Region 8 couple wins $50,000 home energy makeover

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

GASSVILLE, AR (KAIT) – A couple from Region 8 are the big winners of an energy efficient makeover from the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

Mary Quilhot and her husband Bill were awarded the prize on Friday morning at their home in Gassville.

"It really is unreal.  We would be happy to live with our energy inefficient house because who's got $50,000 to do that," said Mary Quilhot.

They had plans to make the home that has housed three generations energy efficient, but a fixed income made that work impossible.

"It has hit us.  It has made us realize what we wanted to do to the house we really couldn't do anymore," said Quilhot.

"Because of the economy we had to slow back on it, hold back on it a little and didn't get it," said Bill Quilhot.

This is the third year the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have given away this type of makeover.

"Any type of increases in their prescription costs, health care costs, fuel costs, electricity costs has a big impact," said Doug White, Vice President of System Services for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

"It's going to save a lot of money.  $172 doesn't sound like much, but it adds up pretty quick," said Bill Quilhot.

Some months their energy bill reaches $200.  It's especially difficult during the hottest summer days and the coldest winter nights.  $50,000 will change their bill, their house, and their lives.

"We're going to give them comfort and low cost heating and cooling year round," said White.

"We have the air conditioners and then we have a fan that blows it into one room because that's how I make this house work for us," said Mary Quilhot.

The Quilhot's will be getting new energy efficient appliances, an energy efficient hot water heater, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and insulated windows walls and doors.

There are also multiple winners of a free 40-gallon Marathon hot water heater.  The winners in Region 8 are:

Joe and Lorene Chavez of Corning
Ralph Brown of Jonesboro
Anita Samaniego of Newport
Neal and Lisa Grady of Forrest City

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