Integration of LIHEAP with Energy Assistance Programs Created Through Electric and/or Gas Restructuring
Note: The following article is excerpted from the newsletter "Law & Economics Insights," published by Fisher, Sheehan & Colton, Public Finance and General Economics, Issue 00-1: January/February 2000.
Nearly 20 states that have adopted electric and/or natural gas restructuring legislation (or regulatory decisions) have also adopted new mechanisms to support low-income energy assistance programs. These new state initiatives present opportunities for both cooperation and conflict with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
As a result of these new programs, the LIHEAP Advisory Committee on Managing for Results convened a symposium in September 1999 to consider how to maximize the opportunities for cooperation and minimize the potential for conflict between LIHEAP and the new state low-income energy assistance programs. That symposium, chaired by FSC's Roger Colton, was designed to help address federal policy, as articulated in the federal Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), that coordination among federal programs with related responsibilities is essential to efficiently and effectively meet national concerns.
In a paper subsequently prepared for the HHS Office of Children and Families (OCF), FSC laid out a ten-step roadmap for what LIHEAP offices can and should do to promote program integration where appropriate.
1. LIHEAP offices should identify existing program linkages and assess whether these current linkages provide opportunities for program integration with a new energy assistance program created by electric and/or natural gas restructuring legislation.
2. LIHEAP offices should identify and articulate the natural synergies that are inherent in LIHEAP, low income energy assistance programs created through electric/natural gas restructuring statutes, and U.S. Department of Energy weatherization assistance.
3. LIHEAP offices should identify potential program conflicts that are possible in the absence of program linkages and specify the conflict resolution mechanisms that arise from program linkages.
4. LIHEAP offices should identify the potential increase in the delivery of direct dollars of benefits resulting from program linkages.
5. LIHEAP offices should identify the program components where linkage might occur. Program linkages can occur in any of the following program areas: funding; oversight; administration; outreach; or program delivery.
6. LIHEAP offices should identify the existing administrative capacities of alternative program structures. The administrative capacity should consider the program processes involving intake, outreach, and delivery of program benefits.
7. LIHEAP offices should identify all risks to the LIHEAP program that would not exist in the absence of program linkages.
8. LIHEAP offices should identify all barriers that would impede program linkages.
9. LIHEAP offices should document the desired outcomes of existing and proposed programs. "Outcomes" measure program results (e.g., reduced service disconnections, reduced heat-or-eat decisions). They are to be distinguished from (1) activities, which measure the things that programs "do" (dollars delivered, households served); and (2) outputs, which measure the things that programs produce (reductions in home energy burden, reductions in energy consumption).
10. LIHEAP offices should assess the compatibility of program goals of programs for which program linkages are a possibility.
A copy of the complete LIHEAP integration report can be obtained by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.