People who hope to get a low-fee loan from the Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) to fund energy-saving projects such as windows, insulation, or a new HVAC system have just one month left to apply.
The maximum loan is $10,000, with terms up to five years. People pay a monthly service fee of $2 per $1,000 borrowed but no additional interest.
The PUD commissioners have been considering ending the 23-year-old loan program for some time because interest in the program has declined significantly in recent years, according to the PUD. The program was more popular in its first decade, according to PUD Community Relations Coordinator Sheila Corson.
At their meeting last week, the commissioners decided to accept applications until Oct. 31, an additional month from the original cut-off date. Since they announced that they were considering terminating the program, they’ve had little feedback from ratepayers, Corson said.
To qualify for a loan, the ratepayer has to have been a PUD customer for at least a year, with no past-due bills. The application requires a project proposal and estimate from a contractor.
If there is sufficient interest, the commissioners may consider revising the program in partnership with a bank or other financial institution, rather than having the PUD serve as lender.
The end of the conservation-loan program does not affect any other incentive programs through the PUD or Okanogan County Community Action Council.
Community Action still offers weatherization programs, which can assist with insulation, venting and air sealing, and energy-efficient showerheads. Both owners and renters are eligible.
Community Action conducts an energy audit and gives priority to households with children under 6, disabled persons, and people over 60. Applicants generally must meet an income threshold of 125% percent or less of the federal poverty level.
To apply for a PUD conservation loan or for more information, call (509) 422-8428.
For more information about Community Action’s weatherization program, call 1-877-641-0101.