RESOURCE LIBRARY – Project Descriptions – Usage Reduction2020-12-04T23:11:23+00:00

APPRISE Projects

Low-Income Usage Reduction Program Research & Evaluation

AmerenUE partnered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Energy Center and other utilities to provide weatherization services to low-income households through the Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP). The goal of the program is to provide energy efficient improvements to low-income customers to reduce their utility bills and help them prepare for the heating and cooling seasons. APPRISE conducted a process and impact evaluation of the weatherization program. The goals of this research were to assess the effectiveness of the program and to identify opportunities for program improvement.
APPRISE was a subcontractor to Research Into Action on the California Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) Program Process Evaluation. The CA LIEE provides no-cost energy services to low-income households including attic insulation, energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient furnaces, weather stripping, caulking, low-flow showerheads, water heater blankets, and door and building envelope repairs. The Process Evaluation focused on client recruitment and enrollment, program coordination, and efficiency of program delivery and implementation. APPRISE was responsible for in-depth interviews with implementation contractors.
Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation implemented new energy efficiency initiatives in 2006 to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes. The initiatives include a First Response Program to provide low-cost, cost-effective energy efficiency measures and education and an E$P Plus Initiative to provide heating system and other appliance replacement. APPRISE provided evaluation research on these new programs and additional research on Colorado’s ongoing E$P weatherization services.
The State of Colorado has made funding available for a number of energy initiatives. One of those initiatives is the Mass Distribution of Energy Efficiency Services. Under this initiative, the State of Colorado contracted with local community based organizations (CBOs) to provide energy saving devices and/or energy education services to low-income households. APPRISE assisted Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation in identifying service delivery models and vendors that have proven track records for successful program implementation; determining data needs for short-term assessments and long-term impact analysis; and developing a framework for service delivery agencies to develop an effective program design, prepare a responsive proposal, and meet program management and information requirements.
The State of Colorado has implemented a new Energy $ervices, First Response program targeted to low-income households with average or below average levels of electricity and gas consumption. This program aims to reinforce energy efficient behaviors and help low-income households to reduce their energy consumption. Prior to implementation, APPRISE conducted research on the service delivery models for high-volume, low-cost services that have been implemented in other states. This 2006 memo furnishes information on the program models and the organizations and/or vendors who implemented the programs and makes recommendations to Colorado regarding the applicability of these models to the Energy $ervices, First Response program.
The 2004 Colorado REACh grant developed a comprehensive cooling program to assist Colorado’s low-income households. Local agency partners implemented cooling program services, including equipment installation and client education, and the state LIHEAP office furnished community-wide education and notification services. APPRISE conducted a comprehensive Process and Impact Evaluation of this program.
Many low-income usage reduction programs are facing increasing challenges serving customers due to the prevalence of health and safety problems that prevent major measures from being installed.  As a result of serious issues in the home, customers must be deferred or are treated with only minor services, and high-usage customer with good potential for savings do not participate or only achieve low energy savings.  This research assessed the circumstances under which additional cost-effective health and safety spending can be invested to achieve greater savings for low-income customers and the program as a whole.
Duquesne Light has a Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) to help low-income customers reduce their energy usage and increase their energy affordability. APPRISE estimated the weather-normalized electric savings for customers who heat with electricity and for customers who heat with other fuels for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 program years.
The Cool Homes Program aimed to mitigate heat-related problems of the elderly. This program provided measures to reduce summer temperatures in the home, educated customers on how to keep their homes cool, and established a buddy system that initiated contact with seniors during high-risk periods. APPRISE conducted a Process Evaluation of this program.

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 conducted 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.

FirstEnergy offers a Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) and Act 129 Low-Income Programs to assist low-income customers. The programs provide energy efficiency and energy education services, help low-income customers maintain electric service, and protect customers’ health and safety. APPRISE conducted a study to assess recent program changes, and to provide guidance to FirstEnergy on future tracking, reporting, and process improvements. The research included an assessment of what changes should be made to program procedures, whether additional measures should be added, and how projected energy savings for additional energy efficiency measures should be calculated.

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 advised First State on the Data Tracking System and conducting Process and Impact Evaluations. The Process Evaluation assessed challenges and opportunities, and developed performance measures for the Impact Evaluation.

The Illinois REACh project was an innovative pilot program aimed to help low-income households maintain energy service throughout the year and reduce the health and safety risks associated with energy service disruption. The comprehensive program worked with clients to increase resources available for paying energy bills, reduce the amount of energy used through effective energy-saving actions and participation in usage reduction programs, and develop the skills that are needed to maintain energy service through proactive management of their monthly budgets and energy bills. APPRISE conducted an evaluation of this program to assist program managers in assessing whether the program design is appropriate, whether there are any barriers to implementing the program as designed, and whether the program has achieved the intended impacts.

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 was the lead contractor for the evaluation of the National Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). APPRISE had three key partners for this effort – Blasnik and Associates, Dahloff Associates, and the Energy Center of Wisconsin, and was also supported by technical experts from across the country. The evaluation consisted of data collection from state WAP offices, local agencies, and participating and nonparticipating clients. Utility data was collected and analyzed for a sample of clients from every state and submetering studies were conducted to assess impacts on clients who use bulk fuels and to conduct special technical studies. The evaluation assessed program operations and delivery, energy impacts, and non-energy impacts, and made recommendations for modifications to program design and delivery.
The New Hampshire REACh Furnace Cleaning Program aimed to decrease energy usage and reduce home energy insecurity for low-income households in northern New Hampshire by cleaning furnaces and identifying furnaces in need of repair and replacement. Extensive furnace repairs and furnace replacements were also provided in those homes where the need was identified. APPRISE’s evaluation included interviews with program managers, community agency staff, and furnace cleaners; and analysis of the impact of the program on energy usage, energy insecurity, and furnace safety and efficiency indicators.
The goal of the New Hampshire Weatherization Assistance Program Evaluation is to analyze the impact of weatherization activity on energy consumption and individual household energy security as well as the efficacy of the program management and delivery of services. In this project, we provided: an assessment of the implementation of the program; an analysis of the program tracking database; identification of program deficiencies and how they might affect results; a description of how evaluation results may be used for program design and management; development of recommendations; identification of missed opportunities to install measures and why they were missed; and an assessment of the impact of the program on participant energy burden and their perception of energy burden.

The Comfort Partners Program is a statewide collaborative utility residential low-income program, providing joint delivery of services through electric and gas utilities. Participating customers receive direct installation of energy efficiency measures, energy education, and payment plans aimed to reduce arrearages. APPRISE conducted a comprehensive evaluation of this program, including a Process Evaluation and analysis of the program’s data tracking system, the comprehensiveness of service delivery, and the impacts on energy usage and bill payment.

The NJ Comfort Partners Program provides no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income utility customers throughout the state. APPRISE conducted a comprehensive evaluation of this program. The Data Tracking Research assessed the comprehensiveness, sufficiency, and accuracy of the program database. The Process Evaluation included review and assessment of materials and procedures; interviews with utility managers; interviews and on-site observations at service delivery contractors; on-site observation of audits, installations, and third party inspections; and post-completion inspections of program installations. The Affordability Evaluation included a telephone survey with program participants and analysis of the program’s impact on affordability of energy bills and participation in the NJ Universal Service Fund program. The Impact Evaluation included analysis of program data, engineering impact analysis, usage impact analysis, and savings realization analysis. The Energy Savings Protocols Research included review and assessment of protocols currently in use to estimate program savings.

The NJ Comfort Partners Program provides no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income utility customers throughout the state. The 2017 evaluation reviewed program changes that were made since the 2013 evaluation, estimated energy savings with a billing analysis, reviewed and made recommendations for changes to the Energy Saving Protocols, and conducted targeted participant telephone interviews and on-site inspections of completed jobs.  The evaluation found improved energy savings and recommended additional program refinements to further increase savings achieved through the program.

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.

The New Jersey Comfort Partners Seniors Pilot extends Comfort Partners weatherization services to seniors in Monroe Township, New Jersey, with incomes above the guidelines for the Comfort Partners Program. APPRISE conducted an Impact Evaluation of this program. The evaluation measured the electric usage reduction that resulted from the program.

The purpose of this research was to furnish the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and the New Jersey Clean Energy Council with detailed documentation of the existing weatherization programs in New Jersey and estimates of the usage reduction impacts of the NJ WAP. The analysis addressed the differences and similarities between the program models and the rationale for each program’s design. The evaluation also provided impact results for two agencies that provide WAP services in New Jersey. This information was designed to help the BPU and the Clean Energy Council assess which model might be most appropriate for a ratepayer-funded low-income usage reduction program.

APPRISE conducted national evaluations of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for program years 2008 and 2010.   In this study of New York’s WAP for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), APPRISE used data collected from New York State to furnish detailed information on the performance of the New York WAP program.  This analysis provided statewide statistics, results for selected subgroups, and program savings and cost-effectiveness statistics.
Niagara Mohawk’s Low-Income Customer Assistance Program (LICAP) was designed to address the problems of low-income customers who are unable to pay their full energy bills. Payment-troubled customers may receive an affordable payment arrangement, energy use management education, and a variety of energy efficiency services including weatherization and energy efficient appliance replacement. APPRISE conducted Process and Impact Evaluations of this program.
NYSERDA’s EmPower Program provides cost-effective electric reduction measures to low-income households. These measures include lighting and refrigerator replacements, insulation, air sealing, heating system repair and replacement, and health and safety measures. The program provides in-home energy use education to customers to assist them with strategies for managing their energy costs. Participants are also invited to energy-use management and financial management workshops held in communities across the state. APPRISE conducted surveys with EmPower Program participants to assess pre- and post-program energy use and potential opportunities to refine the program. APPRISE conducted surveys with nonparticipants to assess barriers to program participation.
The Ohio Department of Development, Office of Energy Efficiency, has implemented programs funded by the Universal Service Fund. Participating customers receive cost-effective energy efficiency services and education targeted at reducing electric usage. APPRISE conducted a Process Evaluation of this program. The work included review of all program documents; interviews with program managers, staff, and contractors; observation of service delivery; customer surveys; contractor surveys; and economic analysis of the impacts of the program on Ohio’s economy.
Ohio’s Department of Development, Office of Community Services, was awarded a REACh grant to research how to provide additional resources to low-income weatherization services in a way that addresses the more comprehensive needs of low-income households. These funds were used to assess the in-home environmental health risks for vulnerable individuals, prioritize usage reduction measures to meet the energy and health needs of vulnerable individuals, and provide additional measures that enhance the health and safety of the home. The program also established a partnership with vulnerable households to take actions to mitigate the environmental health risks in the home and refer clients to other services that can improve the health of the home and the clients who live there. APPRISE conducted a process and impact evaluation of this project.

PECO’s Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) provides energy efficiency services and energy education to PECO’s low-income customers to reduce their energy usage and increase the affordability of their energy bills. The LIURP evaluations estimate the impact of LIURP on participants’ energy usage, energy bills, and payment compliance and survey customers to analyze the impact of energy education and program satisfaction. In the 2016 and 2017 program evaluations, APPRISE also conducted observations of audits on a sample of jobs. This research provides information on potential changes to program services and implementation that may lead to increased program savings.

PGW’s Home Comfort Program provides no-cost comprehensive weatherization treatments to selected high-usage PGW customers. APPRISE’s most recent evaluation analyzed the 2018 program participants and estimated energy savings, assessed savings achieved by individual contractors and energy efficiency measures, and analyzed bill savings.  Previous evaluations included analysis of client targeting; interviews with program managers and implementation contractors; and review of inspection reports to identify how PGW can improve the program’s efficiency and effectiveness.

PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) implemented the Winter Relief Assistance Program (WRAP) in 1984 to help reduce electric bills and improve home comfort for low-income customers. The objectives of the WRAP are to reduce energy usage and bills of low-income customers and to increase low-income customers’ ability to pay their electric bills, resulting in reduced arrearages. The program also aims to increase health, safety, and comfort for low-income occupants; create and maintain partnerships with community based organizations and contractors; and make referrals to other low-income assistance programs. APPRISE conducted a comprehensive Process and Impact evaluation of PPL’s WRAP. The research consisted of administrative interviews, review of program procedures, on-site observation of service delivery, customer interviews, service delivery provider interviews, and usage and payment impact analyses.

PSE&G implemented a low-income multi-family smart thermostat pilot program in their New Jersey service territory in 2018. The program installed Nest, Honeywell, and Ecobee thermostats in 943 units within 16 projects, half of which also received a network solution for connectivity. APPRISE conducted a comprehensive evaluation of this pilot program. This research included market characterization to assess the potential for expanded implementation; interviews with property managers, implementation staff, and building managers; a quantitative survey with program participants; and a usage impact analysis to estimate the impact of the program on electric and gas usage.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) Low Income Weatherization Program provides no-cost energy services to qualified low-income residential customers. The goals of the program are to reduce electric bills, improve safety and comfort, provide energy education to reduce usage and lower bills, and partner with contractors and community organizations in providing these services. APPRISE’s comprehensive evaluation included needs assessment, interviews with program administrators and contractors, a participant survey, on-site inspections of completed jobs, and billing analysis to measure the impacts on energy usage.
UGI’s Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) provides no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income customers in its service territory. APPRISE conducted a Process and Impact Evaluation of this program. The research included review and assessment of program materials and procedures, on-site interviews with UGI managers and staff, in-depth telephone interviews with a sample of program participants, and analysis of the program’s impact on the energy usage of participating customers.
The Vermont REACh program created a private, non-profit energy consumers’ cooperative called Consumerco. This cooperative aims to achieve the Vermont REACh goal by providing comprehensive energy and efficiency services to its members. Consumerco aims to assist its low-income consumers in attaining energy self-sufficiency by instructing them how to minimize energy usage, choose the most cost-effective fuel, obtain the least cost supply of fuel, receive fuel assistance, and finance weatherization. In this project, we conducted background research, provided a process evaluation of the Consumerco, provided a process evaluation of the case management, and conducted an impact evaluation. We furnished concrete performance data and program documentation to the federal LIHEAP office and REACh program managers.