For years, Irma Vargas’ family of four struggled to pay the high utility bills that come with living on the north shore of the Salton Sea in Mecca while still maintaining a comfortable and healthy home for their children. The family’s limited income made the $400 per month bill nearly impossible during the summer months when temperatures can exceed 110°F in their Riverside County community.
Relief finally came when the La Cooperativa Campesina de California approved their application for energy efficiency services. La Cooperativa is a regional administrator for the Department of Community Services and Development's (CSD) Low-income Weatherization Program (LIWP), which is funded by Cap-and-Trade dollars.
An assessment of the Vargas home uncovered the need for a number of improvements to help reduce the family’s utility bill through improved energy efficiency, ultimately increasing their disposable income.
The Vargas’ also qualified for a rooftop solar PV system and received a new high efficiency heating and air conditioning system, window replacements, LED light bulbs, power strips and low-flow shower heads among other improvements.
Overall, Irma is very happy with the improvements, which are expected to lower the family’s utility bill by approximately 75 percent.
"I’m extremely excited and grateful to the State for providing this program,” she told La Cooperativa. “(It) allows us to feel safer and more comfortable in our home with services we would not be able to afford ourselves.”