MILLBROOK — Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying recession swept through, many people with high energy burdens were faced with the difficult choice of cutting back on other necessities to afford their utility bills. For some, the situation has only worsened. Fortunately, programs like EmPower New York offered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) can help.

According to a recent report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), low-income households, as well as Black, Hispanic, and Native American households, spend a much larger share of their income on energy bills; two in five low-income households spend more than 10% of their income on energy costs.

EmPower New York provides home energy efficiency upgrades that address the underlying causes of energy inefficiencies which can lead to high energy burdens. Eligible upgrades include attic and wall insulation, high efficiency lighting, refrigerator and freezer replacement and solar credits (discount on electric utility bill) of $5-$15 a month that are applied to your utility account, all at no-cost! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EmPower projects are eligible for increased incentives of up to $10,000 in energy efficiency upgrades at no-cost to the resident.

Those interested in applying should contact their local Community Energy Advisors at Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County. Your advisor will work with you one-on-one to screen you for eligible programs, help you complete an application, and be your trusted guide through the entire process.

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