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U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touts $3.5 billion investment in weatherizing homes

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Melden Cindy Hugh’s mother faced the ultimate service nightmare last winter: her uncle broke down, literally leaving her family outside in the cold.

But a local association intervened to save the situation, replacing its boiler with a weather plan that had just won a $ 3.5 billion jump from the new federal infrastructure bill.

“They came in and helped us, and it was amazing. With my two little babies, it means a lot to our family,” Hugh said.

“Cindy is one of millions of people across the country who have taken advantage of the weather disaster relief program. That funding has just increased a lot,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Greenholm.

The bipartisan federal infrastructure bill passed last month will do more than improve highways and bridges – some 700,000 U.S. households will be rehabilitated to better protect their families from weather damage.

“That $ 3.5 billion we have is going to be used across the state, especially in the poorest communities, and $ 7 billion to help with low-income heating,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Marky (D-Mass.).

Additional funding could have a big impact here in New England, where severe winters can send routine heating bills through the roof. A big event like a boiler malfunction can severely strain the family budget. Data from legislators show that two-thirds of U.S. households spend a significant portion of their income paid for heating and other services.

Greenholm joined Markie, U.S. Representative Catherine Clark and other lawmakers in front of Hugh’s home Friday to demonstrate the effectiveness of low-income weather programs.

Through the existing weather program, Hugh not only replaced her boiler, she received a full assessment of her home’s energy efficiency. Her tidy family home is meticulously cared for, with black shutters and two lanterns hanging near the front door. But the assessment showed that her house needed to replace all of its insulation, along with the overall heating system.

These upgrades changed the winters in the Hugh family.

“I feel like our home is so cozy and warm,” Hugh said.

In addition to making her home more comfortable, weather upgrades will save her money on monthly electricity bills. Its average account has dropped by about 30% since the upgrades.

The weather process saves households an average of $ 283 a year in energy costs, according to data from the federal government.

“That’s exactly why this legislation is so important, it reduces costs for families and helps save the planet at the same time,” said a Clark representative.

Modernization and upgrading of utilities are beneficial to the environment despite minimizing energy waste. Clark’s office predicts that the additional investment in the weather proposal could lead to an “annual reduction of 2.2 million tons of carbon.”

But only about 2% of the 38 million households eligible for government-funded weather go through the process.

“We want to step up that the weather is very beneficial to citizens, especially now that we are experiencing higher heating bills,” Granholm said.

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