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 Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference – Virtual Conference, December 7-10, 2020
- 2021 Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP) Annual Conference – New Orleans, LA, January 25-28, 2021
- 2021 Home Performance Conference – Austin, TX, April 12-15, 2021
- 2021 International Energy Program Evaluation Conference (IEPEC) – San Diego, CA, August 24-26, 2021
- 2021 National Energy & Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC) – Location TBA, June 2021
CURRENT RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
Ameren’s Keeping Current Program provides monthly bill credits and arrearage reduction for customers who continue to make monthly bill payments. Their Keeping Cooling Program provides bill credits in the summer months to offset the costs of air conditioning usage. APPIRSE has conducted four process and impact evaluations of the program. These evaluations assessed program design, implementation, participation, retention, and impacts, and made recommendations for program improvements.
APPRISE is now undertaking a program design study to assess alternative bill payment designs and make recommendations for refinement or redesign of Ameren’s program. This study will assess program goals, explore options for program parameters, analyze the outcomes of various program designs, review best practices, and make recommendations for changes to Ameren’s program.
APPRISE is conducting a study on the non-energy benefits (NEBs) of the Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Program. The ESA Program provides no-cost direct installed weatherization and energy efficiency measures to achieve energy savings and improved health, comfort and safety for eligible low-income households served by the IOUs in CA. This study will review and verify the NEBs proposed in a previous study, and develop a streamlined model for estimating the value of the NEBs.
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 reviewed DOEE’s LIHEAP design and made recommendations for program modifications in 2018. This study assessed DOEE’s LIHEAP procedures, analyzed the population of households eligible for energy assistance, and calculated the impacts of the assistance on participants’ energy burden. The study furnished DOEE with information needed to modify its program benefits design matrix in a way that meets the statutory guidance furnished to DOEE by the federal LIHEAP program.
As a result of the 2018 study, DOEE modified its LIHEAP program benefits design matrix. APPRISE is now working with DOEE to calculate the impact of those changes on participants’ energy burden, update analyses of households eligible for energy assistance, and assess how best to integrate DOEE’s Solar for All program with the LIHEAP program.
APPRISE is conducting research for the District of Columbia’s Office of the People’s Counsel to assess energy affordability for residential consumers. The analysis will explore the energy affordability needs of different types of residential consumers, examine how current and potential utility initiatives impact energy burden, and characterize the design and implementation of energy affordability programs implemented in other states. The research will be used to develop recommendations on how to improve energy affordability programs offered to residential consumers in the District.
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: Non-profit 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.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) EmPOWER Limited-Income Programs install energy efficiency measures and perform related repairs to help participants reduce energy usage and improve their health and safety. APPRISE is providing consulting services on the Single-Family Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) and the Multi-Family Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability Program (MEEHA). The work scope includes advising DHCD on the design and delivery of these programs, reviewing DHCD’s proposed plans, reviewing cost-effectiveness inputs and assumptions, and assessing performance metrics.
APPRISE is conducting a comprehensive review of the Massachusetts LIHEAP program’s benefit determination procedures. The study includes reviewing program goals and procedures, assessing energy burden outcomes among LIHEAP recipients using energy bill data collected for the LIHEAP Performance Measures, and engaging the program’s stakeholders to determine next steps in developing updated benefit determination procedures to improve client outcomes.
The NJ Comfort Partners Program provides no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income utility customers throughout the state. The 2020 evaluation will review program changes that were made since the 2017 evaluation, estimate energy savings with a billing analysis, review and make recommendations for changes to the Energy Saving Protocols, and conduct targeted on-site inspections of completed jobs.
NYSERDA’s NY-Sun Solar Program provides incentives and funding to support solar photovoltaic projects throughout New York State. One major goal of NY-Sun is to provide solar benefits to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. To understand the NY-Sun solar adopter population and identify future LMI targeting opportunities, NYSERDA has contracted with APPRISE to conduct an analysis using public data, program data, and survey data. First, APPRISE will estimate the characteristics of NY State households and the characteristics of solar adopters, including the portion who are LMI by detailed geographic area. Second, APPRISE will conduct an online survey with a sample of subscribers to collect information to verify their characteristics and assess program satisfaction. Third, APPRISE will develop a methodology and tools to assist NYSERDA in identifying LMI households and regions as part of program outreach and eligibility verification.
APPRISE is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the energy assistance programs managed by the Oregon Housing and Community Service Department. Research objectives include assessing the impact, marketing, outreach, and accessibility of current LIHEAP and ratepayer-funded energy assistance programs; and evaluating the effectiveness of current and alternative program delivery models. As part of this evaluation, APPRISE is conducting organizational research, a market assessment study, a participant survey, in-depth interviews, and a quantitative impact assessment. In addition, APPRISE is implementing a community-based participatory research approach to engage local and state community organizations as research partners. Community research partners will provide input and assist in outreach and data collection efforts with members of underserved populations.
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.