GRU now taking LEEP applications


Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.

Are you suffering from a high electric bill, but just can't afford to make the home improvements needed to help you lower those bills? If so, you may be eligible for home improvement work completed for free through the GRU Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program, or LEEP.

Facts

GRU LEEP

* What: Applications are available for the GRU Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program.

* When: Now, until funds are exhausted.

* Where: GRU, 301 SE 4th Ave., or online at www.gru.com.

* Information: Call 352-393-1460.

Kendall Litton Jensen, a GRU spokesperson, said the goal this year is to help 150 eligible Gainesville Regional Utilities customers to get the home improvements they need to lower their electric bill, improve the comfort in their home and reduce energy use.

She said eligible participants will work with GRU to determine the improvements that best suit their home, which may include replacing central air conditioning and heating systems, servicing central air conditioning systems, replacing room air conditioners with high-efficiency units, repairing leaky ducts, installing additional insulation, replacing the water heater, installing a programmable thermostat, adding weather stripping and caulking to doors and windows and providing up to 10 compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

"We're encouraging customers to apply now so they can start saving," said Vanessa Aragon, residential efficiency coordinator at GRU. "The home improvements are free and there are no out-of-pocket expenses for the customer."

Aragon said eligible applicants must be GRU residential customers who meet certain income guidelines and own and live in a single-family dwelling built before 1993 or reside in a mobile home. Participants also cannot have received LEEP assistance in the past.

Applications are available at GRU, by mail by calling Energy & Business Services at 352-393-1460, or by visiting www.GRU.com. Go to "Lower My Bill" and click on "Save Energy: Home" then click on "Rebates and Incentives," "Other Programs" and then "Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program LEEP."

Litton Jensen said the income portion of the application must be verified by a federal, state or local assistance agency, such as the Neighborhood Housing & Development Corporation at 352-380-9119 or the Central Florida Community Action Agency at 352-373-7667.

Customers who are approved will then receive a pre-home repair inspection from a GRU representative who will provide the customer with a list of recommended improvements and a list of GRU LEEP contractors. The customer, who then chooses a contractor from the list, has 30 days to submit four itemized estimates to GRU. Once the work is done, GRU will make a home visit to inspect the repairs.

Litton Jensen said average repairs run $3,200, but can be more or less, based on the work needed.

Aragon said the process can take up to three months, from application to completion.

David Mosley of east Gainesville said it took two months from the application to completion for the work done at his home, which included replacing the air conditioning system and also the home insulation.

Mosley said he is very pleased with the work and with the courteous and professional service he received from everyone involved in his home improvement project.

"I recommend this program," Mosley said. "You'll never know if you're eligible unless you apply."

"This is a great program that will save customers money and energy," Aragon said.

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