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Maine's REACH Program

Allocation: 1998, $ 1,562,050, including $100,000 in Energy Efficiency Education Fund.

Program Purpose
The purposes for the Reach Initiative are: minimize health and safety risks that result from high energy bills; increase efficiency of energy usage to low-income families; and target energy assistance to individuals who are most in need.

Project Assumption
HEAP eligible households spend, on average, a disproportionate amount (15%) or more of their
annual household income on essential electrical energy needs in comparison to median income
households which, on average spend less than 5% of annual income on electrical energy needs.

Project Goal
To assist low-income households in moving toward energy self-sufficiency through the successful implementation of energy conservation measures that will result in a reduction to the energy cost burden in all low-income HEAP households.

The target population is Maine's entire LIHEAP applicant population, totaling 45,000+ households. The program will deliver a four-tiered conservation model, consisting of:

Tier 1- Distribution of conservation education information and information to be used to make an educated utility restructuring choice. We are developing a folder of energy conservation tips that will be distributed to all 45,000 LIHEAP clients during the LIHEAP intake process.

Tier 2- Home energy audits to include recommendations for homeowners on energy conservation activities, and referral to other energy management programming, as well as other needed services. Approximately 1325 to 2200 LIHEAP households with the highest energy burden will be targeted for audits.

Tier 3- Appliance repair and replacement and other energy use reduction measures. Approximately 260 to 330 client households with a minimum 15000 kWh usage -will receive replacement appliances.

Tier 4- Heating systems conversions in electrically heated households. Approximately 106 electrically heated homes with a minimum 15000 kWh usage will receive conversion to a less costly heating system.

Tier One Intervention Pilot

Pilot Projects: Kennebec Valley Community Action Program
Washington-Hancock Community Agency

Soon after the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) received word that Maine's REACH grant was funded a committee was identified to design and implement the client education component of the REACH project. Energy Efficiency Education is the first of a series of interventions designed to reduce energy usage in LIHEAP households.

The Energy Education Committee includes representation from MSHA, Community Action Agencies, the Office of the Public Advocate, the REACH program evaluator and others with expertise in utility restructuring, education, and energy conservation.

The committee assumed responsibility for the development of educational materials related to utility restructuring and energy conservation techniques. The educational effort focuses on energy usage reduction measures that can be easily implemented and will conserve electric energy use in the home.

Two agencies volunteered to pilot REACH education activities by implementing the education component during the current LIHEAP program year. Those agencies received training on all aspects of Maine's REACH project, as well as, information regarding utility restructuring in Maine. The emphasis of the training was related to how behavior change can cause dramatic reductions in energy consumption.

Both sites implemented the pilot program at the beginning of February. Preliminary reports early in March indicated that clients were responding well to the energy conservation information and demonstrating more interest in utility restructuring than had been anticipated. Formal post 30 days follow up is built into the energy education model.

The pilot projects both identified the cost of materials (caulking, weather-stripping, gaskets,) as a barrier to installation. In response to this concern, MSHA was able to obtain these materials for free distribution to clients.

At the end of April the pilot projects will be completed. Both project managers will present findings and recommendations at a statewide training to be held prior to full implementation of the REACH project scheduled for July 1999.

Teams have been created to facilitate and direct the various components of Maine's REACH program. The teams are as follows: EDUCATION, AUDIT, APPLIANCE/HEAT CONVERSION, EVALUATION. Each team is made up of uniquely qualified individuals representing MSHA, Community Action Agency partners, State Agencies, and others.

Timeline for Implementation The contract timeline is October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2001. The contract will require a "tier specific" workplan. (Beginning February 1, 1999 KVCAP and WHCA will Pilot Energy Education testing the education packets and follow up options.) A sample Intake Form is Attachment 1a. Statewide Energy Education interventions will begin August 1, 1999 consistent with the start of FY2000 LIHEAP.

Tier 2 through 4 interventions are based on the results of the Energy Audit. Audits now performed by CAA Housing Divisions as a part of the Weatherization process do not include a component specific to electrical energy conservation. This component is being developed and will be delivered either independently to households or as a part of larger weatherization audit. The audit, appliance, and conversion components of REACH are scheduled to begin August 1, 1999.

Maine's REACH program is being evaluated by a third party. We have entered into a consulting contract with Dr. John Joseph, Professor of Economics at Thomas College and former Director of the Maine's Office of Energy Resources. Dr. Joseph, as the project evaluator, has been involved in all preliminary team meetings describing the "logic model" of evaluation. Dr. Joseph's program evaluation will include but are not limited to (a) collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, (b) drafting a process study to monitor program progress and determine whether the program has been carried out as planned (i.e. documenting how the program evolved, highlighting important implementation strategies and barriers), (c) drafting an outcome study to determine changes in client behavior and attitude, and change* in household energy consumption levels, (d) completing annual progress reports, and one final report (in a form suitable for publication).

Evaluation Overview/Maine Reach Project

Purpose of the evaluation:

1. To provide feedback for program modification and improvement.
2. To provide for the replication of successful efforts.
3. To provide data and information, essential for congressional support.

The evaluator will work interactively with the project teams.

Energy Use Reduction Measures & Appliance Replacement
Heating System Conversion
Reach Steering Committee

The evaluation will cover the process and the outcomes.

Process Evaluation Requirements

The process evaluation will:

1. Document how the program evolved
2. Examine MSHA and CAP implementation of strategy
3. Examine administrative methodologies

Work plans
Procedures manuals

4. Document training of staff

Number of training sessions
Attendance at training sessions
Materials used Training allocated
Delivery of training

5. Examine effectiveness of outreach methodology
6. Evaluate service delivery models utilized

Work teams
Integration with existing programs

7. Review coordination among MSHA, CAP agencies, the PUC, utilities and vendors.
8. Assess the adequacy of existing data collection and management systems to support project
9. Examine ongoing project modifications
10. Examine follow-up activities
11. Identify major milestones achieved

Outcome Study Requirements

The outcomes study will determine: Whether participants demonstrated knowledge gain around

Utility restructuring
Cost comparisons between suppliers
Supplier selection

2. Whether participants reported increased knowledge of

Self-help energy conservation measures

3. Whether participants could identify having implemented at least three measures
4. Whether energy consumption was reduced by 8-15% in all participating LIHEAP households
5. Whether a 40% reduction was achieved in electrically heated households using over 15,000 kwh/yr.
6. Whether audited houses will report improved

Long-term management capabilities
Improved comfort levels
Improved home safety

7. Whether clients will report improved regularity of utility bill payments
8. Identify which conservation measures

Were initiated in households
Were not initiated and why not

9. Whether household characteristics, including demographics had any effect on household outcomes

Attachment II: Evaluation Flow Chart
Attachment 1a: Sample Intake Form

Contact the LIHEAP Clearinghouse for copies of the attachments, (406) 494-8662