Stay Safe and Save Money In Winter
Heating and Weatherization Assistance Program The State offers assistance to qualified individuals/families to help with home weatherization and heating costs.
Winter Bills Ever wonder why your January bill is higher than your June bill?
Winter Safety Tips Keep safe during the winter season.
Heating Assistance Program
The State of Alaska, Division of Health and Social Services offers a heating assistance program to low income households. This program assists qualified individuals with home heating expenses. The program runs from November 1 - April 30.
For more information, go to http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/ or contact the State of Alaska Public Assistance office at:
400 Willoughby Suite 301; Juneau, AK 99801-1700
General Information Hotline: 1-888-804-6330 (option 3)
Weatherization Assistance Program
Weatherization assistance may be available to you from the Alaska Community Development Corporation. For more information, go to www.alaskacdc.org
How can weatherization help?
It reduces your household's energy consumption and your heating bills. It makes your home warmer, less drafty, and more comfortable.
What may be done to improve my home?
- Air sealing
- Storm windows and doors
- Moisture and mildew control
Will I have to pay for weatherization?
There is NO COST to qualified residents. (Landlords must authorize recommended improvements and may be asked to contribute matching funds.) Priority is given to households with seniors, individuals who experience disabilities, and/or children under 6.
How do I know if I qualify?
- If your household income meets current guidelines.
- Your home has NOT been weatherized by an agency after September 30, 1993.
- Your home is not under the control of HUD or a housing authority.
- Your home conforms to program guidelines.
- Your home may not be currently marketed for sale or rent.
- The home must be the applicant's primary residence at the time of application.
When will weatherization work be done to my home?
Work is usually performed during the construction season. Isolated communities are scheduled to be served after a minimum number of requests are received and as funding allows. Most clients receive assistance within one year after their applications are approved.
This is not an emergency response program.
How can I apply?
Applications are available at www.alaskacdc.org or
Contact the Alaska Community Development Corporation :
1517 South Industrial Way #8; Palmer, AK 99645
Phone: (907) 746-5680
Fax: (907) 746-5681
The Alaska Community Development Corporation is a non-profit organization funded through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the US Department of Energy, and the State of Alaska Department of Heal the and Social Services.
Winter Bills Can Be Higher Than Other Seasons
Many factors affect the winter billing cycles: the cost of fuel, weeks of severely cold weather and high winds, the holidays, and long nights.
Cold weather and high winds result in thermostats being turned up, vehicles plugged in, space heaters used, electric blankets turned up, bigger meals cooked, and heat tapes turned on. Longer nights, holiday lighting, parties, gatherings with friends, baking, and kids out of school all happen during this billing cycle. Each of these circumstances adds to your energy consumption, which is probably evident on your January electric and fuel bills. Check the lower portion of your bill; CVEA provides you with a twelve (12)-month history of your electric consumption.
You May Qualify for Assistance
Call the State Heating Assistance Program at 1-888-804-6330 or 1-800-470-3058 for more information.
from the Electrical Safety Foundation International
To help ensure a safe and warm heating season, many experts recommend an annual inspection and tune-up of home heating systems before temperatures begin to drop.
General Winter Safety Tips
The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following tips:
- Have your heating systems inspected by a qualified service professional at least once a year. This inspection should include lubrication and cleaning, replacing filters, a check of belts and thermostats and having vents cleared of obstructions, as necessary.
- Make sure window air conditioners do not allow cold air to sneak through or around sides, top and bottom, putting an extra strain on heating systems and adding cost for homeowners. Local hardware stores can provide covers and other easy, low-cost ways to keep that cold air out.
- Caulking around windows and other openings can stop the cold air invasion dead in its tracks. Caulking and a caulking gun from your local hardware are inexpensive and easy to use. A warmer home and lower utility bills can result.
- Use products only for their intended purposes. Hair dryers aren't intended to thaw frozen pipes, dry clothing or warm bedding.
- When using a portable electric heater, keep flammable materials - bedding, clothing, draperies, rugs and furniture - at last three feet away even if it has safety features such as cut-off switches or heating element guards.
- If you use an electric blanket to keep warm on a cold night, follow the manufacturer's instructions and make sure you turn it off and unplug it when it's not in use. Never tuck in an electrical blanket.
Holiday Season Lights
- Use only lights safety-certified by Underwriters laboratories (UL) or another recognized testing agency.
- Before plugging in any lights – old or new – check for cracked or loose sockets and connections, exposed wires, and frayed, broken or scorched insulation. Then put the lights on a nonflammable surface and plug them in for 10 or 15 minutes to check for melting, smoking or overheating. Throw away any string of lights showing flaws.
- Be careful not to overload electrical outlets. Never string more than three sets of lights on an extension cord.
- Do not string lights behind drapes or under carpets.
- Turn off the lights when leaving the house and before going to bed.
- Never put lights on a metal tree: if they malfunction, a person could get shocked by touching any part of the tree.Never use indoor lights outdoors; they aren't waterproof and could short-circuit. Always use grounded and weather-proof extension cords with outdoor lights. Don't use outdoor lights indoors; they are hotter than indoor lights.
- Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet.
- If you are using a ladder, avoid contact with overhead power lines when setting up your ladder, stringing lights, or working on the roof.
- If extension cords and light strings are connected together outdoors, keep the connections dry by wrapping them with friction tape.
- Plug all outdoor holiday lights into a special receptacle called a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This receptacle is special because it provides personal protection from electrical shocks. A GFCI receptacle will have two buttons: “test” and “reset.” If your receptacle has these, then you have a GFCI receptacle.
- Another option is to purchase an inexpensive extension cord set that has a built-in GFCI receptacle. First plug the GFCI cord set into the outdoor outlet and then plug your other extension cords and holiday lights in the GFCI cord set.
from Cooperative.com Federated Staff
When the cold winds of winter start to blow, many people turn to space heaters as a way of adding extra heat to a room. While they are a source of supplemental heat, if not used safely, they can present a safety hazard.
When purchasing a space heater, always choose a model with a guard in front of the heating device. This is an important safety feature as it keeps people from touching the hot surface. Always check that the space heater has been tested at an accredited laboratory to ensure it meets proper safety standards. Also consider the size of the space you want to heat when selecting a space heater. If the wrong size is purchased it can waste energy.
Carefully read the manufacturer's safety and operating information. Make sure everyone that will be using the space heater has read the directions as well. And, make sure the safety instructions are kept in a handy place where they can be referred to later.
It is important to remember to always turn off the space heater when not in use. When deciding where to place the space heater, make sure it is at least three feet from any flammable objects or chemicals. Also make sure nothing nearby can fall into the space heater and catch on fire. Place the space heater on a level, hard surface, never on carpet. This will keep it from tipping over and from starting a fire. In case the space heater should tip over, it is important to choose a model with a switch that will shut off the heater until it is turned upright again.
Pay attention when plugging in the heater as well. Make sure you are not plugging it in near places that may accumulate moisture. If a space heater gets wet it can become a shock hazard. Avoid using extension cords if possible with space heaters. Check that the plug fits into the outlet securely, a loose plug may overheat. If the plug feels warm, disconnect it immediately.
Space heaters are a way of driving the chill out of drafty rooms on cold winter days. However, like other electric appliances, they must be kept in good condition and used carefully to keep your family and home safe.
Snow Plow Safety
CVEA would like to remind everyone to be careful when plowing snow this winter. Watch out for CVEA facilities like guy wires, pad mount enclosures, and poles.
If you are unsure of facilities in your area, please call CVEA. We will be happy to send a crew to locate facilities for you.
If you are plowing in areas containing overhead electrical structures and equipment, there still may be underground equipment in the area. If you are unsure, call CVEA to request a locate.
If you are plowing in areas containing overhead electrical structures and equipment, you need to maintain a minimum of 10' clearance between the highest point of your equipment and the lowest electrical equipment. If you are unsure of the distances or would like a safety assessment, please call CVEA for assistance in determining the potential safety issue.
If you hit any CVEA equipment while removing snow, do not approach the equipment to assess the damage. Immediately call CVEA so that we can dispatch someone to assess the damage.
CVEA attempts to maintain snow markers on all underground equipment but cannot assure that the markers have not been damaged due to actions by others. Damage done to electrical facilities during snow removal will be charged to the plow operator.
Do not push snow against or pile snow on top of any electrical equipment. The force of the moving snow may cause damage to the equipment and create electrical hazards. Also, the reliability of the electric system is compromised because of the barrier created by the snow pile when access becomes necessary.
Watch the trees around your home for snow loading conditions. As the snow accumulates, trees tend to lean. If you have trees that are beginning to lean towards your power lines, please call CVEA as soon as possible.