AUGUSTA — Maine’s recent effort to insulate homes is drawing praise from the federal government.

Assistant U.S. Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi says Maine is one of the country’s weatherization leaders, and has now weatherized more than 30 percent of its total targeted homes. The announcement came during a conference call Thursday with Gov. John Baldacci.

With federal stimulus funds, Maine weatherized 1,582 low-income homes as of the end of April. Officials say that saves families occupying those homes an average of $437 per year on their energy bills.

Baldacci says the weatherization assistance program has also created more than 160 jobs throughout the state.

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