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City can give money for energy efficient improvements
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Covington residents are eligible for numerous rebates to help make their homes more energy efficient:

Residential Heating and Air Units – rebate will cover 10 percent of cost if contractor is not-Newton based; 25 percent of cost if contractor is in Newton; up to $2,200 either way

Appliances – 10 percent of cost if purchased outside Newton; 25 percent of cost if bought in Newton; up to $1,800

Hot water heaters – 50 percent of cost

Air conditioners – 50 percent of cost

Energy audit – 50 percent of cost

Weatherization (air and duct sealing, insulation, etc.) – 50 percent of cost up to $2,500

Water heater blankets – 50 percent of cost

The temperatures have been extreme these past couple years — summer and winter — and utility bills have risen to match.

Residents can lower bills by putting in more insulation, getting energy efficient appliances and installing new heating and air conditioning units.  But it takes money to save money, and a lot of residents can’t afford to pay the up-front costs needed to have long-term savings.

Well, the city of Covington can help.

Any Covington utility customers who own their own home or small business owners can make some of these improvements at a discount and without any upfront money.

The city has $116,501 available in rebates, which can be used for heating and air units, appliances, hot water heaters, insulation, air and duct sealing and even water heater blankets. All items must be Energy Star rated where applicable.

And the city has more than $150,000 available for on-bill financing, with a maximum of $5,000 available per family.

So, a family could put in a new heating and air unit at a cost of $7,100, but get a $1,775 rebate and $5,000 of on-bill financing — leaving the family to pay only $325 up front.

On-bill financing allows residents to pay for an improvement over time through small monthly payments on their regular utility bills. The idea is that the savings from the new improvement will largely offset the additional monthly costs. On-bill financing is available to be charged over five years at 0 percent interest; the only extra cost is a $3 a month required charge.

Before rebates can be given, residents or business owners must have a home performance energy audit, but that audit itself is eligible for a 50 percent rebate. The audit helps identify which improvements would be most useful.

People of all ages and income levels can apply for the money, but they can't currently be behind on their utility payments. They only need to fill out an application from the city. Contact grant writer Randy Conner at (678) 342-3177 or

Conner said the program is especially helpful for older residents, young couples or anyone who doesn't have up-front cash available.

The city had on-bill financing money previously and awarded $76,000 the first time.

There is also an unspecified amount of on-bill financing money available through the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia.

The rebate money is from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. from the U.S. Dept.'s of Energy, while the on-bill financing comes from the Electric Cities of Georgia.