NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The 200th person in Nashville was recognized today as their home was the most recent to undergo weatherization upgrades, providing their home with energy-efficient upgrades to help save on their utility bill.

The mayor's office, TVA and NES came together a year ago to start the initiative called the Home Energy Uplift Program. In just 18 months, 200 homes in Nashville got improvements, providing comfortable living that improves quality of life, health and well being.
 
The 200th honor went to Frank Offutt, who has lived in the same house on Rowan drive in North Nashville for over 40 years. His parents built the home in the 1970's.  They’ve since passed away, but Offutt says he’s so thankful to be carrying on his parents dream of being homeowners all thanks to the Energy Uplift Program allowing him to now be able to afford his utility bill. 

"I know right now my mom and dad are in heaven smiling down because they’re dream is still going on," says Offutt. "So thank you to everybody that played a part."

Decosta Jenkins, President and CEO of Nashville Electric Service, says this program is helping limited income families be able to spend money on things they need, instead of wasting extra dollars on their energy bills due natural home deterioration over the years.  "You have different categories of people needing help. These are people have a high energy consumption, so they pay more of their income toward their energy bill, so they can’t buy food and other things," says Jenkins. "So what this does, is instead of paying for high energy bills, they can spend their money on things that are important to them."
 
On average, these recipients save about 25% a month in their utility bill. The first person in this program saved $130 on her bill from January 2019 compared to January 2018. 
 
The program is still relatively new, but all parties involved want to see it continue. Mayor David Briley says he wants to find ways to keep funding the program to help even more people next year. 
 
The Tennessee Valley Authority also plays a big role in the program. The TVA President and CEO, Josh Lyash, spoke at the press conference on Rowan Drive saying this is just the beginning. "This is number 200 here but it’s not the last. I hope we do thousands of homes over the coming years."

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Reporter/Meteorologist

Melanie Layden has been the News4 traffic anchor since May 2015. She also fills in as a meteorologist after completing course work at Mississippi State University. She also covers traffic issues for News4.

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