The LIHEAP Clearinghouse Summary of Supplements to Energy Assistance and Energy Efficiency is a continuously updated, state-by-state compilation of the resources that supplement LIHEAP and low-income energy efficiency programs. It includes links to enabling legislation or regulatory commission orders, where available. Resources are grouped into these categories:
- state and local funds
- utility ratepayer funds for energy assistance (including public benefit /universal service funds)
- utility ratepayer funds for energy efficiency (including public benefit /universal service funds)
- private funds (fuel funds, church, charitable and community contributions)
- non-regulated bulk fuel vendor discounts or contributions
- miscellaneous resources
Note: For 2010, the table has been changed to consolidate the categories “State System Benefit Funds: Rate Assistance / Energy Efficiency” and “Utility: Rate Assistance / Energy Efficiency” into one category: “Ratepayer Funds: Rate Assistance / Energy Efficiency.”
Programs in the latter category are those funded by utility ratepayers, including public benefits/universal service programs, which are designated by shading on the 2010 table. While some states refer to such programs and their funding as “state” because the ratepayer funds sometimes revert to state governments and may be administered by state agencies, the funds originate from utility ratepayers through charges assessed on electric and/or gas consumers. Depending on the state, the charge may be referred to as a public goods surcharge, system benefits charge, societal benefits charge, public benefits fee, universal service fee, meters charge, etc.
In most states the charges were authorized or expanded through state electric or natural gas restructuring legislation or regulation during the 1990s and early 2000s.
In contrast, the programs under the category, “State and Local Funds” are from state, county or city governments, through general funds, special taxes, or tax waivers.
Sources of the compilations
- state LIHEAP leveraging reports. (Filed at the end of each fiscal year, these reports summarize by dollar amount and resource category, the non-federal resources states have obtained to supplement energy assistance and energy efficiency for low-income households.
- individual utilities
- utility regulatory commission reports and filings, including resources obtained through utility restructuring
- state government and legislative websites
Limitations of the data
The reported totals are estimates based upon the most reliable and recent data available. However:
- LIHEAP leveraging reports may be outdated. The most recent reports available were submitted in November 2010 for FY 2010.
- Leveraging is voluntary; not all states participate in the LIHEAP leveraging incentive program.
- Leveraging reports do not always give a complete statewide picture. Some resources are not reported through leveraging or are underreported, and some resources, while addressing low-income households' energy needs, are not countable because they are not coordinated and integrated with the state LIHEAP, a requirement under the leveraging program rules. As a result, the tables cite a state's LIHEAP leveraging report when it is the only information available. Where more complete totals are available, they are included in place of reported leveraging totals.
- In some cases, resource totals are what utilities have committed to spend, the resource is estimated based on previous years' reported expenditures, or it is prorated based on a partial year. As a result, year-end totals may differ from the table estimates.
- It should be noted that because a state has no monetary resources listed does not mean it has no energy safety net for low-income households. For example, many states prohibit disconnection of low-income, elderly or disabled households during extreme cold or heat. (For a summary of these prohibitions see " Seasonal Termination Protection Regulations." These and other costs associated with maintaining services to non-paying customers are often included in utilities' uncollectible write-offs.
For more information, follow the links from the tables to the LIHEAP Clearinghouse utility restructuring section where more complete information is presented on low-income energy programs under restructuring, which are constantly changing. For example, each state's public benefits/universal service programs under restructuring legislation or regulatory orders are updated yearly and a history section is included for each.