East Wilton— Western Maine Community Action (WMCA) provides low income weatherization programs to the Franklin County area of the State of Maine through federal funds. WMCA delivers a quality weatherization program designed to make energy improvements to Maine’s aging and challenging housing stock. The improvements made to these dwellings assist families and elders in reducing their overall energy consumption and costs associated with the heating of their homes.
“Our collective energy conservation efforts with our local private contractors are making notable differences to our low income clients, as well as to Franklin County’s local economy,” said Housing Services Program Manager Bill Crandall. “In Franklin County, the average annual income for an eligible fuel assistance household is approximately $17,000 and yearly energy fuel cost expenses make up roughly 13 percent of their annual income, or around $2,000 a year.”
“The truly significant importance of our collective statewide weatherization efforts is better shown at the county level.” said Crandall, “Based on our data, for every three units weatherized, approximately 1,000 gallons of fuel will be saved every year going forward. Although WMCA is one of the smallest Community Action Agencies statewide, we were able to weatherize approximately 250 units in Franklin County during the last three years of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).”
“The savings demonstrated from that effort equates to more than 80,000 gallons of fuel a year saved in Franklin County. This translates to more than $320,000 a year that was not —and will not— be spent on heating oil going forward in our service area. These energy savings will have continued significant impacts to our local economies statewide.” Crandall concluded.
“WMCA has been able to show significant savings in energy costs pre- and post-weatherization efforts for the winters covering 2010 and 2011 for each of these low income clients. We have data showing an average annual dollar savings of roughly $1,200 and an average savings of 328 gallons a year per household” Crandall added. “Recently one client that had used 1,100 gallons pre-weatherization said, ‘We only used 300 gallons this year  and that was starting with an empty tank last fall!’”
Savings by dwelling type is notable as well. The average savings for the mobile homes were about 265 gallons and just under a $1,000 annually. “Understandably, our single family homes showed an even greater savings, about 360 gallons and roughly $1,300 saved each year” Crandall said. “These savings alone make a substantial difference to each of these families, especially to seniors faced daily with difficult choices and limited funds. Reductions in energy expenses gives seniors savings they can use in other areas of our local economies, or on their health care needs”.