Since 1982, Kershaw Area Resource Exchange (KARE) has served the Kershaw area communities. A major area of need is high utility bills. Improving home efficiency is the first step in insuring bills are kept under control. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unable to take the necessary steps to make their homes more efficient. That's where KARE steps in. Staff works closely with residents to determine which services are the best fit.
In 2019, KARE partnered with Duke Energy’s Income-Qualified Weatherization Program. This program reduces energy consumption for Duke Energy Carolinas customers by directly installing energy-efficient measures and providing education on energy efficiency. The goal of the program is to provide comprehensive weatherization/efficiency measures to the greatest number of customers in the Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) service territory. Duke Energy provides a portion of the funding for income-qualified customers with energy efficiency in the following areas: Weatherization, Refrigerator Replacement, and HVAC system upgrades/replacements. To date, KARE has provided weatherization services for 171 households in Lancaster County and more than $659,000 in products and upgrades. KARE Executive Director Angie Neal shared, “We see a lot of clients needing help to pay high utility bills during the summer/winter weather extremes. We wanted to make a huge impact that would lower costs and save clients money for years to come.” Several clients have received assistance on multiple levels.
When asked why KARE made the decision to pursue this program, Neal said, “Most of the customers that we service are senior citizens, widows, disabled adults, and single parents that are truly in the most need. Most have lived without air conditioning and adequate heat for a significant amount of time. To be able to offer such an amazing program to help these families is more of a blessing for us than anything. These clients are so grateful. What is the icing on the cake, so to speak, is that these upgrades also lower their power bills.”
Currently, KARE can only work with Lancaster County Duke Energy Carolinas customers. Duke Energy Progress may be following suit and if that happens, more areas will be affected. Expansion of programs is a priority to KARE as staff continuously searches for new ways to serve the public. For more information on the program, visit www.kershawkare.org/home-repair or call 803-475-4173.