San Wong

The state’s three investor-owned utilities will spend half as much next year to help low-income Iowans weatherize their homes. San Wong is director of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the state agency that oversees the program. She briefed the governor this morning.

“For this next year, we anticipate there will be about a 50 percent cut based on the plan submitted by utility companies,” Wong said.

About 1,200 Iowa homeowners got help last year to make their homes more energy-efficient.

“Once they do that then, obviously, the savings they receive annually — I think the average savings is $262 — but they will realize that savings, obviously, through the life of the home,” Wong said.

Last year, according to Wong, the federal government provided about $13 million and the state’s investor-owned utilities provided nearly $6.5 million for the weatherization program. A new state law significantly lowered how much utilities may spend on energy efficiency programs. Critics argued electric customers were unaware how much of their bill was being spent on energy reduction efforts.