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ENERGY PROGRAM AND POLICY RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

WHO WE ARE

APPRISE is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to collecting and analyzing data and information to assess and improve public programs. Our current research includes work for federal and state governments, agencies, utility companies, and nonprofit organizations.

APPRISE conducts a wide variety of research activities to provide program administrators and stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of program design, operations, and impact. This research leads to informed recommendations for program improvement.

WHAT WE DO

APPRISE research focuses on programs that provide bill payment assistance, energy education, and energy efficiency services to low-income households; and programs that provide incentives for undertaking energy efficiency projects to residential, commercial, and industrial utility customers. The goals of bill payment assistance programs are to improve energy affordability and reduce the problems that are associated with high energy bills. The goals of usage reduction programs are to increase knowledge of energy-saving behaviors, improve energy practices, improve the energy efficiency of the home, reduce energy usage, and improve customer health and safety. The goals of other residential, commercial, and industrial energy programs are to reduce energy usage and transform the market for energy efficient products.

UPCOMING CONFERENCES

APPRISE staff members will be attending these conferences.

  • 2017 International Energy Program Evaluation Conference (IEPEC) – Baltimore, MD, August 8-10, 2017
    • APPRISE Presentation: National WAP Evaluation – Methods and Findings for Single Family Homes
      Speaker: David Carroll, APPRISE
  • 2017 Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference – Sacramento, CA, October 16-18, 2017
  • 2018 AESP National Conference – New Orleans, LA, February 19-22, 2018
  • 2018 HPC National Home Performance Conference – Philadelphia, PA, April 23-26, 2018
  • 2018 National Energy & Utility Affordability (NEUAC) Conference – Phoenix, AZ

RESEARCH AREAS

Low-Income Usage Reduction
Low-Income Bill Payment Assistance
Market Transformation

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Process Evaluation
Impact Evaluation
Data Tracking
Survey Research
Needs Assessment
Economic and Policy Analysis
Performance Measurement
Technical Assistance

CURRENT RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

Ameren introduced a pilot of a low-income payment assistance program that provides electric bill payment assistance to low-income customers. Participants receive monthly bill credits toward their electric bill and additional credits toward their arrearages. APPRISE provided an evaluation of this program in 2012 that included interviews with local agencies that conduct intake for the program, a survey of participating customers, analysis of program data, and analysis of program impacts on affordability, payment coverage, and terminations. Ameren made program modifications in response to findings from the initial evaluation. APPRISE conducted a follow-up Process and Impact Evaluation of the program in 2014 that documented the impacts of the program changes. APPRISE is currently conducting a third evaluation of this program that includes interviews with defaulted customers, analysis of program data, and analysis of the impacts of the program on affordability and bill payment. Findings from this research will be used to further refine the program.
Many low-income usage reduction programs are facing increasing challenges serving customers due to the prevalence of health and safety problems that prevent major measures from being installed.  As a result of serious issues in the home, customers must be deferred or are treated with only minor services, and high-usage customer with good potential for savings do not participate or only achieve low energy savings.  This research assesses the circumstances under which additional cost-effective health and safety spending can be invested to achieve greater savings for low-income customers and the program as a whole.
First State CAA is implementing a heating replacement and energy conservation program for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. The Repair Replace Heaters and Conserving Energy (RRHACE) program is designed to assess the needs of low-income households and to deliver a customized set of services, including heating equipment assessment and services, Healthy Homes assessment and services, and energy education. APPRISE is advising First State on the Data Tracking System and conducting Process and Impact Evaluations. The Process Evaluation will assess challenges and opportunities, and will develop performance measures to be assessed in the Impact Evaluation.
APPRISE provides program support to the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is a federally funded program to help eligible low-income households meet their home heating and cooling needs.  The LIHEAP Home Energy Notebook provides LIHEAP grantees with the latest national and regional data on home energy consumption, expenditures, and burden; low-income home energy trends; and the LIHEAP program performance measurement system.  The LIHEAP Report to Congress summarizes data collected on home energy use and households assisted under LIHEAP.  APPRISE furnishes technical support to the Division of Energy Assistance including assistance in the development of performance measurement procedures.  APPRISE is also working with The Division of Energy Assistance to develop a web-based data tool that facilitates the collection of high-quality performance measurement data for the LIHEAP program.
The Minnesota Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP) portfolios include low-income components to assist income-eligible households with energy conservation. APPRISE is conducting research through the Conservation Applied Research & Development (CARD) Grant Program to provide a comprehensive review of the low-income efficiency programs, evaluate the program processes, and assess program policies and guidelines. The goal of the research is to facilitate more effective program operations and policymaking.
APPRISE conducted national evaluations of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for program years 2008 and 2010.   In this study of New York’s WAP for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), APPRISE is using data collected from New York State to furnish detailed information on the performance of the New York WAP program.  This analysis will provide statewide statistics, results for selected subgroups, and program savings and cost-effectiveness statistics.
The NJ Comfort Partners Program provides no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income utility customers throughout the state. APPRISE last conducted a comprehensive evaluation of this program in 2013.  The 2017 evaluation will review program changes that have been made since the last evaluation, estimate energy savings with a billing analysis, review and make recommendations for changes to the Energy Saving Protocols, and conduct targeted participant telephone interviews and on-site inspections of completed jobs.
APPRISE is conducting research to characterize the low- and moderate-income populations in New York State, to estimate the impact of existing programs that target these populations, and to identify opportunities for future program outreach and targeting.  This study will analyze publically-available population, housing, and energy data; program data; and specialty data on health indicators, population mobility, and economic characteristics.  The research will provide the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) and program partners throughout the New York State government with comprehensive information that can be used to improve program models, estimate program potential, and measure program accomplishments.
APPRISE is responsible for designing and implementing several surveys to help NYSERDA assess programs and characterize the market for their programs.  The Energy Codes Program Survey with building code, design, and construction officials will help NYSERDA evaluate the impact of their energy code training and identify future training opportunities.  The R&D Demonstration in-depth interviews with R&D grant recipients are designed to identify and estimate environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness, and other program impacts.  The Innovation Capacity and Business Development Survey will develop information on market barriers and drivers, experience with NYSERDA support, and market stakeholders.  The Transportation Program Market Characterization Analysis Survey will collect information on the types of technologies in development, major actors in the transportation market, and experiences with NYSERDA.
PECO’s Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) provides energy efficiency services and energy education to PECO’s low-income customers to reduce their energy usage and increase the affordability of their energy bills. The evaluations estimated the impact of LIURP on participants’ energy usage, energy bills, and payment compliance and surveyed customers to analyze the impact of energy education and client behavioral changes. In the 2012 program evaluation, APPRISE also conducted observations of service delivery and inspections on a sample of completed jobs. This research provided information on potential changes to program services and implementation that may lead to increased program savings. The current evaluation of 2015 participants will assess the program process, examine the impacts of program treatments on energy usage and affordability, and survey customers to assess program satisfaction.
APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of Peoples Natural Gas Universal Service Programs.  Peoples’ Universal Service Programs provide reduced natural gas bills, arrearage forgiveness, emergency bill payment assistance, energy efficiency services, and case management services to low-income households.  The evaluation will assess the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs through background research, needs assessment research, program administrator interviews, customer surveys, program database analysis, and analysis of the impacts of the program on affordability, bill payment, and collections actions and costs.