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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:

  • 2018 National Energy & Utility Affordability (NEUAC) Conference – Phoenix, AZ, June 26-28, 2018
    • APPRISE Presentation: Policies, Program Designs and Advocacy to Scale Up Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs
      Speaker: Jackie Berger, APPRISE
      Speaker: Jennifer Gremmert, Energy Outreach Colorado
      Speaker: Lavannya Pulluveetil, EDF
    • APPRISE Presentation: Health & Safety Spending Policies to Increase Energy Savings & Non-Energy Benefits
      Speaker: Jackie Berger, APPRISE
      Speaker: Deb Davis, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
    • APPRISE Presentation: How LIHEAP Performance Management can Improve LIHEAP
      Speaker: David Carroll, APPRISE
      Speaker: Melissa Torgerson, Verve Associates
      Speaker: Laura Betzinger, Indiana LIHEAP
      Speaker: Lorraine Portis, Mississippi LIHEAP
  • 2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings – Pacific Grove, CA, August 12-17, 2018
    • APPRISE Presentation: Health and Safety Investments to Increase Energy-Saving Opportunities
      Speaker: Jackie Berger, APPRISE
    • APPRISE Poster: Using Evaluation Findings to Refine Energy Efficiency Program Design and Implementation
      Presenter: Jackie Berger, APPRISE

APPRISE NEWS

EDF and APPRISE released a new Low-Income Energy Efficiency Opportunities report outlining the widespread benefits of low-income energy efficiency programs and concrete steps that states can take toward energy efficiency for all.

APPRISE has released two new reports on the National WAP Evaluation Non-Energy Benefits Research.

  • Non-Energy Benefits of WAP Estimated with the Client Longitudinal Survey  – Results Report. Download here.
  • Non-Energy Benefits of WAP Estimated with the Client Longitudinal Survey  – Analysis Report. Download here.

RESEARCH AREAS

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

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. The research will include in-depth interviews and surveys with program participants to assess the success of various marketing approaches.
APPRISE is conducting research for the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board to explore existing NEI values nationally, regionally, and for CT; gaps in existing CT NEI data; and survey research and data analysis that can address NEI measurement.  The research will include implementation of a program participant survey for one priority program or measure.  The study will explore and assess the current state of the art for measuring NEIs both nationally and regionally, where and how NEIs are used in calculating the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency programs, how the inclusion of NEIs has impacted energy efficiency programs across the U.S., the best available estimates of the NEIs for CT programs and measures, and how NEIs could be measured and incorporated in future CT evaluations.
APPRISE is conducting a comprehensive review of the District of Columbia’s LIHEAP benefit determination procedures and researching strategies for integrating solar benefits with its LIHEAP program. The study includes assessing energy burden among LIHEAP recipients using energy bill data collected for the LIHEAP Performance Measures, conducting pilot research on energy burden for LIHEAP recipients with heating costs included in their rent, and developing an alternative benefit structure that accounts for energy burden while optimizing outcomes across low-income programs offered in the District of Columbia.
Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) administers and implements Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs for the utilities in Colorado.  Their Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP) provides whole building custom energy efficiency upgrades for nonprofit organizations serving low-income communities.  APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of this program to estimate the impacts of energy efficiency on energy usage and to assess the non-energy impacts of the program.
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 Office of People’s Counsel to assess the characteristics of the low-income population in Maryland, estimate the need for energy assistance and energy efficiency programs, and provide recommendations for future program design and targeting.  The study will analyze publicly available survey data and MD program-level data to understand trends in the population and the programs that serve them.  The research will increase understanding of the population and inform policy discussions on Maryland low-income energy programs.
APPRISE is conducting research to assess participation and improve outreach for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Fuel Assistance program. The study will combine publicly available survey data and Massachusetts LIHEAP data with program literature and agency interviews to understand opportunities and barriers to increasing program participation. The research furnishes DHCD with data and analysis needed to develop outreach strategies that target underserved segments of the eligible population and increase enrollment.
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. 
APPRISE conducted surveys of LIHEAP recipients in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011. APPRISE is currently conducting a survey of 2018 LIHEAP recipients to update information about LIHEAP-recipient households that was collected in the previous surveys. These surveys documented changes in the affordability of energy bills, the need for LIHEAP, and the choices that low-income households make when faced with unaffordable energy bills. The 2018 Survey will interview recipients in eight states. Stratified samples of fiscal year 2018 LIHEAP recipients will be selected from each of the eight state LIHEAP databases. The study will characterize the LIHEAP population for 2018 and document the challenges that these households face in addition to their energy bills.
APPRISE is conducting research to assess how NYSERDA can effectively coordinate income-qualified energy efficiency programs with local energy and housing funding sources to improve outcomes for low- to moderate-income New Yorkers.  APPRISE will assess what funding sources are available for potential coordination through literature review and in-depth interviews with local program managers in six localities in New York.  The research will provide NYSERDA with recommendations for prioritizing coordination with local funding sources, designing options for service coordination, and planning pilot coordination activities.
PECO implemented Universal Service Programs to help low-income customers maintain energy services and protect customers’ health and safety. The programs include CAP which provides reduced payments and arrearage forgiveness, LIURP which provides energy efficiency and energy education services, CARES which provides outreach and referral services, and MEAP which provides emergency financial assistance for overdue energy bills. The 2019 evaluation will include review of program procedures and implementation; customer needs assessment; interviews with program managers and implementation partners; customer surveys; and an analysis of the impact of the program on energy affordability, bill payment, collections, and energy usage.
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.
PGW’s ELIRP provides no-cost comprehensive weatherization treatments to selected high-usage PGW bill payment assistance program participants. APPRISE is conducting an impact evaluation for the 2016 program participants.  The impact evaluation will estimate energy savings, assess savings achieved by individual contractors, and assess bill savings.  Previous evaluations studied energy saving impacts achieved through individual major measures and analyzed client targeting to make recommendations for how greater savings may be achieved. A previous market study also included interviews with program managers, interviews with implementation contractors, and review of inspection reports to identify how PGW can improve the program’s efficiency and effectiveness.
PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program provides low-income PGW customers with a reduced bill to increase energy affordability. Their other Universal Service Programs provide energy efficiency services, case management services, and emergency bill payment assistance.  The 2019 evaluation will assess the characteristics of program participants, payment compliance by program participants, and arrearage forgiveness received by program participants. The research will estimate the impact of the program on affordability, payments, and collections actions and costs. Evaluation activities will include interviews with program managers and staff, needs assessment, in-depth interviews with participating customers, and analysis of customer billing, payment, and collections data.