As cooler temperatures descend upon us this autumn, the extreme summer heatwaves will not soon be forgotten. Record-breaking temperatures strained those living in homes without air conditioning, leaving many to look for temporary solutions to keep cool.
Winter is right around the corner. Living in the high desert brings abrupt swings in temperatures and long stretches of snow and freezing temperatures. For many, it means long, cold and uncomfortable days, putting health at risk because many people do not have the financial means to pay typically higher energy bills in the winter.
Central Electric Cooperative excels in helping members in financial need pay their energy bills during extreme weather periods. Thanks to federal aid through the CARES Act and Energy Assistance Stability Coronavirus Relief program combined with regional organization NeighborImpact and CEC’s Project Helping Hand, we helped members receive $238,854 in financial assistance in 2020.
However, this financial assistance is only temporary and not a long-term solution. CEC has other ways to help members. Partnering with NeigborImpact and the federal Bonneville Power Administration, CEC can direct and guide members through various energy-efficiency programs to keep your home warmer during winter and cooler during summer or years to come while saving you money in the long run.
Working with BPA, CEC has developed 16 energy-efficiency programs to help all members, from enhanced new construction standards to high-efficiency heat pumps and water heaters.
Of those, I want to highlight our low-income ductless heat pump program.
Ductless heating and cooling systems distribute warm and cool air more evenly and are two times more efficient than electric resistance heating. The program, which started in 2015, fully pays for ductless heat pumps. By year’s end, nearly 100 qualified low-income members will have had free ductless heat pumps installed since the program’s inception.
Candidates who qualify typically have as their main heating source an electric furnace, wall heaters, baseboard heaters, plug-in heaters or another form of electric resistance heat. On average, members who install the ductless system have cut approximately 25% of their winter electric bills.
Another option is NeighborImpact’s weatherization program, from which many CEC members have benefited. It provides free services to income-qualified renters or homeowners. The program focuses on enhancing the building shell and improving its energy efficiency, including ceilings, floors, ductwork and insulation.
To learn more, please call Central Electric at 541-548-2144 to speak with an energy specialist. They can determine the best path forward by answering your questions and performing an energy audit at your home if needed. If you qualify for a low-income program, they can connect you with NeighborImpact.
Working together, we can help improve members’ quality of living no matter what weather the seasons bring.