Energy efficiency programs aimed at low-income customers can be beneficial to the utility and to the customer.  There are several reasons why community-owned utilities may want to promote and support low-income energy efficiency retrofits:

Highest Cost Customers to the Utility and the Community: A large and growing number of low-income customers are delinquent in payment, have sought utility or government financial assistance, or have been shut off.  That in turn has led to a jump in many types of government outlays for services like foreclosure assistance and emergency shelter.

Good Bang for the Buck: Low-income homes are typically much less energy efficient than average because of their age and condition.  Many lack even basic energy features, such as adequate attic insulation or doors/windows that seal properly.

Energy Demand and Costs Are Rising: While the recession has resulted in a slight dip in energy consumption, it is expected that demand and costs will soon resume their upward march.

State and Federal Legislation Is Rapidly Shifting to Mandatory Conservation: Several states have an Energy Efficiency or Renewable Portfolio Standard that includes energy efficiency, and more are considering one.


Low-Income Energy Assistance and Weatherization Web Resources

The following are some Low-Income Assistance Web sites for educating consumers about the resources available to low-income customers. These can be linked to your Web site and included in utility publications and communications.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for Children and Families, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
The Division of Energy Assistance in the Office of Community Services of the Administration for Children and Families administers LIHEAP and also the LIHEAP Clearinghouse. LIHEAP provides federal funds and technical assistance to help eligible low income households meet their home heating and/or cooling needs.
Federal Government Agencies, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Office of Community Services
Division of Energy Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, DC 20447
(202) 401-9351
Fax: (202) 401-5661

The Campaign for Home Energy Assistance
This Web resource is sponsored by the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance. Included here is general information about the LIHEAP program and who it serves, media information, news, and ideas for what you can do to help save LIHEAP.

Support LIHEAP
"Support LIHEAP" provides advocacy materials on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in order to get the word out to the U.S. Congress that it should fully fund the program in fiscal year 2006. This Web site has facts about LIHEAP and the households it serves, as well as quotes from public officials and organizations about the importance of LIHEAP.

National Center for Appropriate Technology LIHEAP Clearinghouse
The Clearinghouse collects, develops, organizes and disseminates information on low-income energy issues to: state, tribal, and territorial LIHEAP grantees; community action agencies and local government offices (subgrantees); low-income energy service organizations; fuel funds; utilities and utility regulatory commissions.

National Fuel Funds Network
The National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) promotes all types of energy assistance programs--including fuel funds--and advocates for fair home energy policies. NFFN members such as community-based organizations, local government agencies, and utility partners raise and distribute money for bill-payment assistance in neighborhoods across the country.

Weatherization Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Energy
The Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge.

Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center
This site provides weatherization practitioners and other energy conservation professionals with information related to the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), its on-going operations, and its partnerships with stakeholders.