Vermont’s Auditor of Accounts says the state’s home weatherization program should be continued despite budget concerns.
The program pays for energy saving home improvements for low income Vermonters.
By law, the program has to be re-authorized periodically. It’s scheduled to end in June, unless re-approved by the legislature. The program cost about six million dollars this year, with most of the money coming from a tax on home heating fuel.
A report released Monday by auditor Elizabeth Ready says every dollar spent on the weatherization program results in nearly two dollars of energy savings. The report says the program also creates local jobs.
Ready says with fuel costs increasing, and rising poverty rates, the program is a good investment.
(Ready) “We have looked at this program from tip to tail and I think it’s on really good solid ground as far as the way both the funds are collected and administered and the way the program is operated. What we’re seeing now is one in five Vermonters that are living at or below a hundred percent of the poverty level. And let’s be clear, these numbers are increasing. This program is about keeping people warm.”
Ready says her report found the program could do a better job letting renters and rental property owners know that they’re eligible to take advantage of the program. The home weatherization program was started during the energy crisis in 1976.