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.
APPRISE staff members will be attending these conferences:
- 2020 Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP) Annual Conference – Anaheim, CA, February 17-20, 2020
- 2020 Home Performance Conference – New Orleans, LA, April 27-30, 2020
- 2020 National Energy & Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC) – Washington, DC, June 29 – July 1, 2020
- 2020 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) – Pacific Grove, CA, August 16-21, 2020
CURRENT RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
Ameren’s Keeping Current Program provides electric bill payment assistance and arrearage forgiveness to low-income customers. APPRISE is currently undertaking its fourth evaluation of the program. This evaluation will include in-depth interviews with current participants and with previous successful program participants. The evaluation will also include analysis of program benefits delivered, and the impact of the program on affordability, bill payment, and collections actions.
APPRISE is conducting a process evaluation to understand the contributions that Avangrid’s marketing programs make to encourage residential and non-residential customers to participate in Avangrid’s energy efficiency program offerings. The research will include in-depth interviews and surveys with program participants to assess the success of various marketing approaches.
The California Residential Appliance Saturation Study (RASS), conducted by the California Energy Commission, is used to collect information on California’s residential energy consumption. As with the two previous RASS studies in 2003 and 2009, the findings from this research will be used to support the Energy Commission’s residential energy demand forecast. This study will be implemented as both a web and mail survey, known as the California Home Energy Survey, and will ask residents about their appliances, equipment, and general energy consumption. APPRISE is working with DNV GL Energy Insights USA, Inc. to develop email and mailing materials that encourage resident participation in the survey. In addition, APPRISE is overseeing a non-response follow-up effort that will use incentives, mailings, phone calls, and personal visits to obtain additional responses from households that do not respond to the initial survey requests.
APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of the Illinois Solar for All Program which will bring photovoltaic power to low-income and environmental justice communities throughout Illinois and create a long-term, low-income solar marketplace.
The ILSFA Program has four key components.
- Low-Income Distributed Generation: Single- and multi-family residential properties occupied by low-income households can receive incentives for new solar generation systems.
- Low-Income Community Solar: Low-income owners and renters can buy or lease a share of the solar system and receive credits on their utility bills for the energy produced by their share of the system.
- Incentives for Non-Profits and Public Facilities: Nonprofit organizations and public entities within environmental justice communities or low-income communities can receive incentives for new solar generation systems.
- Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects: Projects with community partnerships and ownership will be awarded based on a competitive procurement approach.
The evaluation will include analysis of community outreach, system cost and production, environmental and economic benefits, impacts on participants’ energy costs and burden, job training, and system reliability.
National Fuel Gas provides bill payment assistance, energy efficiency services, emergency bill payment assistance, and holistic case management services to assist low-income customers. APPRISE is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of these programs. The research includes analysis of program data, interviews with program managers and staff, interviews with service delivery agencies and contractors, in-depth interviews with program participants, and analysis of the impacts of bill payment assistance on energy affordability, bill payment, arrearages, service terminations, and collections costs.
Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) has a portfolio of energy efficiency programs to increase customers’ awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and to reduce energy usage. These programs include offerings for residential customers, low-income customers, and commercial and industrial customers. APPRISE is conducting impact evaluations and market assessments for these programs. The 2018 evaluations are expected to include the Commercial Equipment Rebates Program and the Efficient Construction Grants Program.
APPRISE is conducting a Process and Impact Evaluation of PPL Electric Utilities’ (PPL) Universal Services Programs. The programs provide bill payment assistance and energy efficiency services to PPL’s low-income customers. The 2020 evaluation includes a needs assessment, interviews with program managers and staff, interviews with service delivery agencies, surveys with participating customers, and analysis of the impact of the programs on energy affordability and bill payment practices.
PSE&G implemented a low-income multi-family smart thermostat pilot program in their New Jersey service territory in 2018. The program installed Nest, Honeywell, and Ecobee thermostats in 943 units within 16 projects, half of which also received a network solution for connectivity. APPRISE is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of this pilot program. The research includes market characterization to assess the potential for expanded implementation; interviews with property managers, implementation staff, and building managers; a quantitative survey with program participants; and a usage impact analysis to estimate the impact of the program on electric and gas usage.