For immediate release: Aug 27, 2009
Posted by: [GOV]
Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

State energy conservation stimulus program approved

INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2009) - The state's energy conservation proposal to use nearly $132 million in federal stimulus funding to help more than 30,000 low-income Hoosier households has been approved by the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We appreciate the department giving the green light to our program. We're eager to get going," said Governor Mitch Daniels. "Our goal is to lower utility costs for as many people as possible as quickly as possible, putting a dent in Indiana's overall energy consumption along the way."

This new program, combined with annual weatherization programs operated by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), will be 11 times the total of all current annual weatherization programs. New non-profit partners such as the Rural Electric Member Cooperatives (REMC) and the Indiana Builders Association, Inc., will be involved for the first time.

Within the next two weeks, energy auditors will begin evaluations of households to determine energy needs. To date, the state has trained 190 energy auditors and 483 contractors. The state will have exceeded its training goals by the end of September.

Eligible households, which must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, will be notified of their participation. Those who have already qualified for the state's Energy Assistance Program will be contacted, and priority will be given to elderly and disabled residents and families with children.

Following the audit, homeowners may receive energy savings equipment such as programmable thermostats, insulation, new furnaces or hot water heaters. A state quantity purchasing plan will be used to purchase those materials in bulk using the state's Buy Indiana initiative, to the extent allowable by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act legislation.

"The Obama administration has flagged weatherization as its number one concern for potential fraud under its stimulus package. While stretching dollars to reach more households, central purchasing will eliminate the chance for fraud or cronyism on the materials front," said Sherry Seiwert, executive director of IHCDA.

Expenditures of up to $5,000 per household will be made. It is expected that about 2,000 contractors will be used to complete the work in Indiana households.

Earlier this year, the IHCDA sought bids and selected non-profit entities from throughout Indiana to administer funds and oversee completion of the first half of the energy conservation work for $55 million. The contracts with 30 service providers will be performance based; measurements will include how much conservation is achieved per dollar spent, and renewal will depend on each provider's results.

A list of the selected service providers may be found at this link: http://www.in.gov/ihcda/files/Press_Release_ecp_service_providers.pdf

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