RESOURCE LIBRARY – Project Descriptions – Energy Survey Research and Policy Analysis2020-12-04T23:35:06+00:00

APPRISE Projects

Energy Survey Research and Policy Analysis

Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power, electric utility companies serving customers in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, asked APPRISE to present data on low-income energy poverty issues affecting customers in their service territory at a conference for community action agency personnel. APPRISE utilized Census, Current Population Survey, and American Housing Survey data to produce statistics that highlighted these issues.

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 developed information on the energy needs of California’s low-income utility customers using public data sets including the Current Population Survey and the 2000 Census. The study results will be used to set policy for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program and the Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) Program.

The California Residential Appliance Saturation Study (RASS), conducted by the California Energy Commission, is used to collect information on California’s residential energy consumption. As with the two previous RASS studies in 2003 and 2009, the findings from this research will be used to support the Energy Commission’s residential energy demand forecast. This study was implemented as both a web and mail survey, known as the California Home Energy Survey, and asked residents about their appliances, equipment, and general energy consumption. APPRISE worked with DNV GL Energy Insights USA, Inc. to develop email and mailing materials to encourage resident participation in the survey.  In addition, APPRISE was responsible for overseeing a non-response follow-up effort that used incentives, mailings, phone calls, and personal visits to obtain additional responses from households that did not respond to the initial survey requests.

APPRISE conducted 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 included implementation of a program participant survey for one priority program or measure.  The study explored and assessed 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.

The 2005 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is a national survey that collected energy-related data for occupied housing units and households. The Office of Community Services (OCS) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funded a special set of questions for low-income households responding to the 2005 RECS. Those questions collected information on residential and home energy-related problems faced by low-income households and measured the extent to which households reported that participation in LIHEAP helped to ameliorate those problems. APPRISE conducted an exploratory analysis of the 2005 RECS data for OCS to develop a better understanding of the performance of the survey questions and to develop new information on the Energy Insecurity of low-income households, including:

  • Levels and Types of Energy Insecurity – Estimation of the rate at which low-income households face various types of energy problems and examination of survey respondent reports on the extent to which energy assistance restores home heating and cooling for households experiencing service interruptions.
  • Factors Related to Energy Insecurity – An analysis of the factors associated with energy problems including poverty level, energy burden, geographic region and other demographic and housing factors.
  • Performance of the Home Energy Insecurity Scale – An assessment of the performance of the Home Energy Insecurity Scale in measuring the impacts of energy costs on low-income households compared to other Energy Insecurity measures used in the past.

APPRISE reviewed DOEE’s LIHEAP design and made recommendations for program modifications in 2018. This study assessed DOEE’s LIHEAP procedures, analyzed the population of households eligible for energy assistance, and calculated the impacts of the assistance on participants’ energy burden. The study furnished DOEE with information needed to modify its program benefits design matrix in a way that meets the statutory guidance furnished to DOEE by the federal LIHEAP program.

As a result of the 2018 study, DOEE modified its LIHEAP program benefits design matrix.  In 2020, APPRISE worked with DOEE to calculate the impact of those changes on participants’ energy burden, update analyses of households eligible for energy assistance, and assess how best to integrate DOEE’s Solar for All program with the LIHEAP program.

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.

The purpose of this study was to assist DDOE’s efforts to mitigate the rising energy costs on those with the highest home energy needs, greatest energy burdens, and least amount of available resources. The study focused on households that pay utility gas and/or electric bills, and are income-eligible and program-eligible for rate discounts. The study characterized the population of households that are eligible for rate discounts, estimated the rate discount program penetration rates, and analyzed how the rate discounts complement the LIHEAP program to reduce energy burdens for participating households.

Duquesne Light’s Upstream Lighting program works with residential lighting retailers to offer discounts on CFLs and LEDs at the point of purchase. Duquesne Light is conducting an enhanced net-to-gross analysis of their upstream lighting program. This research includes in-store intercepts with customers, in-depth interviews with lighting manufacturers and retailers, and telephone interviews with Duquesne Light’s residential customers. APPRISE conducted the general population telephone survey of a random sample of Duquesne Light’s residential customers to ascertain the net-to-gross ratio, in service rate, residential versus non-residential installation allocation, and low-income versus non low-income household savings allocation.
The National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) has begun to produce information that enhances knowledge and casts public attention upon the low-income residential energy issues and hardships facing the particular region in which their annual conference is held. In 2005, NLIEC asked APPRISE to conduct an analysis of energy poverty throughout Arizona, in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, and in specific Phoenix-area neighborhoods. APPRISE used Census, Current Population Survey, and American Housing Survey data to produce this information, which was presented at the annual conference in Phoenix and compiled for a report on energy poverty in Arizona.
APPRISE conducted a survey with households across the U.S. to examine the extent to which increased home energy and gasoline costs have impacted these households and how they have coped with increased prices. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the sacrifices and tradeoffs that low-, moderate-, and middle-income households have made in response to rising fuel costs. Households were asked about beneficial behaviors such as energy conservation and investment in more efficient appliances, and about dangerous sacrifices such as going without food and medicine and keeping the home at unsafe temperatures. The study showed that increased home energy and gasoline costs have impacted households at all income levels. Low-income households, as expected, have sacrificed the most as a result of these price increases. Low- to middle-income households are likely to have gone without food and medicine and to have compromised their energy usage. Low- to moderate-income households are likely to have missed energy bill payments and even have their service terminated. They are also likely to have gotten behind on credit card bills, mortgage or rent, and car payments. All income groups however, have reduced discretionary spending, driving, and heating and cooling usage. All income groups have also made investments in more energy efficient heating, cooling, and appliances to bring down their costs.
The purpose of the LIHEAP Feasibility Study is to support the Division of Energy Assistance in their development of program outcome measures and to identify options for developing annual estimates of the proposed outcome measures. As part of the study, APPRISE conducted a literature review of existing data sources and performed an in-depth examination of three options for furnishing LIHEAP performance measurement data. These options were (1) working within the context of the existing data sources, (2) replacing the existing data sources with other existing Federal and/or State surveys, and (3) developing a new survey specifically designed to furnish LIHEAP performance measurement data.
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.

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 focuses on the home energy mission of LIHEAP by providing 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.
APPRISE supported NCAT in the LIHEAP Integrity Working Group Project. This working group identified LIHEAP program integrity issues, researched program integrity systems used by LIHEAP grantees, identified areas where additional guidance was needed from federal agencies, and identified best practices and solutions for improving program integrity. APPRISE facilitated working group meetings and supported NCAT in the development of a strategic work plan.
APPRISE previously worked with the federal LIHEAP office to develop a performance measurement plan for targeting heating assistance to households with vulnerable members and a logic model to support that performance measurement plan. APPRISE also developed a separate model to examine the targeting of elderly households. APPRISE then extended the logic models to address all LIHEAP program components including cooling assistance, crisis assistance, home energy-related equipment repair and replacement, weatherization, and Assurance 16 activities. APPRISE also developed a logic model for targeting LIHEAP income-eligible households with at least one young child. The final report recommended an integrated strategy for implementing all of the logic models.
APPRISE provides program support to the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is a federally funded program to help eligible low-income households meet their home heating and cooling needs. The Division of Energy Assistance in the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services, administers LIHEAP at the federal level. APPRISE assists both the federal LIHEAP office and state LIHEAP offices in developing performance measurement data and other statistics needed to effectively administer the program.
APPRISE is assisting the Federal LIHEAP Office in completing their annual Report to Congress. This report, required by Congressional reporting requirements, summarizes data collected on home energy use and households assisted under LIHEAP. The report includes state-level data on the number and characteristics of households that received heating, cooling, and crisis assistance; the sources and uses of LIHEAP funds, average benefit amounts, and income eligibility cutoffs; and the home energy consumption and expenditures of LIHEAP-recipient households.
This study examined and compared alternative procedures for estimating the recipiency targeting performance measurement indicators used by the LIHEAP program to measure program performance. The “recipiency targeting index” for a specific group of households is computed by comparing the percent of LIHEAP households that are members of the target group to the percent of all income-eligible households that are members of the target group. The study showed that CPS data are the best data source for making estimates of the number of LIHEAP income-eligible households and the administrative data are the best data source for making estimates of LIHEAP recipient households.
APPRISE is furnishing technical support to the Division of Energy Assistance in the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services. As part of this support, APPRISE is assisting in the development of performance measurement procedures that address deficiencies outlined in the 2003 PART Assessment for the LIHEAP Program. APPRISE annually develops State-level targeting performance data that indicate the extent to which States targeted energy assistance to low-income and vulnerable households.
APPRISE is working with The Division of Energy Assistance in the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services, to develop a web-based data tool. The web-based data tool will standardize the experience of LIHEAP grantees in entering performance data; improve the data quality by implementing a set of item-to-item, form-to-form, and year-to-year data checks; enhance the user help interface by providing online screens and real time help desk support; and allow LIHEAP grantees to utilize standard and custom reporting tools. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a system that facilitates the collection of high-quality performance measurement data for the LIHEAP program.
APPRISE conducted research for the Environmental Defense Fund to document low-income energy efficiency (LIEE) programs in four states and around the country.  The research assessed the state-level policy and program design changes that are necessary to overcome barriers and fully realize the benefits of LIEE.  The topics that were explored included 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 answered 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.

APPRISE developed a database for the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel to generate customized statistics on characteristics of the low-income population in Maryland.  The database allows users to analyze income, demographic, energy, and housing characteristics of the low-income population at the state, region, and county levels using data from the American Community Survey.  The database will be used to evaluate energy programs and analyze rate cases that impact low-income customers.

APPRISE conducted 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 analyzed publicly available survey data and MD program-level data to understand trends in the population and the programs that serve them.  The research increased understanding of the population and informed policy discussions on Maryland low-income energy programs.

APPRISE conducted research to assess participation and improve outreach for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Fuel Assistance program. The study combined 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 furnished DHCD with data and analysis needed to develop outreach strategies that target underserved segments of the eligible population and increase enrollment.

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 Minnesota Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP) portfolios include low-income components to assist income-eligible households with energy conservation. APPRISE conducted 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 was to facilitate more effective program operations and policymaking.

The purpose of this study was to furnish comprehensive information on ratepayer-funded low-income energy programs. The report includes information on and analysis of the energy needs of low-income households, the legal and regulatory framework supporting ratepayer-funded programs, program design options, and the findings from evaluations of program effectiveness.

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 supported the National Association of State Community Service Programs in the development of a Data Warehouse for the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.  We developed tools for reporting, validation, and analysis of performance measure data at the local, state, territory, and national level.  Additionally, APPRISE supported state efforts to collect and report new performance metrics established by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services.  This project has led to improved data quality, an enhanced understanding of CSBG outcomes, and will be used to inform program decision-making.

APPRISE conducted surveys of LIHEAP recipients in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2018. The most recent survey of 2018 LIHEAP recipients updated 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 interviewed recipients in eight states. Stratified samples of fiscal year 2018 LIHEAP recipients were selected from each of the eight state LIHEAP databases. The study characterized the LIHEAP population for 2018 and documented the challenges that these households face in addition to their energy bills.
APPRISE supported the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in research to assess the economic impacts of New Jersey’s Clean Energy Programs. APPRISE’s work included a survey with participants in New Jersey’s Clean Energy program to assess market characteristics, qualify the nature and number of jobs created in New Jersey, and to better understand the State’s clean energy economy. The project also included in-depth interviews with companies that participate in New Jersey’s Clean Energy economy to develop additional information on the perception of these programs and future clean energy plans.

APPRISE assessed the fiscal integrity and operational efficiency of the NJ LIHEAP and USF Programs. This research included an assessment of the performance of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Division of Housing and Community Resources (DHCR), Office of Home Energy Assistance (OHEA) and an assessment of the operations of the LIHEAP and USF programs. We reviewed program documents, and conducted interviews with HHS LIHEAP compliance staff, DCA management, USF managers at the NJ Board of Public Utilities, and managers at Community Based Organizations that administer the programs. We also reviewed program databases and statistics, conducted on-site interviews and observations with a sample of local agencies, and conducted a survey with LIHEAP recipients.

APPRISE conducted research for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to assess participation and outreach for the New Jersey LIHEAP and Universal Service Fund (USF) programs.  The study used publicly available survey data and state program data to assess the characteristics of the income-eligible and LIHEAP-recipient populations.  The study also estimated participation rates among different segments of the low-income population.  Local agency interviews and a review of state and local outreach methods provided information on opportunities and barriers to increasing program participation.  The research furnished DCA with data and analysis needed to develop outreach strategies and policies to increase LIHEAP participation.

APPRISE conducted 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 assessed 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 provided NYSERDA with recommendations for prioritizing coordination with local funding sources, designing options for service coordination, and planning pilot coordination activities.

APPRISE conducted research to characterize the low- and moderate- income populations in New York State, to estimate the impact of existing programs that target these populations, and to identify opportunities for future program outreach and targeting.  This study analyzed publically-available population, housing, and energy data; program data; and specialty data on health indicators, population mobility, and economic characteristics.  The research provided the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) and program partners throughout the New York State government with comprehensive information that can be used to improve program models, estimate program potential, and measure program accomplishments.

NYSERDA is engaged in the development of the New Efficiency initiatives to help New York State accelerate energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease consumer energy costs, and create job opportunities.  NYSERDA is responsible for ensuring that low- and moderate-income (LMI) households benefit directly from these new initiatives through targeted programs. APPRISE was responsible for furnishing research and analytic support to identify program design considerations, document portfolio costs and impacts, and present options for the engagement of NYSERDA, the utilities, and the publicly funded programs. As part of this research, APPRISE developed detailed documentation of the LMI energy efficiency programs implemented in ten comparable states and identified program models that may help to expand NYSERDA’s current LMI offerings.

The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is a national in-person survey of energy use in residential housing units conducted by the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). In this project, we updated the national area probability sample frame, selected the sample, recruited and trained interviewers, collected data, processed the data, analyzed the data, and conducted an energy supplier follow-up survey. In 2005, APPRISE was a part of a sample redesign project for the RECS, which involved evaluating the performance of the 1993 design, developing design alternatives, and implementing the listing and sample selection procedures selected by EIA. As part of this effort, we also designed procedures to incorporate a supplemental sample of LIHEAP recipient households.
The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is a national in-person survey of energy use in residential housing units conducted by the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). In this project, APPRISE developed Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) participation data for respondents to the 2009 RECS survey. This task included obtaining information on RECS sample locations and respondent addresses, collecting LIHEAP administrative data from LIHEAP program managers, matching LIHEAP administrative data to RECS respondents, developing statistical procedures for addressing survey non-response and weighting issues, and furnishing documentation regarding the procedures used to fulfill the objectives of this task.
APPRISE conducted research to assist Washington’s Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development to assess low-income household needs for energy conservation and energy assistance services. The research included an analysis of the fuels used, energy costs, and energy burden for low-income households in WA; documentation of current energy prices and assistance programs offered by utility companies in WA; and recommendations for the types of energy assistance programs that may best meet the needs that are documented in the study.
APPRISE conducted a statewide survey of LIHEAP-recipient households in Washington to document the challenges that these households face in meeting their energy needs. The Washington State Energy Assistance Survey documented the need for LIHEAP and the choices that low-income households make when faced with unaffordable energy bills. Research showed that LIHEAP plays a significant role in alleviating some of the problems caused by high energy bills. Seventy-one percent of LIHEAP-recipient households said that they would have had to keep their home at an unsafe or unhealthy temperature if LIHEAP had not been available, and 95 percent said that LIHEAP had been very important in helping them to meet their needs. However, a large share of LIHEAP-recipient households in Washington still face difficult choices due to unaffordable energy bills. The survey documented the percentage of these households that go without food or medical care, keep their home at unsafe or unhealthy temperatures, and use dangerous heating methods.