Home energy assistance

Thursday, December 15th 2005, 2:51 pm
By: News On 6

Cold weather and high gas prices are a tough mix for lower-income families. The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board is offering help.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, they think it will be even longer-lasting than cash.

For Tulsa resident Shirley Rednour, money is tight. "I live on social security, and I've gotten a lot of help. Of course, I'm a widow, lost my husband 9 years ago." But the house is not tight, as winterizing expert Reggie Owings showed the News on 6. "On this door right here, if you can see, there's a gap that all the air is coming in from, we're going to fix this door so it shuts right."

The coldest room in Shirley's house is also the one she can least afford to get cold. "The cold air on the back porch is unreal sometimes and I can't shut that off because if I do, my plumbing will freeze up."

Owings has a host of high-tech gizmos to figure out where all the leaks in the house are, but he says there are three simple things any homeowner can do. "Weather strip your doors, caulk windows and the most important thing, if you have money, insulation. That's a good deal to do."

The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board is giving $1-million to the state's weatherization program for low-income citizens. They say it will pay to weatherize an additional 800 homes. They point out that by working on the houses instead of just helping pay bills, it increases the value of the home and will help residents keep cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter.

Shirley Rednour: "It's a good program to have out there."

You can call your local Community Action agency to see if your income is low enough to qualify. In general, the cutoff is $19,000 for a one-person household, $30,000 for a family of four.