Solar co-op brings power to the people; PWSA water main replacement on Hazelwood Ave will disrupt traffic through July

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

March community meeting highlights

Hazelwood Initiative is a community development corporation and a registered community organization. Monthly meetings are open to the public; meeting highlights are published as a service to the community. Hazelwood Initiative does not profit or receive any compensation from the organizations and links here.

By Juliet Martinez

Hazelwood Initiative, City of Bridges Community Land Trust, and Solar United Neighbors have teamed up to help homeowners in Greater Hazelwood lower their energy costs through a new affordable solar co-op. At Hazelwood Initiative’s March community meeting, Henry McKay of Solar United Neighbors explained that lower-income households in Allegheny County have the sixth highest energy burden in the country. They spend an average of 6% of their household income on heat and light. The energy burden of low-income households in Greater Hazelwood is closer to 20%. The national average is 3.5%. Going solar can help a lot.

Anyone in Allegheny County can join the co-op to get cheaper rooftop solar panels. The more people who join, the lower the cost will be for each household. This will make cooperative buying, a much cheaper way to go solar, available to residents of Hazelwood. Low-income families in Hazelwood can even apply to get free rooftop solar panels and installation.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2Xya1D_0evXJeiI00
Net metering means households use electricity from the grid when they need to and sell energy back to the grid when they have extra.Image courtesy of Solar United Neighbors

To learn more about the solar co-op, sign up for an info session, or join, visit www.solarunitedneighbors.org/allegheny

Join the Allegheny County SUN Volunteer Meeting
Tuesday April 5 @ 7-8PM

To donate or help raise money to support more free solar installations, visit www.solarunitedneighbors.org/hazelwood

Any questions? Email PAteam@solarunitedneighbors.org

Note: LIHEAP recipients may not save on electricity with solar panels. Homeowners with a roof over 10 years old run the risk of having to have solar panels removed and reinstalled when the roof needs replacing.

PWSA Hazelwood Avenue water main replacement

PWSA representatives laid out the plan for water main replacement on Hazelwood Avenue between Bigelow and Sylvan avenues. In addition to installing a new, larger diameter main water service line, they will replace old public lead service lines as well as private lead service lines. Lead can leach from pipes into the water cause lead poisoning. Installing non-lead pipes will improve water quality. 

Preparation for the replacement began on March 14. The work is expected to last about 16 weeks, ending in mid-July. Once trenching begins, Hazelwood Avenue will be restricted to one lane from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. Flaggers will manage traffic during the work day.

If your private water service line is lead, PWSA will replace it at no cost to you. PWSA sent out information packets to the affected residents; if you have not received yours, please contact Mora McLaughlin, Construction Communications Project Manager at Mmclaughlin@pgh2o.com or 412-689-4137.

Important: If you do not sign the agreement to have your line replaced, YOUR WATER WILL BE SHUT OFF. Partial line replacement will temporarily elevate the lead levels in your water and this is considered a public health hazard.

The contractors will disrupt your property as little as possible and do a trenchless pipe replacement if at all possible. However, the homeowner or a representative must be present for the work. If they must dig a trench, they will backfill it, but not replace landscaping, retaining walls or other ground they disturbed. 

PWSA enhanced customer assistance programs

Go to https://pgh2o.com/residential-commercial-customers/customer-assistance-programs for full information.

Bill discount program
Eligible households are at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

  • Eliminates all fixed charges and 85% of the storm water fee from your bill
  • Half off your water usage rates
  • $30 monthly credit to reduce past due balances
  • Your water will never be shut off in the winter

Hardship grant
Provides cash grants up to $300 per year for customers at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. Grants are now available to PWSA’s sewage-only customers to apply to past due wastewater charges. Go to https://pgh2o.com/residential-commercial-customers/customer-assistance-programs/hardship-grant-program for more information. 

ALCOSAN clean water
Grant of $40 every three months towards your water bill. For more information, visit https://www.alcosan.org/our-customers/bill-pay-assistance. Apply at https://www.dollarenergy.org/.

Find more assistance programs in the RESOURCES section of the print Homepage edition on pages 3-4.

Redistricting update

Khalif Ali, executive director of Pennsylvania Common Cause, spoke about the redistricting process and the current status of redistricting.
The purpose of redistricting is to adjust the district boundaries so their populations are about even. This happens after each census. The Voting Rights Act requires districts to be drawn in such a way that minority communities are together so their voices can be heard. Editor’s note: The state supreme court ruled in favor of the new redistricting map for Pennsylvania on March 16. Contact kali@commoncause.org with questions. 

Come to the next community meeting on April 12 from 6-8 p.m.

Register in advance at https://bit.ly/2SwPr9k to receive the Zoom link.

CALL IN TO LISTEN: (646) 558-8656 Meeting ID: 853 9182 9343 Passcode: 796212

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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