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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:

  • 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

APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) Pre-Payment Pilot Program.  This program will offer a pre-payment option to a random sample of BGE customers.  The evaluation will assess the characteristics of customers who opt into the program, motivation for enrolling, satisfaction with the program, and the impact of the program on energy usage, bill payment, arrearages, collections costs, and other costs.  The research will include stakeholder engagement; a participant survey; and analysis of program, energy usage, billing, payment, arrearage, and collections data.

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.

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.

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 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.

APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of Pepco’s Arrearage Management Pilot Program.  This program will provide arrearage forgiveness to low-income residential customers with arrearages of $300 or more.  The evaluation research will assess program implementation, the characteristics of customers who enroll in the program, and the impact of the program on arrearages, bill payment, and collections actions and collections costs.  The research will include stakeholder interviews; a participant survey; and analysis of program, billing, payment, arrearage, and collections data.

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 NEWS

In early September APPRISE President, Jaqueline Berger, gave two presentations at the Association of Energy Professionals (AESP) Virtual Conference.  A description of each session and links to the PowerPoint presentations are listed below.

EE Meets IoT in MF 
This session looked beyond the simple replacement of standard thermostats with “smart” thermostats to explore what makes for an effective outcome in a variety of low to moderate income multifamily scenarios. The slides for this presentation can be viewed here. 

Analysis and Assessment of Energy Impact Calculations 
This session provided a description of how NEI studies need to be assessed, important aspects of the calculations that should be understood, and where NEI calculation can be applied to other programs. The slides for this presentation can be viewed here.

RESEARCH AREAS

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

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