Commissioners for Washington State’s Chelan PUD on Nov. 16 heard a plan to expand energy conservation programs to focus on households that spend more than 6 percent of their income on power bills.
In Chelan County, about 2,100 households qualify as “high energy-burdened” because they spend more than 6 percent of their paychecks on electricity. About 98 percent of these households earn less than $20,000 a year.
PUD staff outlined a plan to launch a focused low-income energy assistance program in 2021. The PUD already offers rebates for energy-saving measures, including insulation, heat pumps and windows. Staff recommended greater engagement with nonprofits and landlords, as well as greater assistance to help low-income homeowners cover the up-front cost of home improvements.
PUD commissioners “expressed support to expand energy conservation, which would provide significant benefit to about two-thirds of the 2,100 high energy-burdened households,” Chelan noted in a news release.
“I believe we also have to remind ourselves that we work consistently to keep our rates lower than most of the country,” Commissioner Steve McKenna said. “That’s part of our ongoing commitment to provide rate relief.”
PUD staff will continue developing the program and report on progress in 2021.