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Tonko, Kaptur, & Slotkin Introduce Weatherization Bill to Lower Energy Costs for Families

Legislation strengthens DOE’s low-income Weatherization Assistance Program, cuts utility bills & supports energy efficiency

  • Rep. Paul Tonko

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Representatives Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), and Elissa Slotkin (MI-7) introduced the Weatherization Enhancement and Readiness Act, legislation that invests in home weatherization efforts to save low-income families hundreds of dollars on their energy bills while making homes safer, healthier, and more energy efficient.

“The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has served as a pillar for millions of American families, lowering energy costs and making their homes healthier and safer, which is why I’ve pushed hard in Congress to bolster this vital program,” Congressman Tonko said. “Our legislation does just that, making commonsense improvements to WAP to make our communities more resilient and energy efficient. I’m grateful to my colleagues for joining me in this effort, and I’ll continue working to ensure we lower costs for all Americans and propel a more just, more sustainable clean energy future.”

“My work to establish the Weatherization Readiness Program in the 2022 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Act was a downpayment on the effort we kick off today,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). “It’s an honor to join Congressman Tonko and Congresswoman Slotkin, who are champions in our efforts to bring relief from high energy costs to struggling Americans, to introduce this bill to permanently authorize the Weatherization Readiness Program. Our goal is to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the Weatherization Assistance Program and to help homeowners save hundreds of dollars each year on their energy bills. Together we recommit to ensuring that homeowners, no matter their income level, have access to this important program to help ease the burden of high energy costs and extend the life of their home for generations to come.”

“I heard directly from constituents and Michiganders from around the state about how our low-income housing supply is in serious need of rehabilitation,” Congresswoman Slotkin said. “I also heard from philanthropic organizations in Michigan that are working desperately to provide low-income individuals with the support and resources they need to make these necessary home repairs. Those conversations revealed that many residents aren’t eligible for federal assistance that would help them save on energy bills because of other problems like mold or leaky roofs. The result is this home-grown bill I’m cosponsoring with Rep. Kaptur and led by Rep. Tonko. The Weatherization Enhancement and Readiness Act would expand the current assistance program to cover home repairs for structural issues like plumbing, roofing, and electrical issues, as well as environmental hazards like asbestos or lead paint. This expansion in eligibility will then help families make additional upgrades that will lead to safer homes, lower energy bills, and ultimately put money back in people’s pockets. Our state is no stranger to extreme weather, from blizzards in the winter to severe thunderstorms in the summer. We need to help Michiganders prepare for those events, and that means removing barriers currently in their way.”

Data shows that home weatherization reduces energy burden with cost-effective, energy efficiency retrofit investments. Additionally, households receiving WAP services save an average of $372 each year on their energy bills.

The Weatherization Enhancement & Readiness Act would strengthen the program by:

  • Raising the statutory Average Cost Per Unit from $6,000 to $12,000, so that households can receive more assistance, and WAP implementers can pay competitive wages and retain their workforces;
  • Authorizing the Weatherization Readiness Program to address structural, plumbing, roofing, and electrical issues, and environmental hazards with dwelling units unable to receive effective assistance from WAP;
  • Authorizing $50 million annually through Fiscal Year 2029 for the Weatherization Readiness Program; and
  • Making other minor and clarifying changes to WAP.

A fact sheet of the Weatherization Enhancement & Readiness Act can be found HERE.

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