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USDA grant to help Pioneer customers

Some local Lowndes County residents may soon see relief in their power bills each month.
It was recently announced that Pioneer Electric Cooperative has received a grant for $792,000 from the USDA to assist low-income residents.
The grant will allow about 100 people to receive home weatherization upgrades to assist with heating and cooling costs.
This is the second grant awarded to Pioneer Electric to help target low-income areas and retrofit homes with heat pumps, new ductwork, additional insulation, storm windows and other forms of weatherization.
The first grant totaled $856,000 and reached 127 homes over a three-year period — 27 more homes than the grant’s original goal.
“This is a continuation of the consistent improvements we are making to Lowndes County,” said Congressman Bobby Bright. “This grant will help people who need it the most.”
Part of the project’s goal is to replace 100 central electric furnaces and address health and living conditions, according to a press release.
Since the first grant was awarded to Pioneer, more than 175 homes have been retrofitted which have resulted in a 40-50-percent savings for those PEC customers.
“We need to improve the quality of life for people in Alabama,” said State Director Ronald Davis of USDA Rural Development. “We are doing some good in a lot of places for a lot of people.”
Pioneer Electric services nearly 13,000 members across the Black Belt region and was the only cooperative in the nation to receive the USDA grant.