November 21, 2014—Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had approved its effort to require state LIHEAP grantees to collect and report information related to four new performance measures. The measures focus on data related to home energy burden and continuity of service. States can report the new data for Fiscal Year 2015 and will be required to report it in FY 2016.
HHS will be collecting and synthesizing data for the following performance measures (see also the table below):
- Benefit Targeting Index for High Burden Households - measures the extent to which the highest benefits are provided to households with the highest energy burden;
- Energy Burden Reduction Index for High Burden Households - measures the extent to which LIHEAP benefits are adequate to deliver the same energy burden reduction to high burden recipient households as to low and moderate burden households;
- Prevention of Loss of Home Energy Services - the unduplicated count of households where LIHEAP prevented the loss of utility services; and
- Restoration of Home Energy Services - the unduplicated count of households where LIHEAP restored utility services.
The formal process for implementing the performance measures began in June 2013, when HHS published a notice in the Federal Register about supplementary data reporting by state grantees.
In December 2013, HHS announced based on feedback it had received, it would be making some modifications to its original proposal. The modifications included making some data elements optional that were initially mandatory and developing best practices and procedures to help grantees collect high quality data with the least amount of burden, among other changes.
In June 2014, HHS published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its new proposal. It was that proposal on which the OMB gave clearance this week. The following table outlines the performance measures and the data elements that go with them.
Proposed Measure Data Elements Benefit Targeting Index and Energy Burden Reduction Index For all bill-payment households, by main heating fuel and for all high energy burden households (top 25 percent), by main heating fuel
- Average income
- Average benefit
- Annual cost of main heating fuel
- Annual electricity cost
- Annual consumption of main heating fuel (optional)
- Annual consumption of electricity (optional)
Prevention of Loss of Home Energy Services (unduplicated number of households)
- Number of households where utility service termination was prevented
- Number of households where a fuel delivery prevented loss of service
- Number of households where heating or cooling equipment was repaired or replaced prior to failure
Restoration of Home Energy Services
- Number of households where utility service was restored
- Number of households where a fuel delivery was made to a home that was out of fuel
- Number of households where broken hearing or cooling equipment was fixed
Source: OCS, "Dear Colleague Letter," Dec. 17, 2013
Source: US Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children and Families/Office of Community Services