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U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced a $63.8 million allocation to allow the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources to stand up new home energy rebate programs included in Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. 

The Inflation Reduction Act was passed by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Biden in August, according to a press release sent on behalf of the delegation.

“Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, $63.8 million in energy savings and financial relief is coming soon to Rhode Island households.  We passed the Inflation Reduction Act to benefit utility ratepayers, both in terms of their pocketbooks and in terms of improved air quality and reduced emissions.  This is a smart investment in improving energy efficiency, reducing waste, and helping people save with residential energy rebates,” said Senator Reed in a statement.

According to the press release, the home energy performance-based, whole-house rebate program will support energy efficiency retrofits in single-family and multi-family homes.  That includes rebates of up to $2,000 for retrofits that reduce energy use by 20 percent or more, and up to $4,000 for retrofits saving 35 percent or more.  The maximum rebate doubles for home retrofits for low- and moderate-income families. 

“Our landmark Inflation Reduction Act was packed with opportunities for Rhode Island families to save money on their energy bills.  These rebate programs will help homeowners cover the costs of energy-efficient home improvements and upgrades to new, greener electric home appliances.  That’s a win-win for families and our environment,” said Senator Whitehouse in a statement, who was an original co-sponsor of the Zero-Emission Homes Act which shaped the high-efficiency electric home rebate program.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $9 billion in funding allocations for states and Tribes under new state- and Tribe-administered home efficiency programs established by the Inflation Reduction Act.  The new rebate program funding could allow up to 1.6 million households nationwide to upgrade homes and apartments to lower energy bills.  The rebate programs will incentivize the installation of up to 500,000 heat pumps and improve insulation and ventilation systems, among other upgrades.

“My colleagues and I passed the Inflation Reduction Act because we wanted to put money back in the pockets of Rhode Islanders, while also making strategic investments in the health of our planet.  This program does exactly that,” said Rep. Langevin in a statement.  “I’m thrilled that this federal funding will make it more affordable for Rhode Islanders to upgrade their homes and provide a greener way for them to heat their homes this winter.”

The high-efficiency electric home rebate program will provide Rhode Island families rebates to upgrade from fossil fuel-powered appliances to cleaner, more efficient electric appliances, according to the release.  The program reportedly includes a $14,000 cap per household, with an $8,000 cap for heat pump costs, $1,750 for a heat pump water heater, and $4,000 for panel or service upgrades.  Other eligible appliances and services include electric stoves, ovens, and clothes dryers, and insulation and air sealing measures. 

“As we look to build a more energy-efficient country, I remain focused on how we can use new technologies to help Rhode Islanders lower everyday costs,” said Congressman Cicilline in a statement.  “These home energy rebate programs are a forward-thinking, long-term solution to help Rhode Islanders bring their energy costs down and keep them down.  This $63.8 million from the Inflation Reduction Act is an investment in our families, our economy, and our green future.”

Rhode Island’s Office of Energy Resources can now start planning to stand up these programs.  From November through January, the U.S. Department of Energy will host a series of listening sessions on the new consumer rebate programs, direct engagement with states, Tribes, labor, industry, and other stakeholders.  The Department anticipates that the funding for Rhode Island will be available by Spring 2023, and the rebates will be offered to the public later next year. 

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...