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Saving pennies on energy

Low-income residents of Butler County may soon be receiving help in lowering their home energy bills.

Governor Bob Riley recently awarded $69,043 to the Organized Community Action Program (OCAP) in Troy to support their weatherization program.

The funds will be used to make home improvements such as sealing air leaks, repairing and replacing windows, installing insulation, patching small areas in roofs and repairing and replacing doors.

To be eligible to receive assistance, an applicant's gross income must not exceed 100 percent of the established poverty level for the state, said OCAP county coordinator Joann Bonner.

Because the program serves seven Alabama counties, including Bullock, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Lowndes and Pike, Bonner said she does not yet know how much money Butler County will receive or when it will be available.

&uot;It could be tomorrow, it could be next week or it could be a month from now,&uot; Bonner said. &uot;Also, the moneys will be more heavily distributed to the neediest areas.&uot;

She also said that once Butler County receives the funding, it will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

However, applications cannot be taken until the funding comes in, Bonner said.

&uot;It would be like trying to write a check with no money in the bank,&uot; she said. &uot;The check would just bounce.&uot;

How much each applicant receives will be determined on factors such as household size, fuel type used in the house and income.

For example, Bonner said, a one-person household earning $0-$137 each year would be eligible to receive $107 to help with their electric costs. A one-person household earning $308-$615 each year could receive $140. A one-person household earning $616-$923 each year can receive $110. One person earning more than $923 annually cannot be eligible for the grant.

&uot;The main issue is you must be income qualified,&uot; Bonner said.

If a person has already been assisted this summer by OCAP, he or she is not qualified to receive this most recent funding, Bonner said, because the eligibility policy is one application per household per year.

For more information, contact Butler County OCAP at 382-2351.