2/11/2020 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help Rhode Islanders improve energy efficiency and save money on their utility bills, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today delivered $1,539,247 in federal funding for Rhode Island’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

This federal funding will allow the Rhode Island Department of Human Services to partner with Community Action Agencies throughout the state to provide weatherization services to eligible households, helping low-income families permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.  Examples of weatherization assistance includes air sealing, attic and wall insulation, heating system upgrades, energy audits, and window and roof repair and replacement.  The program also helps with home health and safety measures, such as installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“Keeping your house warm in the winter isn’t easy in Rhode Island.  That’s why these federal funds are so important.  Real families will get help making their homes more efficient.  At the same time as they lower their bills and help the climate, WAP also creates jobs for energy experts and contractors.  That’s a win-win,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who led the bipartisan effort to include $305 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in the 2020 fiscal year appropriations package, and successfully included the funding despite the Trump Administration’s attempt to eliminate the program.  This year’s overall level of WAP funding marks a $51 million increase over fiscal year 2019.

Studies show that low-income people and senior citizens spend a disproportionate share of their income on heating and electricity.  Energy efficiency improvements can significantly cut or eliminate the excess energy burden experienced by these households.

WAP grants are administered by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) with applications available at local Community Action Programs.  Priority is given to households with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and those receiving Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.  Successful applicants develop a personal action plan to help reduce household energy costs and implement conservation measures. Both homeowners and renters with the permission of their landlords may apply, and the program assists all types of housing including single-family homes, multi-family buildings, and manufactured homes.

According to DHS statistics, for each dollar invested in WAP generates over $1.80 in energy benefits for the 1,200 homes it serves annually, and every dollar spent on weatherization initiatives generates $2.51 to the household and communities.  DHS reports that through weatherization improvements and upgrades, WAP households save $437 in heating and cooling costs year after year at current prices.

Over the last five years, Senator Reed has delivered a total of $5.8 million in federal WAP funding to the state.  Senator Reed and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently teamed up to offer legislation, the Investing in State Energy Act (S. 185), to speed the distribution of federal funds to states and local partners from WAP and the State Energy Program.

For more information on WAP services and eligibility, visit: http://www.dhs.ri.gov/Programs/WAPProgramInfo.php or your local CAP provider at: https://www.ricommunityaction.org/member-services/default.aspx

Rhode Island residents with weatherization questions may direct them to: dhs.wap@dhs.ri.gov