MAINE, USA — Governor Janet Mills has announced new initiatives aimed at helping Mainers cut energy costs while reducing fossil fuel usage.
"The sad fact is that we are the most heating-dependent state in the nation," Mills said.
$25 million in federal money will now be used to help weatherize homes of qualifying low and moderate-income earning families. The grants will be distributed through Efficiency Maine.
Mills reported Mainers spend more than $4 billion every year on fossil fuels to heat their homes, with oil and gas prices on the rise, weatherizing homes is just one step to help Mainers cut heating costs.
"Weatherization can save families as much as $700 every heating season," Mills said.
The governor's announcement comes after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates that the costs for nearly all home heating methods will increase this winter, as a result of pandemic effects.
"To support program that is going to enable us for the next 3 or 4 years to help low to moderate-income Mainers weatherize their homes," said Michael Stoddard, executive director of Efficiency Maine.
Matt Damon is the co-owner of Penobscot Home Performace of Brewer. He said weatherization helps alleviate this energy burden for all income levels.
"Through cost-effective improvements such as insulation, air sealing, heating upgrades, proper ventilation systems, lighting, and efficient appliances," Damon said.
"What we will be offering is up to 90% of the cost of a full weatherization project at your home, and we will be able to finance the other 10% if you do not have that money available at the time," said Stoddard from Efficiency Maine.
Another resource is the Home Energy Assistance Program.
"Only 20 to 25% of income-eligible households actually reach out and apply for the heating assistance program, that's only a quarter of people who are eligible, so people in Maine are folks are proud, and they don't want to ask for help, they think that the neighbor needs it more than I do, there is plenty of money, we have a lot of money available, we are not going to run out, please apply," Dan Brennan, Maine Housing director said
"The home energy assistance program which is aimed at helping those who need to stay warm during our long Maine winters," Kara Hay, chief executive officer of PenquisCAP said.
Hay says there is money available to help those who are struggling to heat their homes, gain access. Hay adds that your local community action program should be able to lead people in the right direction on how and where to apply for heating assistance.
"Even if you applied before and didn't qualify, or if your situation has changed, reach out to us and we will work to understand what resources we have," Hay said.
Gov. Mills also announced a clean energy partnership backed by 4 million dollars of federal funds for training programs focused on the clean energy and energy efficiency sector.
"These sectors are projected to grow substantially in the next few years, generating many new jobs, the majority which will offer above-average wages, we now have more than 1,500 energy-efficient companies in Maine," said Mills.
To see if you qualify for the newest weatherization initiative, click here.