ENERGY PROGRAM AND POLICY RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

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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.

  • 2016 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference (2016) – Denver, CO, June 6-8, 2016
    APPRISE Presentations
    *Evaluating Impact: Do it Right or Not at All! (Jacqueline Berger, David Carroll)
    *Best Practices in Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programming (Jacqueline Berger)
  • 2016 ACEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings – Pacific Grove, CA, August 21-16, 2016
  • 2016 Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference – Baltimore, MD, October 20-22, 2016
  • 2017 Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) National Conference – Orlando, FL, February 13-16, 2017
  • 2017 HPC National Home Performance Conference – Nashville, TN, March 19-22, 2017
  • 2017 American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) – New Orleans, LA, May 18-21, 2017

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

FirstEnergy offers a Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) and Act 129 Low-Income Programs to assist low-income customers. The programs provide energy efficiency and energy education services, help low-income customers maintain electric service, and protect customers’ health and safety. APPRISE is conducting a study to assess recent program changes, and to provide guidance to FirstEnergy on future tracking, reporting, and process improvements. The research will include an assessment of what changes should be made to program procedures, whether additional measures should be added, and how projected energy savings for additional energy efficiency measures should be calculated.
FirstEnergy implemented Universal Service Programs to help low-income customers maintain electric service and protect customers’ health and safety. The programs include the CAP Program, which provides reduced payments and arrearage forgiveness; LIURP/WARM, which provides energy efficiency and energy education services; CARES, which provides outreach and referral services; the Hardship Fund, which provides emergency assistance; and Gatekeeper, where field personnel recognize and report customers who may be in distress. APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of the performance of these programs, their ability to help low-income customers maintain affordable service, and the integration among the different programs. This evaluation will include analysis of program databases, interviews with FirstEnergy managers and staff, interviews with staff at organizations that implement the programs; and analysis of the impact of CAP on bills, customer payments, and affordability.
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 Evaluation. 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 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.
PGW’s Home Rebate Program provides incentives to residential customers and participating Conservation Service Providers (CSPs) who complete comprehensive natural gas energy efficiency retrofits.  Financial incentives are designed to encourage customers and CSPs to pursue as many cost-effective energy efficiency measures as possible and achieve at least twenty percent energy savings on average for the program.  Participants are expected to benefit from the program with reduced natural gas costs, improved comfort, and increased home health and safety.  The market study and impact evaluation will include interviews with program administrators and CSPs, in-depth interviews with partial and full program participants, analysis of the measures installed, assessment of the impact of the program on natural gas usage, and estimation of the program’s realization rate and cost-effectiveness.
South Jersey Gas has been operating energy efficiency programs in coordination with the New Jersey Clean Energy Program (NJCEP) since 2009.  The programs provide additional rebates and financing to customers who participate in the NJCEP residential and commercial and industrial programs.  APPRISE is providing an evaluation of these programs to assess program design, implementation, and impacts.  The research will include interviews with program administrations, contractors, and participants; surveys with participants of three different programs; analysis of the impacts of the programs on natural gas usage; and assessment of the non-energy impacts of the programs.