Sunday, March 22 2009
Here we have some new information on Gov. Mitch Daniel’s federal stimulus funding to make the homes of low-income Hoosiers more energy efficient. Of importance to note is that Gov. Daniels makes every effort to make sure that the funds are used where they are needed and his Energy Assistance Program will ensure that waste and fraud are eliminated.
Daniels to spend millions on weatherization payments
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will spend $132 million in federal stimulus funding to make the homes of low-income Hoosiers more energy efficient, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Friday.
The money will pay for upgrades to the insulation and heating and cooling equipment inside the homes of people already receiving state energy assistance.
As Daniels outlined the state's plan to spend the stimulus money dedicated to energy conservation, Daniels said 30,000 households could see their energy bills drop 30 percent -- an average savings around $20.
The $132 million is a massive increase in funding for weatherization efforts -- 11 times as much as the state spends each year.
Daniels said weatherizing that many homes could equal the total energy savings of 25 megawatts per year – or one small power plant every 10 years.
First preference for home weatherization will go to elderly or disabled Hoosiers who currently fall below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. They’ll come from a list of those who have already qualified for the state’s Energy Assistance Program, which Daniels said will help eliminate waste and fraud.
Daniels said the weatherization program would create 2,300 jobs, and he hopes those jobs will go to Indiana workers.
"As far as we're concerned, every person hired and every contract awarded should go to Hoosier firms," Daniels said.
Of those jobs, 300 would go to energy assessment and inspection workers, and another 2,000 would go to contractors hired to do the in-home work.
Daniels acknowledged training that many Hoosiers for such work will require “a lot of training.”
“Nothing on this scale even remotely has ever happened before,” he said.
The state will receive two rounds of stimulus funding for energy conservation. Daniels said the state will watch how firms handle the first round of projects and use that to gauge how the second half of the money is spent.
"We are going to measure energy savings per dollar spent, and I hope we'll see some real creativity; some new approaches," Daniels said.
States must spend their weatherization funds by Sept. 30, 2010.
Friday’s announcement was the third of a series of stimulus spending announcements the governor says he plans to make. The first two announcements were roadway projects the Indiana Department of Transportation of INDOT will take on.
Next week, Daniels said he will announce the next phase of projects as INDOT seeks to spend its $440 million in federal dollars.
Most of the money must be spent quickly, and Daniels said that’s the state’s aim. He said the state seeks “speed, jobs and lasting results.”