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Keeping Outagamie County warm all winter long

Posted at 5:04 PM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 18:21:22-05
  • Winter is approaching and the cost of heating is climbing. Outagamie and Calumet County weatherization services serve nearly 7,000 people a year.
  • They offer services like insulation, ventilation and free furnace replacements. New furnaces can cost as much as $4,000.
  • Hear from one woman who lives in Outagamie County who talks about how vital this program is for her this winter.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

It’s getting colder, which means many people are turning up the thermostat but that comes at a cost. In Outagamie County, there are resources to help low-income neighbors save on energy costs. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter with what you need to know about the weatherization assistance program.

“My bill just kept adding up and adding up and adding up,” said Ridderbush.

Jennifer Ridderbush was facing a problem like many others in our neighborhood.

“You worry about it,” said Ridderbush.

About 7000 others.

“Where's the money going to come from your paycheck to paycheck?” said Ridderbush.

That’s the number of people in Outagamie and Calumet County using energy assistance.

“I've had people who tell me their energy bills are $600 a month,” said Williams.

Steve Williams is the weatherization program manager

“I know of a couple of them that we've done that we've cut them in half. So now you're talking an extra $300 a month to pay for whatever they need,” said Williams.

The weatherization program provides people on energy assistance with all types of weather-related services all year round. But in the winter, his crews does things like install insulation, ventilation, air sealing, and in Ridderbush’s case, replace furnaces - free of charge.

“You don't realize there's that much stress until it's gone. There's no bill, no stress,” said Ridderbush.

When her 47-year-old furnace stopped working this fall, she got a new one for free, and more money in her pocket each month for necessities. Williams has seen the difference the program makes for thousands of families each year.

“We need to make sure they're safe. Make sure they have a warm place to go,” said Williams.

It’s not too late for you to apply for weatherization services.