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January 26, 2006

Gov. Blagojevich launches Keep Warm Illinois Spanish language website
Website includes important energy saving tips to help Spanish speaking families decrease their utility costs

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the new Keep Warm Illinois Spanish language website to help families more easily learn ways they can decrease on the costs of the utility bills during cold winter months.  The website mirrors its English counterpart, offering information the comprehensive Keep Warm Illinois campaign’s various no-cost and low-cost energy saving tips, a web-based tool to conduct a home energy audit, links to energy assistance programs and other resources. The Keep Warm Illinois hotline (1-877-411-WARM) continues to be available as another resource for Illinois’ Spanish- speaking residents to learn how to save energy and receive energy assistance.  
“Illinois families from every community continue to feel the costly burden of their high utility bills this winter,” Governor Blagojevich said.  “The Spanish version of the Keep Warm Illinois website will help even more households learn how they can weatherize their homes and take certain energy saving steps to help them significantly decrease their utility bills.” 
If residents follow the home weatherization recommendations found on the Keep Warm Illinois website, such as caulking windows and doors, increasing insulation in their attics, sealing electrical outlets and purchasing energy efficient appliances, they can save as much as 30 percent a year in energy costs.  The times and locations of the workshops are listed below. 
“Families can easily navigate through the new website to learn some really helpful information on resources and weatherization services,” said Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  “Governor Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign has succeeded in offering every household in this state an opportunity to save money this winter.  I encourage Illinois residents to visit the Keep Warm Illinois website (www.keepwarm.illinois.gov) and call the Keep Warm Illinois hotline (1-877-411-WARM) to learn more about what they can do to conserve energy in their homes.”
In October, Gov. Blagojevich launched the Keep Warm Illinois campaign, a multi-agency, comprehensive effort to help families reduce their heating bills by conserving energy and weatherizing their homes.  The Keep Warm Illinois campaign brings resources together from the Illinois Departments on Aging, Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Human Services (IDHS), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as well as public and private partnerships to coordinate efforts in preparing communities across the state for higher home heating costs this winter. 
This fall, the Governor also announced that Illinois’ major utility companies – Ameren, Nicor Gas, and Peoples Energy – have agreed to his request to waive reconnection fees and suspend deposit requirements for customers receiving benefits through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program to ensure that LIHEAP funding was being used directly for heating costs, not administrative add-ons.  With LIHEAP funds covering actual usage charges only, and not administrative reconnection fees and security deposits, which can add more than $400 to a bill, the state can help more low-income households with their heating costs this winter.


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