Energy Prices, Increased Demand,
Push Programs to the Max
Across the country, the winter of 2003-04 is shaping up as one of the worst in years, especially for the low income. Newspapers are reporting record numbers of people applying at local LIHEAP offices, with staff warning that available funds will not meet the demand.
Preliminary national data indicate a 10 percent increase in people applying for LIHEAP, with some states reporting larger increases, according to Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association.
Additionally, nearly all states are reporting dramatic increases in natural gas prices, (gas is the fuel used by the majority of low-income households) as well in heating oil and other energy prices.
Officials in some states have called upon their Congressional delegations for increases in 2004 LIHEAP funding, as well as for release of LIHEAP emergency contingency funds. Congressional representatives from Northeast states cited a "weather emergency" in the region.
The governor of Maine declared a state of emergency in mid-January in order to temporarily waive transportation rules and allow fuel oil delivery drivers to work additional hours. Maines population, especially the low income, relies heavily on fuel oil for heating. National groups such as the National Fuel Funds Network, the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance (see story on page 2), and the National Energy Assistance Directors Association have taken action to increase awareness of the funding needs of LIHEAP and other low-income energy programs.
LIHEAP Funding Status
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-199) was passed by the Senate on January 22 and signed by the President on January 23, providing FY 2004 appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services and several other government agencies.
A total of $1.8 billion has been appropriated for the FY 2004 LIHEAP program, as well as an additional $100 million in emergency contingency funds. The Act provides an across the board rescission of 0.59 percent for all programs and program categories. The final amounts for LIHEAP are $1,789,380,000 for the regular block grant and $99,410,000 for contingency funds. View a table listing final state, tribal and territorial allocations.
February 23-24, 2004: NEADA Winter Meeting, Washington Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C. Visit the NEADA website for more information and registration.
June 6-7, 2004: National Fuel Funds Network, 20th Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.
June 7, 2004: National Energy Assistance DirectorsAssociation Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri.
June 7-10, 2004: National Low Income Energy Consortium, 18th Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.
National Groups Strategize to Increase
of Low-Income Energy Funding Needs
To mitigate the potentially disastrous impact of the higher natural gas and home heating oil prices this heating season, the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) has launched a national effort to generate increased donations to fuel funds and to increase awareness of them.
Called the Mobilization for Charitable Energy Assistance, the effort is aimed at governors because NFFN sees them as in unique position to command attention and initiate events to highlight the need for energy assistance, said NFFN Executive Director George Coling. NFFN Chair Carol Clements wrote all fifty governors on October 30 and presented them with an action plan that included suggestions to help build charitable energy assistance resources. The suggestions included declaring a Fuel Fund Day, organizing an Energy Assistance Summit and holding media events.
"High home energy costs, combined with a slowly recovering economy, high unemployment rates, and increased poverty rates have created a situation where record numbers of families including thousand of households in your state cannot afford their energy bills," Clements wrote. A copy of NFFNs Mobilization toolkit for its members and others interested is available on its website.
As of mid-January, Coling said the campaign had directly generated only one event; Connecticuts Lieutenant Governor held a press event. However, hes hoping that follow-up actions will generate more activity in the next several months. (Note: a number of governors and utility regulatory commissions have directed additional money to LIHEAP offices in the past several months. See next story.)
Additionally, NFFN decided to make its Washington Action Day for LIHEAP an annual event, and the event was held on January 20. Coling reported that 27 fuel fund representatives traveled to Washington and met with Congressional representatives to stress the need for stable LIHEAP funding. For more information on Action Day, see the NFFN website.
Another national group, The Campaign for Home Energy Assistance, has created a new publication, The LIHEAP Databook, containing national and state-by-state information on LIHEAP funding. State-by-state tables show the number of households in a state that are eligible for LIHEAP assistance, the number who receive heating and cooling help, and the percentage of eligible households receiving assistance. Tables also show the percentage of LIHEAP recipients in a state who are elderly, disabled, or have children in their homes, and compare the average residential energy cost for a LIHEAP recipient in a state with the average household LIHEAP heating and cooling benefits in that state.
For sources, the book used data from the LIHEAP Report to Congress and LIHEAP Home Energy Notebook, both produced annually by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Energy Assistance, and findings from a nationwide study titled The Home Energy Affordability Gap, by Roger Colton of Fisher Sheehan & Colton.
The Databook can be viewed on the Campaign's website at www.liheap.org.
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States Supplement LIHEAP from Varied Sources;
Most Cite Higher Natural Gas Prices
The continued volatility of natural gas and heating oil prices, a harsher winter and high unemployment in many states, along with the delayed release of 2004 LIHEAP funds has resulted in some states allocating additional funds for their energy assistance programs. Some examples follow.
In mid-December Colorado Governor Bill Owens provided $10 million to the states LIHEAP office to help low-income Colorado families pay their heating bills.
The action came as the states newspapers reported skyrocketing natural gas prices increases of 73 percent over last year, continuing job losses, and a record number of people behind on their energy bills.
The state money is a portion of the economic-stimulus money that Colorado and other states have received from the federal government under the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.
Responding to an 80 percent increase in the number of families who need help paying their energy bills, Energy Outreach Colorado, a statewide fuel fund (formerly Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation) reported on January 12 that it would tap its reserve funds to release an extra $276,125 to charity agencies across the state.
During October, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) disbursed $13 million for energy assistance and $7.5 million for energy efficiency projects. The agency took less than a month to evaluate proposals for energy assistance grants, citing the need to expedite grant approval in the face of higher natural gas prices.
The majority of the funding, $7.5 million, went to the state LIHEAP office, the Family Independence Agency (FIA), for its State Emergency Relief Fund; $2 million went to the Salvation Army to serve households ineligible for assistance from FIA or for whom such assistance is insufficient or not available, and $3 million went to The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), a fuel fund.
Earlier in the month, the MPSC approved almost $6.8 million in low-income energy efficiency grants to eight organizations around the state.
The organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Michigan Community Action Association, and several community-based organizations, will provide a range of services such as energy efficiency upgrades, weatherization, home audits and inspections, and energy efficiency education.
The grants are part of the Low-Income and Energy Efficiency Fund established as part of Michigan's Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act of 2000 (Public Act 141).
Also, the MPSC approved a proposal by Detroit Edison to provide eligible low-income customers with a one cent per kilowatt hour reduction in current electric rates a discount of approximately $6 a month for a typical customer. The program is expected to extend through the current heating season.
Citing the approach of cold weather and higher natural gas bills, the Georgia Public Service Commission on December 24 approved the disbursement of $6 million to the Department of Human Resources, the states LIHEAP grantee, to provide grants to help low-income senior citizens and other low-income citizens pay their gas heat bills.
Half of the disbursement was targeted for low-income seniors (age 65 and older) while the remainder was set aside for non-senior low-income consumers. The source of the funding is the Universal Service Fund (USF), a trust fund administered by the Commission to be used primarily to provide assistance to low-income citizens in paying their natural gas heating bills.
This was the second allotment the Commission provided during 2003; in February, also citing high gas prices, it released $5 million to the LIHEAP office. (See LIHEAP Networker #48 for more details.)
Federal money also helped Montanas LIHEAP on two occasions late last year. In late November, it received $2 million, a portion of money the state received through the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.
Of the $2 million, $1.5 million was to be used to help pay low-income households winter heating bills, and $500,000 will be used to help weatherize more homes. Additionally, in October, the LIHEAP office received $500,000 as part of a reward to the state for good performance in welfare programs, particularly TANF. That bonus was part of a $3.9 million reward.
Also in October, Montanas universal system fund, set up by deregulation legislation, contributed $1.7 million to state low-income energy assistance programs, including LIHEAP. (See story in the LIHEAP Networker # 48).
On December 17, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved additional funding for gas company low-income energy programs, along with changes to the gas Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). The Commission approved agreements executed by Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) and other intervenor groups with the Dominion East Ohio, Vectren and Columbia Gas companies as part of a bad debt tracker proceeding.
New funding will be added as follows: Dominions weatherization program, Housewarming, will receive an additional $500,000 in funding for the next five years; Columbia Gass WarmChoice weatherization program will receive an additional $500,000 for the next five years, and Vectren will initiate a new weatherization program in the Dayton area funded at $175,000 per year over the next five years. Additionally, Dominion and Columbia will each contribute $175,000 to fuel funds in their respective service territories. Cleveland Housing Network will operate the Dominion program.
All three companies will implement a new arrearage-crediting program for PIPP customers. Under the program, customers making 12 annual payments on time will see one third of their arrearages eliminated. Continuing to make payments for a second 12 months eliminates half of the remaining arrears. Making full, on-time payments for a third 12 months eliminates all PIPP arrearages. At that point, households that continue to make timely payments will have their arrearages zeroed out annually. Households that fail to make a payment start the program over but retain the arrearage forgiveness earned to date.
On December 12, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced the state would provide the LIHEAP with an additional $2 million in heating assistance funds. State officials said unexpected increases in heating bills could occur due to the volatility of natural gas prices and the uncertainty of Illinois winters. The additional funds came from the states Supplemental Low Income Energy Assistance Fund, which results from a surcharge on all gas and electric customers.
On January 20, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) announced funding of $656,000 to HEAT Aid, a program to help customers with arrearages and deposits for reconnection.
LIHEAP-eligible customers, at 125 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines, can receive a maximum of $300 toward their deposit if their NIPSCO gas service currently is disconnected.
Customers with an annual income of 126 percent to 250 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for a maximum of $300 toward their outstanding NIPSCO gas bill. Applicants must have received a delinquent bill notice since November 1, or must be attempting to restore service after disconnection.
All participants must pay a $100 matching contribution to receive NIPSCO aid.
On November 19, Governor Donald Carcieri held a press conference to announce the creation and funding of a special utility restoration fund. The fund will provide assistance to Rhode Islanders whose gas or electricity have been disconnected and are eligible for LIHEAP, but who owe more in bills and fees for service restoration than LIHEAP can provide.
The Governor said he would use approximately $35,000 from his contingency fund to help an estimated 97 Rhode Island families pay enough of their arrears to have their utility service restored. Another 131 families were expected to receive sufficient federal heating subsidies to have their service restored automatically. As a result, 228 families will have their service restored.
The program was initiated through the efforts of the grassroots group ACORN, whose members have been working to win a utility assistance program in the state for the last three years and see the governors action as a first step toward a larger energy affordability program.
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Arkansas Uses Assurance 16 Funds for Short-
and Long-Term Self Sufficiency Initiatives
A community action agency in Arkansas is using LIHEAP Assurance 16 and CSBG funds to develop short- and long-term approaches to moving clients toward self-sufficiency.
Crowley's Ridge Development Council (CRDC) has implemented two programs; the first, developed in 1999, is the short-term assurance 16 (A16) program, accompanied by the long-term self-sufficiency program, Family Enrichment. Clients can participate in either or both programs at the same time, depending on their needs.
Through such features as client incentives, a Family Profile Matrix (used to track a client's progress in both programs,) and by using the same caseworker and records for clients in both programs, the programs have had high completion rates, according to family services manager, Wendy Alexander.
CRDC offers multiple services to low-income clients in eight counties in northeast Arkansas. Each county's Family Service Center serves as a one-stop shop for client assistance. Clients are asked to complete a Needs and Concern Assessment that details the familys needs such as transportation, medical, food, bill assistance or other concerns. This information serves as a launching point for recommended services, programs and external referrals.
If clients come in for utility bill assistance and LIHEAP assistance does not solve the utility crisis, they are referred to the A16 program. If a customer meets all requirements and has not participated within the past two years they are eligible to enter the program. The Family Enrichment program enrolls clients that have multiple needs and recurring crises. Target groups for both programs include single parent households and households with senior and disabled members.
After a client enters either program, the Family Profile Matrix is used: first to assess the family's status in ten areas: employment, job retention, economic self-sufficiency, education, housing, transportation, childcare, health, nutrition and utility consumption, and, second, to track the family's progress toward attaining goals.
The first goal in the A16 program is to identify problem areas and set a monthly budget. After completing that goal, the client receives an incentive to remain in the program, such as a box fan or an electric blanket.
Further goals include practicing energy conservation in the home, maintaining a budget, and attending all group and individual energy education sessions. After completing all goals, the household can receive a $300 credit towards a utility account. A $500 bill credit is available to select households with a senior or disabled member and/or an extremely high monthly gas bill. A household can receive an energy efficient appliance such as a refrigerator or air conditioner or energy efficiency measures such as roofing or attic insulation instead of a bill credit. Or, participants may mix and match bill credits, appliances and efficiency measures, up to a $500 value.
CRDC's A16 program lasts about three-to-five months and served 150 households in 2003 with a completion rate of 70 percent. According to Alexander, most clients complete the program because of the incentives. She added that "putting funds into incentives has made a big difference."
Clients enrolled in the Family Enrichment program are often referred through the A16 program or from other local social service agencies. Family Enrichment participants must be willing to make the commitment to long-term and holistic change and must truly want to become more self-sufficient, says Alexander.
After a caseworker identifies the needs of the entire household, it is enrolled in intensive case management and an individualized program is designed to accomplish long-term goals. Long-term goals are those that will help a family become more self-sufficient and are different for every family, Alexander noted. The most common long-term goals are purchase of a home, increasing education or job skills, obtaining and retaining a job for at least a year, and increasing income. For households with disabled or senior members, self-sufficiency goals often focus on obtaining affordable housing, maintaining a continuous flow of income, or managing health-related expenses.
The Family Profile Matrix tracks the household over the entire history of the case with a baseline measurement taken at the onset of case activity. Every six months the caseworker evaluates and graphs the family's progress. Even after a family attains its goals, it is tracked for six to nine months or sometimes longer to make certain the family remains stable.
Participation in the Family Enrichment program is very selective and has a small dropout rate. Each county office enrolls 20 to 25 households for a total of 160 to 200 participants out of 20,000 agency clients in the eight counties.
While Alexander says the programs are expensive, she also pointed out that local businesses benefit from incentive equipment purchases and local workers are hired for repairs and installation of home energy equipment. Local utility companies benefit from a stronger relationship with A16 customers who have current accounts and have better control over energy usage. And, she added, when community members attain self-sufficiency, the burden on the LIHEAP is reduced.
For more information contact Wendy Alexander at (870) 935-8610 or email@example.com.
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Blackfeet REACH Creates Energy
The Blackfeet Nation of Montana has received three $150,000 REACH grants. Each grant has built upon the previous one, culminating in a tribal program with a more comprehensive approach to energy efficiency.
The initial award in 2000 funded a project to determine if energy efficiency measures and energy conservation education could decrease energy use in homes by 10 percent. Fifty homes received energy audits and weatherization measures that included insulation, new storm windows and doors, caulking, and weather stripping. All households received basic energy conservation education and some were provided with programmable thermostats.
Energy usage in most of the homes decreased by 10 - 12 percent. Only a few households didn't reach the 10 percent goal, and those had justifying circumstances such as a newborn baby, an elderly person or more than one family in the home. For more details, see the LIHEAP Networker #40.
According to Jerry Blevins, program coordinator, the most interesting outcome of the project was the tribes discovery of several critical issues on the reservation: a lack of building codes, improper inspections of newly constructed or remodeled homes, and use of low quality materials in new or remodeled homes.
These findings highlighted the tribes need to establish an energy conservation department. This was accomplished through the tribe's second REACH grant; a Building Safety and Energy Conservation Department was created to put all weatherization programs under one umbrella so activities could be streamlined. The Department also develops and controls building codes and inspections. LIHEAP and other family services also are part of the Department, which now functions as a one-stop shop for clients seeking varied forms of assistance.
"Many people come in with high energy bills but don't know what they need," Blevins said. A holistic approach to assisting a client may include energy assistance, referrals to family services, budget counseling or referrals to programs outside the Department.
A third REACH grant, now getting underway, will help create a Reclamation Center. "There is a lot of housing rehabilitation and remodeling done on the reservation and a lot of the materials removed from homes are going to waste," said Blevins, adding that the Center will take the cast-off items, and repair, remodel and reuse them. The Center will also have a materials resource directory.
The Center will be open to both LIHEAP eligible and non-eligible households because many whose income level is slightly above LIHEAP eligibility are falling through the cracks, Blevins said. If someone can't afford a new door, they will be able to purchase one for half price at the Reclamation Center.
Reclamation Center customers are expected to contribute a few hours of work at the center; in return they may receive help paying an energy bill or discounted materials. It's a two-way relationship, Blevins said, in that the Center uses human resources and skills and the customers receive bill assistance and affordable materials.
For more information, contact Jerry Blevins at 406-338-3761.
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Salish-Kootenai Use REACH to Help
Seniors and TANF Households
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana received REACH awards in 2002 and 2003. Funds from the 2002 grant of $150,000 are being used to weatherize homes and provide energy conservation education to household members.
The program targets seniors who use multiple fuels in their homes, such as electricity, wood and fuel oil and who receive more than one source of energy assistance, for example, LIHEAP and tribal funds. Once a household is identified, a comprehensive energy audit determines what types of repairs will benefit the household the most. Weatherization measures include heating system repairs, insulation, and installing storm windows and doors.
Since the program started in September 2002, 15 retrofits have been completed. Household members also receive energy conservation education, either one-on-one or in groups through senior centers. Energy education focuses on changing usage patterns and learning new ways to conserve energy.
In 2003, the tribe received a $121,625 REACH award to operate a pilot program with the local housing authority. It is a "mentoring" program that targets TANF and other households that are most vulnerable to losing their homes and teaches them how to care for their homes and manage their bills. Households enter into one-on-one case management and attend energy education workshops.
According to Teresa Wall-McDonald, project director, low-income families who are evicted for not paying rent or energy bills often move into substandard housing where energy bills may be four times higher. The goal of REACH is to keep families in standard housing and make energy costs more manageable.
Wall-McDonald is excited about this program and says it's the most important one that benefits tribal TANF. She emphasized that a household "can't be self-sufficient if they don't have a home; kids can't go to school if they don't have a home."
The program started in October 2003 and has 31 clients enrolled.
For more information, contact Teresa Wall-McDonald 406- 675-2700, ext. 1049
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Renewables and the Low Income:
Programs in FL, HI, PA Show Savings
In the late 1970s, installation of renewable technologies in low-income homes was funded and supported by federal and state governments. Since the late 1990s, governments are once again supporting renewables.
Low-income weatherization agencies in several states have examined the feasibility of installing solar technologies in low-income homes. These include both northern states such as Pennsylvania, and southern, such as Florida. Several recent or current projects are examined below.
Solar water heaters are again available to Florida low-income households, after a hiatus of several years.
In the late 1990s, the Solar Weatherization Assistance Program (SWAP) a partnership of federal and state agencies installed solar water heaters in 800 low-income Florida households.
The University of Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) took advantage of the states sunny, tropical climate to design a system that was both simple and relatively inexpensive, according to Senior Research Analyst John Harrison. He said that the hot water systems cost about $1,550 per unit compared to a more typical price tag of $3,000 to $4,000 per unit and generally paid for themselves in energy savings within five years.
In households that had detailed instrument monitoring, residents reduced their water heating energy consumption and costs by more than half, and there was an average annual energy savings of $140 per system.
Nine local agencies, mostly community action agencies that administer Floridas Weatherization Assistance Program, did the SWAP installations and subsequent audits, in cooperation with the FSEC.
Now a new, one-year program will install about 150 hot water heaters in 10 to 20 communities under the auspices of the Florida Front Porch initiative, which makes various kinds of grants available for community revitalization projects. The Front Porch solar water-heating program is being funded through the state Energy Office out of Petroleum Violation Escrow funds money that became available to states as a result of oil company violations of federal pricing controls in the 1980s; they are to "be used to provide indirect restitution to energy consumers through a variety of energy-related programs."
Low-income households that qualify for weatherization measures under the Weatherization Assistance Program also qualify for the solar water heaters if they have "maxed out" the amount of money that can be spent weatherizing their homes, according to Colleen Kettles, executive director of the Florida Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, which is under contract with the state Energy Office to oversee the water heater program. Other considerations for selecting households are household size, structural integrity of the roof, and how exposed the structure is to the sun.
Kettles said that the foundation has solicited bids from solar contractors, including community action agencies that have weatherization experience, and began installing systems in late July or early August. Installations are scheduled for completion by February 2004. The foundation also plans to track household energy bills to monitor how the solar hot water systems "change" energy costs.
For more information, contact Colleen Kettles at 407-786-1799 or John Harrison at 321-638-1506.
Another state taking advantage of its abundant solar resources is Hawaii, where 20,000 solar water-heating systems have been installed since 1996. These measures are particularly important in a state where electric rates ranged from 13.6 to 21.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2002, the highest in the nation.
In April 2003, the City/County of Honolulu and the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) announced that they have formed a partnership to make it easier for low- and moderate-income households and landlords to install solar water heaters. Available on the island of Oahu, the Honolulu Solar Roofs Initiative has begun offering seven-year loans at zero percent (for low-income) and two percent (for moderate income).
Financing for the initiative is an offshoot of the City of Honolulus Rehabilitation Loan Program, funded by Community Development Block Grant funds. CDBG guidelines stipulate that low-income households must be at or under 60 percent of the Oahu median income; moderate-income households are those within 80 percent of the median income. For a low-income household, this translates to $39,100 for a family of four.
Additional incentives, available to all residential customers, are a $750 rebate and technical assistance from HECO and a 35 percent tax credit from the state. As Steve Holmes, Honolulus Energy/Sustainability Coordinator explained, "With the solar portion, the installation cost minus the credits and rebates still leaves them with a monthly bill lower than what they would have been paying, because of the energy savings. Free solar!"
Because Hawaiian homes dont have furnaces, and few have air conditioning, water heaters account for about 60 percent of residential electric bills. Thus, solar hot water heaters can reduce those bills by nearly 60 percent.
The partnership began offering the loans and rebates in May 2003. Holmes said that although there has been no formal marketing of the program, solar contractors are reporting strong interest and expect a 30 to 40 percent increase in business.
All contractors licensed to install the systems have been trained by HECO and are required to provide a one-year warranty. HECO also inspects every installation and withholds the rebate check to the contractor until all deficiencies are corrected.
For more information, contact Steve Holmes at 808-523-4714 or Fred Kobashikawa (HECO) at 808-543-7753.
Pennsylvania is one of several states with electric restructuring legislation that created universal services funds (USF) also known as public benefits funds or universal systems benefits funds to provide money for conservation, renewable energy, low-income assistance, and, in Pennsylvania, a low-income renewables pilot.
Restructuring agreements with four of the states largest electric utilities stipulated that about $3.2 million in USF be used for specific renewables applications in low-income homes, mostly solar hot water heaters and photovoltaic panels. Slightly less than half of this amount was spent on the water heaters.
The solar hot water program, which began in the late 1990s, is almost complete, according to Cal Birge, energy analyst for the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. The program was originally scheduled for completion by December 2003. However, it has been extended into 2004, when the utilities will evaluate how much energy the water heaters saved. The total number of installed units will be 210 in PECO territory, 41 in PPL territory, 42 in GPU territory, and 6 in West Penn/Allegheny territory.
Birge said that the program includes a five-year maintenance warranty for each installation, education for the households that received the water heaters, and evaluation to measure savings, customer satisfaction, and how well the recipients take care of the systems.
PECO, which has installed the largest number of solar water heating systems, has calculated that a typical system saves between 1,600 and 2,300 kilowatt-hours per year, Birge said. He noted that "savings have many factors and are at the mercy of the mechanicals involved with the system."
According to Darrell Brubaker of the Commission on Economic Opportunity, a community action agency that administers some of the USF monies for the low-income pilot, the solar hot water heaters cost between $3,000 and $4,000, although some can be installed for as little as $1,500. He said that these water-heating systems pay for themselves through lowered energy costs in between seven and nine years, depending on how much the consumer is paying for electricity and the cost of the system.
For more information, contact Cal Birge at 717-783-1555.
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Energy Price Volatility, Poverty Data
Posted on NCLC Website
State-by-state tables detailing volatility of natural gas and electricity prices for the past 13 years have been posted on the website of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).
The volatility analyses are a tool that advocates and researchers can use to compare average annual volatility for natural gas and electricity for the pre-and post deregulation years.
NCLC used the Department of Energys Energy Information Administration residential natural gas and electricity monthly price data for each state, graphed it along with long-term trend lines, and calculated annual price volatility in adjoining tables.
Similarly, NCLC has compiled state-by-state tables that detail ratio of income to poverty changes that occurred between the 1990 and 2000 Census surveys.
"Whenever we work for new low-income payment assistance or efficiency resources, or push for enhanced regulatory consumer protections, we need to provide decision-makers with good poverty and price data," said NCLCs John Howat, the author of the tables.
For more information about the tables, contact Howat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-542-8010 ext. 328
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Plan Now for Joint Conferences
Its not too early to start planning to attend the years premier low-income energy event, the 2004 Joint Low Income Energy Conferences of the three major national entities: the National Fuel Funds Network, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, and the National Low Income Energy Consortium.
A highlight of the event will be a celebration of the NFFN's 20th anniversary, including a gala dance June 7 at the close of NFFNs annual conference.
Further details will be available in the NLIEC registration brochure, to be mailed in the spring. Dates and location are as follows:
Information will also be available at www.nliec.org
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