Allegheny Power Universal Service Program Evaluation
APPRISE conducted a comprehensive evaluation of Allegheny Power’s Universal Service Programs. The evaluation research included interviews with Allegheny and agency program managers and staff, surveys with participating and nonparticipating customers, analysis of program databases, and analysis of the impacts of the payment assistance program on energy affordability, payment compliance, arrearages, and collections costs.
Ameren Keeping Current Low-Income Pilot Program Evaluation
Ameren introduced a pilot of a low-income payment assistance program that provided electric bill payment assistance to low-income customers. Participants received monthly bill credits toward their electric bill and additional credits toward their arrearages. APPRISE provided an evaluation of this program that included interviews with local agencies that conduct intake for the program, a survey of participating customers, analysis of program data, and analysis of program impacts on affordability, payment coverage, and terminations.
BGE Limited Income Pilot Program Evaluation
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) designed and implemented pilot programs to determine the effect of energy bill discounts and payment counseling on the payment timeliness of limited-income customers. The Graduated Rate Discount (GRAD) Program provided a range of usage-based discounts. Some of the customers also received a home energy audit or payment counseling phone calls. The Customer Assistance Maintenance Program (CAMP) pilot tested changes to BGE’s CAMP including increased bill credits, payment counseling, or both. APPRISE’s process and impact evaluation assessed the effectiveness of these pilots in increasing customers’ on time bill payment and energy conservation behavior.
Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Delivery Study
APPRISE conducted research to assist the Colorado’s Governor’s Commission on Low-Income Energy Assistance to develop recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s low-income energy assistance services. The research included analysis of American Community Survey data, the Colorado LIHEAP database, and the Energy Outreach Colorado database; review and assessment of current LIHEAP procedures and implementation; surveys with participating and non-participating low-income households; and interviews with program managers at the state and agency level.
Illinois Percent of Income Payment Plan Evaluation
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has designed the Percent of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) pilot to help low-income households maintain energy service throughout the year and reduce the health and safety risks associated with energy service disruption. The PIPP program offers LIHEAP recipients arrearage forgiveness and a fixed payment plan in the place of a one-time LIHEAP grant. It also tests the effectiveness of offering weatherization and energy conservation, as well as counseling and education services to program participants. It is important for HFS to have information on the appropriateness of the program development, the effectiveness of the program implementation, and the program impact on participating clients and the participating utility. APPRISE conducted a process and impact evaluation of this program that assessed whether the program was implemented effectively and whether the program achieved its intended effect on clients.
New Jersey Universal Service Fund Data Tracking System Evaluation
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) created the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help low- and fixed-income residents pay for electric and natural gas service. The BPU staff is responsible for developing policies and procedures for implementation of the USF program. As part of those responsibilities, the staff developed a Data Tracking System that can furnish the information that the BPU needs to manage and evaluate the effectiveness of the USF program. APPRISE developed a draft set of specifications and an implementation plan for the USF Data Tracking System. The specifications identify the information needed for three purposes: operations, regulatory oversight, and evaluation. The implementation plan identifies the process by which detailed specifications will be developed and the schedule for implementing different components of the Data Tracking System.
New Jersey Universal Service Fund Process and Impact Evaluation
The New Jersey Universal Service Fund (USF) program provides fixed credits to eligible low-income families to limit electric and gas bills to six percent of household income. APPRISE conducted a process and impact evaluation of this program. This evaluation provided information on the benefits and costs of the USF program and alternatives for program design and operations. Program evaluation research consisted of administrative interviews, client surveys, program and utility data analysis, and financial data analysis.
New Jersey SHARES Evaluation (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
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 energy bill payment. In 2012, APPRISE also conducted a survey of 2011 grant recipients to assess whether 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.
New York HEAP Technical Assistance
APPRISE has provided estimates of energy costs by fuel type and household size for low-income households in New York for the New York Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) office. These estimates were used in New York’s LIHEAP Statewide Annual Energy Cost Standard by Primary Fuel Type that is used in the NY HEAP benefits tables.
PECO Universal Services Program Evaluation (2006, 2012)
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. APPRISE conducted the 2006 and the 2012 evaluations of PECO’s Universal Services Programs. The research included 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, and collections. The work also included preparation of the Universal Services Programs Evaluation Report, submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.
PG Energy Universal Services and Energy Conservation Programs Evaluation
PG Energy implemented their Customer Assistance Program (CAP), called the PG Energy Partners Program (PGEPP), to assist eligible low-income residential customers to pay their gas bills and reduce arrearages. Participating households pay a monthly bill that equals a percentage of their income, and receive monthly arrearage forgiveness when bills are paid on time and in full. APPRISE evaluated this program to determine how to increase efficiency of administration and to measure the impacts of the program on affordability, bill payment, collections activity, and gas usage.
PGW Universal Services Program Evaluation (2006, 2012)
APPRISE conducted a Process and Impact Evaluation of PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program in 2006 and 2012. This program provides low-income PGW customers with a reduced bill to increase energy affordability. The evaluations assessed the characteristics of program participants, payment compliance by program participants, and arrearage forgiveness received by program participants. The research estimated the impact of the program on affordability, payments, and collections actions and costs. Evaluation activities included interviews with program managers and staff, a survey of participating and non-participating customers, and analysis of customer billing and payment data.
PPL Electric Utilities 2008 Universal Services Program Evaluation
PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) implemented Universal Service Programs to help low-income customers maintain electric service and protect customers’ health and safety. The programs include the OnTrack program which provides reduced payments and arrearage forgiveness, WRAP which provides energy efficiency and energy education services, CARES which provides outreach and referral services, and Operation Help which provides emergency assistance. APPRISE conducted an evaluation of the performance and impact of these programs.
SMUD Low-Income Assistance Study
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has various programs to provide assistance to low-income and special needs households. These programs include rate discounts, home weatherization services, and bill assistance. SMUD contracted with APPRISE to conduct research on SMUD’s low-income assistance programs. The study included an assessment of the characteristics and needs of SMUD’s low-income population, a benchmark study of low-income assistance programs offered by other utilities and organizations, a review of SMUD’s current low-income programs, and recommendations for program assessment metrics and potential program modifications or additions.
T.W. Phillips Energy Help Fund Evaluation
T.W. Phillips established a customer assistance program called the Energy Help Fund (EHF) as part of its Universal Services Programs. The EHF provides low-income customers with rate discounts and arrearage forgiveness. APPRISE conducted a Process and Impact Evaluation of the program. The evaluation included administrative interviews, customer surveys, and analysis of payment and program data.
UGI Universal Services Program
UGI has a Customer Assistance Program (CAP) to improve energy affordability for low-income customers. The program provides a reduced natural gas bill based the customer’s poverty level and energy usage. APPRISE conducted a Process and Impact Evaluation of this program. The research included an assessment of the program design; review of the program costs and implementation; participant and non-participant feedback; and analysis of the impacts of the program on bill payment, arrearages, and collections costs.
Verizon Communications Lifeline Program Evaluation
Verizon's Communications Lifeline Program provides discounted telephone service to low-income customers in New Jersey. NJ SHARES has been retained by Verizon to conduct outreach for the program by providing information about the program at workshops around the state. NJ SHARES is also assisting Verizon customers with near matches of Verizon account information data and eligible program participation data to enroll in the program. NJ SHARES is attempting to enroll these customers by sending out letters, fielding response phone calls, and calling customers who do not respond to the letters. APPRISE conducted an evaluation to assess the efforts that NJ SHARES has made toward increasing enrollment in this program. The evaluation included background research, database analysis, call center observations, customer interviews, successful enrollment analysis, program penetration research, and a detailed procedures review.