The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is one of seven block grants originally authorized by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. In 1994, the purpose of the LIHEAP statute was amended to clarify that the program is “to assist low income households, particularly those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.”
Furthermore, Congressional Committees indicated in 1994 that LIHEAP grantees needed to reassess their LIHEAP benefit structures to ensure that they are targeting those low income households that have the highest energy costs or needs. The purpose of this evaluation study was to assess to what extent the LIHEAP program is serving the lowest income households that have the highest energy burdens. The study uses data from the 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) to examine the distribution of income and energy burden for low income households and identify those that have the lowest incomes and highest energy burdens (i.e., high burden households). The study uses the 2001 RECS LIHEAP Supplement to measure the effectiveness of the FY 2001 LIHEAP program in serving high burden households. The study quantifies program effectiveness using targeting performance measures. The study also identifies procedures for updating energy burden targeting performance statistics in the future.