Council discusses energy program

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

January 13, 2014

A possible project designed to save the residents of Benham money on energy costs was discussed during a Benham City Council meeting Thursday.

City manager Roy Silver advised the board about the idea.

“Some of us for years have been working on a way to save the residents of the city money on their utility bills,” said Silver.

Silver said the Christian Outreach for Appalachian People (COAP), Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) and Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) are among the groups involved in the project.

“Kentucky has the fourth lowest utility rates in the nation, but we have one of the highest per household usages because we have an old housing stock,” said Silver. “Most of the electricity we use goes out the windows or the cracks in the foundations and walls.”

Silver said participation would be on a voluntary basis.

“No one’s going to be forced to do any of this,” said Silver. “Everyone gets a choice. “

According to Silver, residents desiring to take part in the program would receive a low interest loan to do energy saving repairs on their homes. This loan would be paid back by adding the payment to their utility bill.

Silver said the overall bill would be less than what residents are currently paying.

Silver also mentioned this project could create some jobs due to COAP subcontracting out some of the work.

Members of council and the power board can attend a meeting Feb. 13 which will explain the program in detail, said Silver.

“Then we’re going to set a town hall meeting for March at the theater. In addition to doing another presentation to share with people in town what going on, they are raising money now to give insulated blankets to put around your hot water heater, aerators for faucets and a new shower head to reduce hot water usage,” said Silver. “And that will be given out free.”

Council member David Kidwell said the program would be useful for those living in old houses that had not been upgraded to save energy.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitasmedia.com