Window air conditioner exchange starts Monday

Saturday, May 30, 2009 | 4:27 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Qualifying customers can exchange their old window air conditions for new ones Monday as part of a city effort to provide effective cooling for residents and control cooling costs.

From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, customers can bring older, less efficient or broken window units to Central Missouri Community Action at 400 Wilkes Blvd. and exchange it for a new unit.

Columbia Water & Light and Central Missouri Community Action have been providing around 100 efficient window air conditioners to residents each summer since 2006, said Connie Kacprowicz, a utility services specialist with Columbia Water & Light.

The community group uses poverty level distinctions to determine customers' need. To qualify for the exchange, customers must be current city of Columbia electric customers and have an annual income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that means gross income must be less than $44,100.  

First priority is given to those 65 years of age or older, receiving income for a disability, or those with children age 5 or younger living in the household.  

“As the economy has gotten worse, more and more people are asking for utility assistance,” Kacprowicz said. “The newer air conditioners help keep utilities down. This means that they won’t need to ask for as much money.”  

The new units will help recipients control cooling costs, conserve energy and prevent health issues, Kacprowicz said.  

“We know the new units are a lot more effective,” Kacprowicz said. “Units that are brought in are very old, and very inefficient.”

There are only 100 units to exchange, so people are encouraged to show up early. Those unable to bring in the older unit to exchange can contact the CMCA-Boone County Family Resource Center at 443-8731.  

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