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Pennsylvania Legislature Removes Barriers to Participation in Residential Energy Efficiency

Posted by Adam Winer on Jul 12, 2022

Budget includes $125 million for transformative new program that pairs necessary home repairs with energy cost-saving measures

HARRISBURG, JULY 12, 2022 – National business association Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) applauded the Pennsylvania Legislature for approving a state budget last week that includes $125 million to fund critical home repairs for residents. This new funding source, dubbed the Whole Homes Repair Program, is the result of tireless advocacy by a coalition that included Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance as well as community organizations, housing and other advocates. The new program has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of thousands of Pennsylvanians by increasing the number of households that can take advantage of cost-saving energy efficiency offerings.

“One in four Pennsylvania voters lives in a home in need of critical repairs, while one in three describes their utility bills as unaffordable, so a program that creates a one-stop-shop for households to tackle both issues is incredibly valuable,” said Leah Meredith, Policy Principal at AEE. “By making it easier for Pennsylvanians to make energy efficiency upgrades, the Whole Home Repairs Program is poised to be a transformative tool that will improve lives and serve as a model for the nation.”

More than 280,000 occupied units in Pennsylvania have moderate to severe physical inadequacies, such as leaky windows, unsound roofs, outdated electrical panels, or exposed wiring. These inadequacies present health and safety concerns that frequently prevent the residents from participating in the energy-cost saving programs offered by their energy utility or other entities. While separate programs exist in Pennsylvania to fund home improvements, there was previously no way to coordinate them with energy efficiency investments before this first-in-the-nation program. The new program provides up to $50,000 for habitability repairs and energy efficiency upgrades, and allocates support staff to ensure applicants receive the help they need.

“Everyone contributes to funding energy efficiency programs, but the Pennsylvanians who spend the largest percentage of their income on energy costs and are most in need of efficiency improvements also have the most trouble taking advantage of these cost-saving programs,” added Meredith. “The Whole Home Repairs Program is a major step toward energy equity in Pennsylvania because it establishes a pathway for fairly distributing the benefits of energy efficiency.”

The new program will also be supported by Pennsylvania’s growing energy efficiency workforce. The 65,000 Pennsylvanians currently employed in the sector stand at the ready to provide the technological know-how to deliver energy cost-saving measures and home upgrades to Pennsylvanians with the greatest need.

Energy efficiency is the lowest cost and most readily available resource to meet energy demand. Every $1 that Pennsylvania’s utilities invest in energy efficiency programs reaps $1.63 in benefits. While these investments reduce energy costs for all utility customers by lowering wholesale energy prices and deferring or avoiding the need for additional electricity generation resources and other costly infrastructure investments, those Pennsylvanians who participate directly in utility energy efficiency programs stand to save the most money on their utility bills. 

Topics: Press Releases, Energy Efficiency, Pennsylvania, Leah Meredith