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November 17, 2010

Region applauded for weatherization efforts

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — How program works

Its role is to assess a home’s energy consumption and then help homeowners identify a means to reduce that consumption.

It is mainly through such things as furnace repairs and education. Funds are allocated to an approximate level of $6,500 per unit. Corbett notes the program is mandated to use the list of possible consumers from state agencies — such as LiHEAP, Department of Public Welfare and other lists before turning to others.

Therefore, people don’t apply to the agency directly. Once the agency receives names of potential clients, contact is made with them to determine if they are interested in having work done.

“Our biggest problem is people think we are a scam,” said Ferlin. The agency will contact potential clients twice before turning to other clients.

All clients must be interviewed through what is known as the in-take process. Diana Schlosser is office manager and does these interviews. “She has worked with a lot of people,” Corbett said, noting Schlosser is a “people person” and does that job well.

After the in-take survey is done, Mike Wylie and another employee go to the site and do the assessment of what is needed. A work schedule is developed and Wylie monitors it to make certain the work is being done. A state monitor also does oversight.

In addition to replacing or modifying heating systems, the program also includes education programs designed to teach clients ways to reduce energy consumption by making adjustments to their way of life. Those reductions could amount to $50 a month, said Corbett. “Fifty dollars a month is a lot of money,” he said, noting that’s $50 the person has to spend on other family needs.

By using ARRA funds, the program has provided jobs to local people. And that could improve in the near future. The agency’s goal is to work on eight homes a week. Currently, it does about six.

 

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