Opinion, WVPA Sharing

Column: Tax Credits for Energy Audits

By Charlotte Lane, chair, Public Service Commission of West Virginia

I’ve talked with you in the past with suggestions to help control rising energy costs. I’m delving back into that important subject again, but with a different twist. By the way, I appreciate you taking the time to read my commentary. I hope you find what I have to say helpful.

Charlotte Lane

I’m not going to tackle the larger issue of fuel costs to energy companies. We hash those things out in what seems, even to me, to be endless rate cases filed before the Commission. Today I want to tell you how you can make your house energy healthier – if I may use that term – and get paid a little bit for doing so.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a gem of a website that has lots of good information concerning energy production and usage (https://www.energy.gov). The website urges you to allow the federal government to help pay for an energy audit of your home. 

Briefly, this means an energy specialist comes into your home and checks it. He or she then recommends what you can do to plug energy leaks, upgrade appliances, and generally make your home cozier. A professional energy audit gives you a room-by-room assessment of your energy use and energy loss.

To encourage people to do this, the U.S. government is providing a 30 percent tax credit on the cost of the audit, up to $150. To claim this credit, you simply submit IRS Form 5695 when you file your 2023 taxes. The form can be found on the IRS website (www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-5695).

Energy audits generally result in recommendations that can save you between five and 30 percent on your energy bills. I did a little more research for you, too. I learned that the cost of an energy audit seems to run anywhere from $208 to $675. On average, nationally, homeowners pay $415 for an audit, but the cost is based on the square footage of your home.

The federal government is willing to chip in approximately a third of that. So, let me just suggest you think about it. It should pay for itself in the long run.

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