HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Thousands of low-income customers are getting an energy makeover thanks to Huntsville Utilities. The company won an $11.7 million grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority to help make 1,104 houses in Huntsville and Madison County more energy efficient.
"The power bill is one of the things that you look at on a day-to-day basis that takes food off the table, makes it where families have to make choices," said Mayor Tommy Battle.
Huntsville Utilities officials aggressively pursued the grant for nearly a year in order to launch the Huntsville Extreme Energy Makeovers project.
"These are the customers that just need some help, a little hand up to improve their living situation," said Huntsville Utilities spokesperson Joe Gehrdes
To qualify for the program, houses must be 20 years old or older, owner occupied and have electric heat. Ultimately, the company wants to keep the program going once the grant expires and include gas heat in the effort.
“This opportunity to reduce the energy consumption for our low-income customers gives us a chance to improve their lives,” says Huntsville Utilities CEO and President Jay Stowe. “Each day, we are looking for methods to reduce our costs, maintain low rates, and seeking innovative opportunities to better serve our community.”
Qualified applicants must also meet maximum income requirements and be Huntsville Utilities customers.
The project will focus on replacing big ticket energy suckers, like HVAC units, windows, doors and insulation.
"The goal is to make the dwelling twenty-five percent or more energy efficient," said Gehrdes.
Mayor Battle said a more energy efficient home will result in a more affordable utilities bill.
"By dropping that power bill, we're making it much more livable," he said.
The grant money is available through September 2017 and it is already being put to use on two dozen qualified houses and 72 Huntsville Housing Authority units.
"This is some thing that helps our community, helps our neighborhoods, makes our neighborhoods that much stronger," said Battle.
Huntsville is one of three cities to receive the TVA grant. The other two are Knoxville and Glasgow, Kentucky.
Huntsville Utilities will also educate its customers about ways to control their consumption through the practice of energy efficient habits.