A $438 light bill? Our members in JoCo launch campaign to address energy efficiency in our homes.

A four hundred and thirty-eight dollar light bill?  


Yes, sir. That’s the kind of bill that poor and working folks in Johnston County often pay. “I can’t make the math work on my income,” explains a local preschool teacher. “It can’t make it all add up.” 


When our Johnston County chapter launched their campaign to address the high costs of climate change, local residents were invited to bring their largest recent electrical bill to the campaign launch. Even though $438 was high, everyone in the room said they’d had at least one bill like that.  “One high bill can really set you back,” explained a local dad. 


As North Carolina’s summers get hotter and the weather more extreme, these high bills are not rare. That’s why the local chapter is asking the Johnston County Commission to apply for federal funding and help local residents in making our homes more energy efficient.


“Inflation Reduction Act funds are here right now in North Carolina,” explains Jennifer Eison, Down Home’s climate campaigner. “What this means is that right now North Carolina is set up to receive 156 million dollars; what that means is all kinds of ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Whether that is solarizing community buildings, doing better transportation options so there are less fumes in the air… these are incredible opportunities to do transformational change in our communities.” 


Eison adds, “There are so many opportunities on a large scale, but on the individual level there are funds available for individuals to solarize their homes, to replace old appliances with more efficient ones.” 


It is those funds that Johnston County’s new campaign focuses on. Weatherize, Energize, Economize JoCo (WEE are JoCo!) aims to get the Johnston County Commission to apply for the available federal funds as well as hire an Energy Navigator who will help local residents use the funds to update and improve the energy efficiency of our homes.

“Do you have a window AC?” asks Alexis Jones. “This is a seal that goes around it to keep it airtight.” She hands the woman a long foam strip with adhesive on one end. The woman inspects it and nods.

Behind Alexis are other items: Energy-saving light bulbs, rubber window seals, and outlet sealers. They are all part of the weatherization kits our members in Johnston County were giving out at their campaign launch in Smithfield.

“Johnston County is changing and growing, says Down Home’s local organizer, Liz Lynn. “And we have an opportunity right now to become leaders in the state on this. We’ve done our research, we’ve met with County Commissioners and we are ready to organizer for a win!”

Interested in this campaign? Contact the local chapter here.