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Posted on Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Washtenaw County Test and Tune program offers free repairs and upgrades to qualifying households

By Angela Smith

Whether you're into having an energy-efficient home to save money or conserve resources, there are many options.

There are a number of rebates and grants available for diagnosing and improving home energy usage. In Washtenaw County, DTE Energy customers can use Test and Tune, a program designed to reduce energy costs for income-eligible residents.


Shower heads are among items that would be assessed.

Jeff Ridsdale, Washtenaw County’s Residential Energy Efficiency Assistance Program Director, says that funding and time are both limited, but he is hoping to sign up a minimum of 80 families before the Test and Tune program deadline Dec.14.

Ridsdale says that the program already has attracted 40 to 50 applicants, and that he is looking for ways to seek out more eligible homes to service. Ridsdale explains that many retirees and young families should qualify for the program.

Think you may qualify? Here’s the program’s eligibility criteria:

  • Must be a DTE customer
  • Must have a furnace or boiler specific to your residence (this could be a rental home, but only those operating as single-unit homes will qualify).
  • Must live in Washtenaw County
  • Must meet the following income threshold: family of 1/ $45,000; family of 2/ $52,000; family of 3/ $58,500; family of 4/ $65,000; family of 5/ $70,200; family of 6/ $75,400; family of 7/ $80,600; family of 8/ $85,800.

The free service uses licensed contractors to assess, repair or replace items in your home with more energy efficient ones. Refrigerators, shower heads, lightbulbs and furnaces are all items that will be assessed and could be repaired or replaced free of charge through this program.

The program is designed to utilize DTE’s Energy Optimization Fund. DTE has that money earmarked to spend on various methods to boost energy efficiency, according to Ridsdale. Throughout Washtenaw County, eligible residents can call to schedule a free energy assessment, and that will provide energy efficient measures and repairs. The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development can be reached at 734-622-9025, or on the web at .

Angela Smith is a freelance reporter for


ian g

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

If I made a little bit less money, I would qualify for so many free things that I would probably end up with a greater gross income after all the government perks. I'll have to consider requesting a pay reduction from my employer... Socialism for the loss!


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

I don't know why folks are voting down ian g's post, which states an unfortunate truth. I recently reviewed a chart from Pennsylvania, which I presume is similar to Michigan, which plotted total income from salary and benefits as a function of base earned income. It was clear from the diagram that all programs were means-tested and dropped to zero benefits when certain income thresholds were reached. The diagram showed that a single mother whose earned income was limited to $29,000 could end up with a total in income and benefits of $57,327. The total dropped off quickly once income exceeded $29,000, and didn't reach the total of $57,327 until the individual was earning $69,000, at which point after-tax income would be $57,045. In other words, if a single mother wants to maximum here total income (earned income plus welfare benefits), if she is going to earn more than $29,000, she had better earn at least $69,000 or end up with less in her family's pocket by earning between $29K and $69K. This is an example of the perverse unintended consequences of layering means-tested social benefit programs on individuals!


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

buildergirl, it is actually a program required by the government that DTE has to offer. It is not voluntary on their part.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

It's a program by DTE, not the government. If they want to help some of their customers have a more efficient home, that is their business, literally.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

You are a real human being.

Angela Smith

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

Thank you for the comments, the link has been repaired.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

The link in the story is broken, but the web page address is correct. If you copy and past it into your browser you will get the correct page.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

yes. you are right, the link... . does not work.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

The link doesn't work.