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Program offers help cutting power bills

The CAP Agency, in partnership with four local utilities, is seeking clients for the Conservation Improvement Program. The program, which is primarily administered during the summer months, is funded by the clients' utility providers. The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption, thereby reducing energy bills.

To be eligible an applicant cannot have an annual income of more than $21,695 for a one-person household, $29,140 for a two-person household, $36,620 for a three-person household or $44,100 for a four-person household. For further income restrictions, contact program administrators.

During the home audit, customers accompany an energy auditor who reviews appliances being used in the home as well as recent energy bills. Clients are educated on energy conservation practices, such as using compact fluorescent bulbs, proper appliance maintenance and using water flow restrictors. Energy auditors will also complete installation of some of these devices.

In addition, a central air-conditioning tune-up may be performed. The appliance replacement program provides homeowners with new, Energy-Star appliances at a reduced cost, with the utilities funding the remaining cost. Arrangements are made for delivery and installation of the new appliance, as well as removal of the old appliance. Appliances under the program include refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, microwaves and window or wall air conditioners, with specific items and costs varying depending on the utility. Audits are conducted by local contractors and appliances are purchased from local companies, thus returning dollars into the local economy.

Potential clients can contact the CAP Agency at 952-402-9874 and provide their name, address and utility company. Homeowners who have not yet applied for energy assistance should call the energy assistance department first to get qualified for the program, at 952-322-3500. They will then be contacted to review qualifications before the energy review can be scheduled.