A new countywide program may help residents save money on their utility bills.
The Neighborhood Preservation and Sustainability Department of Alameda County's Community Development Agency has begun to implement a grant it received last year to begin a Weatherization Assistance Program.
Weatherization means modifying homes and buildings to reduce energy use and increase energy efficiency.
Carole Kajita of the agency’s Planning Department says the $1.9 million grant, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides funding for eligible homeowners and renters residing in single-family housing up to four family multi-unit housing in Union City, Alameda, Castro Valley, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Sunol. Albany, Berkeley and Emeryville already have a program.
“Conserving energy usage will result in lower utility bills,” Kajita said. "It’s important to get the word out as many ways as we can.”
The program is open until March 2012 or until funds are depleted. So the earlier residents apply, the better.
Applications take about two weeks to process, according to Rajesh Varma of the Weatherization Assistance Program. Applicants will be notified by mail of their eligibility status. Eligible applicants must take an assessment test to determine what energy-efficiency measures are needed.
Weatherization measures are determined on a case by case basis after a home diagnostic assessment.
“Those measures might include weatherization stripping, insulation, furnace repair or high efficiency light bulbs,” said David Shen, weatherization outreach specialist.
There are three parts to the program. First is a housing inspection to determine what changes can be made to make a dwelling more weatherproof — floor and attic insulation, water heaters, faucets and air-flow. Second is repair work to be performed by county-approved contractors. Third is a post-repair inspection for quality assurance.
Program eligibility is based on income criteria and requires supporting documents.
All energy-efficiency measures are free for income-qualified applicants. Households must be at or below 2009 California State Assistance Program Guidelines based on household size and 75 percent of state median income.
To qualify applicants must submit the following:
- A completed weatherization application
- Proof of all sources of income for the last month for each member of the household older than 18
- The most current PG&E utility bill with the applicant's name and address
- Proof of citizenship or legal status
Applications can be picked up in person and are available at the county office at 224 West Winton Ave., in Hayward. For more information, visitwww.acgov.org/cda/nps/.
For an appointment with a weatherization specialist, call 510-670-6125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.