April 1, 2016—The LIHEAP Clearinghouse recently produced a four-page issue brief titled, "Collaboration between LIHEAPs and Public Utility Commissions.”
The issue brief explores how LIHEAPs can benefit from developing relationships with their public utility regulators. Both entities acquire information and data that can help the other carry out its responsibilities. This issue brief examines the benefits of data collection and working together to secure and/or distribute supplemental energy-assistance funding to both LIHEAPs and public utility commissions (PUCs).
The issue brief explains how data collected by PUCs may help LIHEAPs meet reporting requirements. In January 2017 LIHEAP Performance Measures reporting requirements will go into effect for Fiscal Year 2016. State grantees will then be required to report how many of their LIHEAP recipients had their utility service restored as a result of LIHEAP assistance, as well as the number of recipients who would have lost utility service without the intervention of LIHEAP funds.
The data LIHEAPs gather about recipients can provide a valuable picture to PUCs when it comes to how utility rate cases and ratepayer-funded assistance programs could impact vulnerable communities. PUCs generally provide oversight of ratepayer-funded programs and determine the amount of the surcharges that fund the programs. The expertise LIHEAPs have when it comes to identifying and conducting outreach to low-income households at the community level can be especially beneficial.
Sources: LIHEAP Clearinghouse