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Nevada Assistance Program Evaluation Released

The 2008 evaluation of Nevada's state-funded energy assistance and weatherization program is available on the program's website. Titled "State Fiscal Year 2008 Evaluation of the NRS 702 Energy Assistance Program & Weatherization Assistance Program," it is the sixth mandatory annual evaluation.

The program coordinates funds from a universal energy charge (UEC) that is assessed on most gas and electric utility customers with LIHEAP and other funds to create a statewide affordability and energy efficiency program. Program participants pay no more than the state median household energy burden (3.53 percent for 2008) for their energy bills, with the remainder covered by UEC funds and LIHEAP. Participants receive an annual, one- time per year benefit paid directly to their energy provider(s) and credited to their bill.They also receive assistance in paying past due bills.

The UEC generates about $12 million annually with 75 percent distributed to the Nevada State Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, the state LIHEAP grantee, and the remainder to the state weatherization grantee, the Nevada Housing Division.

During SFY 2008 the program spent just over $10 million in UEC funds for energy assistance for 16,545 households, providing an average benefit of $795 (including some LIHEAP funds); it also spent $1.3 million for arrearage assistance for 3,702 households, and $3.3 million for weatherization.

Completed in January by H. Gil Peach & Associates LLC., the evaluation summarizes program progress through June 2008. It recommended that income eligibililty (currently 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines) be expanded for the program due to an expected increase in applicants due to the economic downturn.

Source: Nevada DWSS