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Hagerstown officials to use grant money to disperse energy-conservation kits

January 06, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

The City of Hagerstown has been awarded a $71,000 grant through the Maryland Energy Administration that will be used to help residents conserve energy in their homes, a city official said Thursday in a news release.

The money, awarded as part of the EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities Low to Moderate Income grant program, will be used to purchase and distribute energy-conservation kits to qualified Hagerstown Light Department customers, city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe said in the release.

Wolfe said the kits will include up to 14 items, including, but not limited to, four CFL mini spiral light bulbs, 30 feet of rope caulk for windows and doorways, an energy usage monitor and a surge protector/parasitic energy saver electrical strip.

According to city documents, other items include rolls of weatherstripping for doorways, an LED night light with photocell, switch and outlet gasket packs, a furnace filter whistle, a hot-water tank wrap and a canvas bag for distribution of contents.

It’s estimated that the kits can conserve about 2,178 kilowatt hours of energy per year in one household, Wolfe said.

Altogether, the approximately 975 kits could save more than 2.1 million kilowatt hours of energy citywide each year, according to city documents.

Mayor David S. Gysberts said the kits will help residents make small changes in their homes that can translate to savings on utility costs during the cold winter months, as well as the hot days of summer.

“Our hope is to reach almost 1,000 households through this program,” he said. “Providing our citizens with the tools to conserve energy is another step toward making Hagerstown a more sustainable community.”

Wolfe said the city would be using the requirements set forth by the MEA to determine eligibility for Hagerstown residents.

Qualifying households must have incomes that are 85 percent or less than the median income limit established for the county in which the grant disbursements take place, according to the MEA website. Hagerstown’s median household income is listed as $67,700.

Income limit figures for one- to eight-person households that rent also are listed on the MEA website, starting at $43,250 for a single-person income with a maximum of $1,082 per month in rent.

“Any assistance we can provide for our low- to moderate-income residents is a great benefit to the community,” said Michael Spiker, director of utilities for the city. “Our rates are already the lowest in the area, and we also understand the economic situation of our customers. We’re looking forward to having another way to help our citizens keep their utility costs low.”

The Hagerstown City Council approved the grant application in late September.

Wolfe said the grant-award notifications were handed down ahead of the scheduled date of Jan. 31, and the city plans to begin the bid process for materials by Feb. 7.

Distribution will begin in early March, she said, after the city makes an announcement that kits are ready to be picked up.

Once ready, residents who meet the requirements can apply in person to receive a kit by visiting City Hall at 1 E. Franklin St.

Program requirements

  • Median Household Income: $67,700
  • One-person income: $43,250; maximum rent: $1,082
  • Two-person income: $49,400; maximum rent: $1,235
  • Three-person income: $55,600; maximum rent: $1,390
  • Four-person income: $61,700; maximum rent: $1,543
  • Five-person income: $66,700; maximum rent: $1,668
  • Six-person income: $71,650; maximum rent: $1,791
  • Seven-person income: $76,600; maximum rent: $1,915
  • Eight-person income: $81,500; maximum rent: $2,038

Source: Maryland Energy Administration

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