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Local program helps homeowners keep energy bills low

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As the summer temperatures rise, so do energy costs, but a local program can help homeowners keep their monthly energy bills low. The Weatherization Assistance Program at the Tri-County Community Council provides free repairs and updates to eligible, low-income homeowners in the Tri-County area.

The program hires local contractors to service homes whose owners are within 200 percent of the poverty guideline. Some of the services provided are weather stripping, caulking and other energy efficiency updates. The focus is on energy conservation and saving low-income residents money on utility costs, with the help of local contractors.

One Chipley homeowner, Eulene Kittrell, received two new air-conditioning units after hearing about the program from her daughter.

“It was nice to know that there were people in the world that still cared about others,” said Kittrell. “They were very courteous and the process didn’t take long at all.”

The 76-year-old filled out paperwork at the Tri-County Community Council and they sent out an inspector.

Russell Bailey, owner of Panhandle Construction and Tri-County Community Council contractor, jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the Weatherization Assistance Program. Bailey and his employees were required to take an 8-hour training course to learn how to properly weatherize a house.

“Because of the training, residents are guaranteed to have certified contractors that help them see results,” said Bailey.  “Homeowners immediately notice better temperatures in their houses after these small changes toward energy efficiency.”

Residents who are interested in the program should visit the Tri-County Community Council and have their Social Security card, driver’s license, Proof of Ownership, current utility bill and proof of income with them to fill out their application and quickly find out if they are eligible. Renters with a Permission to Enter form completed by the property owner are also eligible.

“We enjoy serving this community every day and hope to be able to help even more people lower their bills and become more energy efficient,” said Joel Paul, Tri-County Community Council director. “These funds will not last forever, so we encourage anyone in the community who is eligible to contact our office to find out if their home can be weatherized.”

The Weatherization Assistance Program is helping low-income Floridians all over the state. For more information, contact the Tri-County Community Council Weatherization Office at 302 N. Oklahoma St., Bonifay, Fla. 32425 or by phone at 850-547-2568. You can also visit WAP online at

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