PREP YOUR HOME FOR THE SUMMER HEAT!
As we begin to transition into our “new normal” amid this COVID-19 pandemic, and Louisiana begins to open back up, we want to offer you our continued thoughts and prayers that you remain safe. Since we are all spending more time in our homes, we are sharing these tips to keep your home cool and more energy efficient during the hot summer months ahead:
Use Your Windows to Gain Cool Air and Keep Out Heat
- On cooler nights, turn off your cooling system and open your windows.
- Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows.
Keep Your Cooling System Running Efficiently
- Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment and replace filters.
- Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
Don’t Inadvertently Heat Your Home with Appliances and Lighting
- On hot days, avoid using the oven if possible.
- Install efficient LED lighting that runs cooler.
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air-drying dishes and clothing.
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, dishwasher, hair dryers or televisions.
Lower Your Water Heating Costs Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
Get More EE Tips for Your Home
The State of Disconnections and Late Fees
Where you live in the state dictates shutoff and late-fee policies for your utilities. For example, If you live in Baton Rouge or Shreveport or most of Louisiana, your utilities are regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission, which has extended disconnections during the COVID-19 crisis until the state enters “Phase 2” according to the “Opening Up America” plan. In addition, these utilities may not charge late fees for balances incurred during the moratorium. Even co-operative utilities must follow these guidelines.
If you live in New Orleans, Entergy has committed to no shut offs for inability to pay through May 31. However, if you live in New Orleans and you are accruing balances on your account because you cannot pay, you MUST contact Entergy to ask them to waive your late fees, otherwise those additional costs will be added to your bills. The utility has also announced they will offer payment plans to help customers pay down over-due balances.
If you live in a city like Lafayette, which provides electricity and other utilities through a municipal agency, it is up to that agency to decide on disconnections and late fee waivers. We contacted every municipal utility in the state, and most of them are working with residents to make sure the lights stay on. We encourage you to reach out to your utility if you cannot pay your bill to ask for a plan. If you have difficulty, contact the Alliance for Affordable Energy for help.
We are working with decision makers across the state to come up with plans to help manage utility bills when disconnection moratoria are lifted to make sure residents don’t face a wall of unmanageable bills and shutoffs in the heat of the summer.
ACHIEVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR ALL RENTERS
Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) connects climate, health, and equity by bringing energy efficiency to affordable housing. More than 200,000 renters have benefitted from energy efficiency to date because of the advocacy of EEFA partners.
We are pleased to share this new video showcasing EEFA’s mission and how EEFA builds power to change policies and practices that have inhibited access to energy-efficient, affordable multifamily housing.
Funding that CARES about Housing
HousingNOLA released the 2020 Semi-Annual Report with updated numbers prior to COVID-19, and out of 155,104 renter and homeowner households, over 80,000 were spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Across Louisiana. almost one-third of residents are cost-burdened, including 290,691 renters. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the affordable housing crisis in New Orleans and the state. People have been out of work since March and many were struggling with housing costs before losing work when Stay-Home orders were issued.
While we can’t change the past, we can do our best to ensure that the residents of Louisiana emerge from this pandemic in better shape. The state and local municipalities must use CARES Act funding to provide immediate rental and utility assistance with eviction and disconnection protections to provide residents sense of stability and security following COVID-19. Residential and commercial mortgage payments must be deferred until the end of the loan to protect homeowners and small landlords. Additionally, there are homeless and housing insecure residents that don’t have a safe home to shelter in place.
CARES Funding for Louisiana and New Orleans:
- $13.4M in Community Development Block Grants for Louisiana and
- $7.7M for New Orleans, which can be used to create rental assistance programs that are needed throughout the state.
- $8.6M in Emergency Grant Solutions for Louisiana and $3.8M for New Orleans, which can be used to meet the needs of homeless people in emergency or transitional shelters and help them quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.
HousingNOLA is launching a pilot program during the pandemic to house homeless and housing insecure families and opportunity youth in local short term rentals for three months. The program will also have social services to help them shelter in place while also offering them a path forward post-COVID.
Are you in need of mental health help? Looking for food assistance? Are you available to volunteer?
THIS LIST is a great community resource for those answers and much, much more.
Meetings in May
Thursday May 21, 2020 10 AM New Orleans City Council: Regular Council Meeting
Wednesday May 27, 2020 Louisiana Public Service Commission
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR ALL COALITION MEMBERS
Alliance for Affordable Energy
Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance
National Housing Trust
Natural Resources Defense Council