Lenoir, North Carolina – Lower energy bills through making energy efficiency improvements will be easier for low income families in Watauga County, thanks to an Impact Grant to WAMY Community Action Inc. (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties) from the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation.
The Members Foundation Advisory Committee, made up of volunteer member representatives, review grant applications that can make a significant impact on the quality of life in local communities served by the cooperative. Funds come from donations to the cooperative’s Operation Round Up programs, where every penny goes back to local communities for crisis heating assistance and quality of life improvement programs.
WAMY, who will administer the funds and select recipients, applied for and received the grant to:
- Purchase health and safety materials such as LED bulbs, CO2 monitors and water heating jackets. Cost savings through bulk purchase will allow WAMY to assist more clients.
- Provide assistance to families who desperately need repair or replacement of their current heating systems, but may not qualify for the federal heating program.
- Provide education and outreach to the general community about the importance of weatherization and conservation of energy resources through the purchase and distribution of energy savings kits.
According to Alan Merck, Blue Ridge Electric’s director of Innovative Energy Solutions, Blue Ridge Electric shares WAMY’s goal to help weatherize homes and improve energy efficiency. In fact Blue Ridge Electric has recently introduced several new programs to help members including our Energy Star appliance rebate program and Energy Saver Loan program which allows members to borrow up to $7,500 for qualifying home energy efficiency improvements and pay the loan back over several years on their electric bill.
According to WAMY, most low income families the agency helps with energy efficiency save an average of 35 percent on their heating costs. “This is money that they can then use for groceries, prescriptions and other basic needs,” said Melissa Soto, Executive Director at WAMY. “Thanks to funding from the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation, we can now help more low-income families enjoy significant savings each month and their homes will be safer and healthier. Together, we’re having a much larger impact on our communities.”
The Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation was formed in 2006 to expand the commitment to help local communities served by Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, which serves some 74,000 members in Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Caldwell, Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties. The Foundation operates on donations from members and the cooperative’s subsidiaries to Operation Round Up and Operation Round Up Plus: programs that allow members to round up their electric bill by a few cents or as much as they like on their monthly electric bill. Every penny is used to go directly back to local communities for crisis heating assistance and community impact grants for improving quality of life. To learn more, visit BlueRidgeEMC.com.
photo, l to r: Jason Lingle, Blue Ridge Electric Energy Solutions Manager; Melissa Soto, Executive Director of WAMY; and Andre Largente, WAMY Weatherization Coordinator.