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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 New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program Clean Energy Conference – New Jersey Institute of Technology, September 12, 2017
    • APPRISE Presentation: Residential Energy Best PracticesContractor Strategies to Ensure High Performance Outcomes
      Speaker: Jackie Berger, 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
  • 2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings – Pacific Grove, CA, August 12-17, 2018

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

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.
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.
APPRISE is conducting research for the Environmental Defense Fund to document low-income energy efficiency (LIEE) programs in four states and around the country.  The research will assess the state-level policy and program design changes that are necessary to overcome barriers and fully realize the benefits of low-income energy efficiency.  The topics that will be explored include the Regulatory and Program Structure of LIEE offerings, Barriers to and Potential for Investment in Low-Income Energy Efficiency, Best Practices for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs, and Policies and Financing Mechanisms.  The report will answer three core questions: 1) How does the current regulatory and program structure of LIEE offerings in each state impact the scale, speed, and efficiency of deployment, 2) What are the specific barriers to deploying LIEE to levels approaching its potential, and 3) What are some of the best practices for LIEE program design, marketing, reporting to expand LIEE in each target state.
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.
The Community Service Block Grant Program provides funding to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities through services that address employment,  income management, education, housing, nutrition, and health.  APPRISE is supporting the National Association of State Community Service Programs to develop a Data Warehouse for the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.  We will develop tools for reporting, validation, and analysis of performance measure data at the local, state, territory, and national level.  Additionally, APPRISE is supporting state efforts to collect and report new performance metrics established by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services.  The project will improve data quality, enhance understanding of CSBG outcomes, and inform program decision-making. 
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.
The New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (NJ SHARES) is a nonprofit corporation organized to provide assistance to individuals and families living in New Jersey who are in need of temporary help paying their energy bills. APPRISE conducts an annual impact evaluation of the New Jersey SHARES program. The evaluation includes analysis of administrative and utility data to assess the program’s impact on maintenance of electric and gas service and on energy bill payment.  Some of the previous evaluations also included surveys and in-depth participant interviews to assess whether the crises had been resolved, what additional assistance was needed, and the interest and potential for energy efficiency program participation.   APPRISE also serves as an advisor to the NJ SHARES Board of Directors.