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Wittman: Stimulus can lead to lower electric bills

I haven’t had to do it yet, but I’m dreading it: the annual Turning On of the Air Conditioner.

It may not sound like a big deal, but it is because it means my electric bills are going to increase sharply.

During the all-too-brief fall and spring seasons, I always get a little spoiled. Our energy usage is low and so are our bills. But that all ends sometime in April, when we start seeing the bills climb ever upward until late September. It’s just a fact of life living in the desert.

We’ve been considering some home improvements to help with our energy efficiency, most notably weatherization. With the passage of the federal stimulus bill, now is the time to take on such projects.

What does “weatherization” mean? It means sealing any air leaks in your home and ensuring your home is properly insulated.

Thanks to the stimulus package, the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program has been expanded and a greater number of homes can qualify. Program participants receive a professional energy consultation with an energy bill analysis, a test to locate air leaks and tips on how to be more energy efficient.

Professionals then upgrade insulation, seal air leaks, and install more efficient heating and cooling systems. The stimulus bill allows up to $6,500 to be spent on each home. Your income must be no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $44,000 for a family of four) in order to qualify. Go to doe.gov to learn more.

If you earn too much to qualify for the assistance program, the stimulus package still can help you. You can get tax credits for energy efficiency improvements you make to your home, up to $1,500.

To learn more about these programs and how to weatherize your home, visit the Alliance to Save Energy at ase.org. The Arizona Energy Office also has helpful info at azcommerce.com/Energy.

• • •

On a different note, this is likely my last column for the Tucson Citizen. I’ve been writing about Web sites and business issues for nearly 12 years now and I deeply appreciate everyone who supported me over the years. So it’s with sadness that I say thank you and goodbye. – Romi

Romi Carrell Wittman is a writer and the communication services director for Trico Electric Cooperative. E-mail: romi.wittman@comcast.net.

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This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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