MILFORD — For Milford resident Ruth Seymour, one gift arrived early this year. Ruth volunteers in the kitchen of the Milford Senior Center, a center serving the specialized needs of Milford’s senior population. It was there where she learned about a program, provided by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, from another volunteer. Ruth soon took advantage of this program to benefit her home, the way it uses energy and to lower her energy bill.

Just before the arrival of the holiday season, Ruth placed the call and learned that she qualified for the Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) program, a free service for income-eligible residents that provides valuable weatherization measures to help renters and homeowners reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Because Ruth is a Connecticut senior living on a limited income, she was eligible for the program.

Working with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, The United Illuminating Company contracted EnergyPRZ to perform the comprehensive energy assessment at Ruth’s 38-year-old raised ranch. Through the program, the contractors evaluated the heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, windows, duct work and appliances. A safety check of CO2 levels in Ruth’s furnace and chimney was also conducted.

“The contractor fixed the air leaks where I was wasting energy and replaced my old light bulbs with new, energy-efficient bulbs, and that’s just the beginning,” Ruth said. “I truly felt safe with them in my home, and the contractor was professional and explained every part of the service as it was being done.”

She added that the technicians at EnergyPRZ told her that the difference would show, and it did. “I trusted them to do the work, and my energy bill has gone down quite a bit.”

That’s because the leaky doorways, drafty windows, and older, inefficient appliances found in Ruth’s home tend to be some of the biggest sources of wasted energy in many homes, adding up to higher energy bills.

In addition, Ruth’s residence was evaluated to determine whether or not the attic insulation was inefficient and appliances were eligible for upgrades to ENERGY STAR®-certified replacements. She qualified and therefore received insulation upgrades in her attic along with a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator and chest freezer.

“On a low income, upgrading your appliances to be more energy-efficient is a lot of money to put out, but this program helped me to do it,” Ruth commented. “I’m really surprised that other residents aren’t participating in the program as much as they should be. I’ve already explained the program to other seniors at the Milford Senior Center, and they have made the call.”

The HES-Income Eligible program is based on family size and gross annual income.

To see if you qualify for the HES-IE program, please call 1-877-WISE-USE, and you, too, can learn that energy efficiency is a gift that keeps on giving all year-round like Ruth Seymour has.

“There are no words that can express my gratitude for this program. Christmas definitely came early for me.”