such as the Home Energy Assistance Program (Heap), and energy providers have encouraged their customers to enroll in payment plans.
While payment plans and assistance programs may temporarily release the burden, it is not a long-term solution. Biden’s funding is a step in the right direction for more sustainable solutions as the president’s Infrastructure Law increased the Weatherization Program’s resources tenfold. This means that the current number of 35,000 serviced homes could increase to 350,000 under the revitalized program.
The new funding bill provides a boost to the decades-old weatherization program established during the 1970s oil crisis. The funds will be used to retrofit low-income family houses and add insulation, upgrade appliances and lighting, and electrify cooling and heating systems. This will not only save the families money, but it will also make their homes more resilient to climate change and alleviate the 13 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that fossil fuels used to power homes account for.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm emphasized the enormous cost-saving potential the program can offer, stating that it has slashed power bills by as much as 30 percent, noting that for low-income families, this can make all the difference. “For some people, these might seem like small changes, but actually they make a big and immediate impact,” she said. Sign this petition to ask Biden to declare a Climate & Ecological Emergency.
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