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State and Territories' Use of Assurance 16

Note: In 1994, a new provision, Assurance 16, was added to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program statute. It provides LIHEAP grantees the option of spending no more than five percent of their LIHEAP funds on services that encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby the need for energy assistance, including needs assessment, counseling, and assistance with energy vendors.

DHCD encourages working with utilities on issues impacting users, particularly elders, expanding education, awareness efforts, and referrals. DHCD monitors Assurance 16 activities conducted by LAAs through annual contracting and monitoring process to ensure compliance with funding requirements.
State
% Funds
Description
Alabama
2020
1
Funds are used for activities that encourage and reduce their home energy needs such as: needs assessments focusing on target groups of the elderly, disabled and small children; energy and financial counseling; and assistance with energy suppliers with the goal to reduce disconnects and shut-offs.
Alaska
2020
5
We are looking into some type of credit counseling for clients who consistently request expedites year after year and any other clients who express an interest in learning how to manage their money.
American Samoa
2020
5
Some of the funds are used to produce and/order energy conservation material to give out during outreach, public hearings, client intake, etc.
Arizona
2020
5
Service Providers offer energy reduction education through various methods such as brochures, teaching applicants during the application process, in-house tutorial videos presented in waiting areas, and/or classes.
Arkansas
2020
5
Assurance 16 activities are services provided which encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby, their need for energy assistance through achieving a higher degree of self-sufficiency. These activities may include, but are not limited to; Needs Assessments, Counseling, Assistance with Energy Suppliers, referrals to other coordinated services, presenting educational programs on fuel usage, meter reading, household budgeting, etc. Case Management Activities (CMA) will be targeted toward applicants of the Crisis Intervention Program and when deemed appropriate and necessary, the Regular Assistance Program.
California
2020
5
Local Service Providers address the energy needs of low-income households by conducting a thorough energy needs assessment of each client, providing budget counseling, energy conservation education, and coordination with utility companies. Whenever possible, weatherization services are also provided to offer a preventive, holistic and long-term solution to energy needs.
Local Service Providers maintain a source document that substantiates that the client was provided these services. The document is kept on file by the contractor and is reviewed during routine program evaluation.
Connecticut
2020
1.21
Assurance 16 funds play a significant role in the ability of community action agencies to provide the appropriate case management activities aimed at reducing reliance on LIHEAP funds and reducing their overall energy needs. Such services include, but are not limited to, assitance with arrearage reduction, non-CEAP funded fuel banks, financial education, energy conservation and vendor mediation.
District of Columbia
2020
2
Up to two (2) percent of awarded funds are used to conduct educational activities to educate participants on how to identify energy waste, increase energy efficiency, and to understand and read their utility bills. These activities are conducted to assist clients in reducing their energy costs. For LIHEAP weatherization cases, DOEE's energy efficiency staff explains his findings to the LIHEAP household members.
Delaware
2020
2.4
DHSS uses LIHEAP funds to provide several Assurance 16 services to eligible clients, inlcuding materials with energy education. Assurance 16 is also utilized for in-kind purchases, like blankets and fans.
LIHEAP CALENDAR
LIHEAP office uses Assurance 16 funds for printing calendars that include energy education and information about various services for the low-income hosueholds, during the program years that it has labor capacity to execute such an activity.
ENERGY EDUCATION Assurance 16 Services
DHSS allocates LIHEAP funds for Assurance 16 to a local agency, First State Community Action Agency, which administers a Replacing/Repairing Heaters & ConservingEnergy (RRHACE) Program and a Summer Cooling Assistance Program (SCAP). Both of these programs target low-income households throughout Delaware, and theAssurance 16 services are provided in addition to the main program services.
RRHACE Assurance 16
Assurance 16 funds are used to provide Energy Conservation Kits (EcoKits) to program participants, to furnish energy education from an Energy Educator, and to sponsor workshops on energy conservation. Program includes an initial assessment of participant's energy usage and behaviors, energy education provided by a trained Energy Educator, sponsored workshops on various energy-related topics held in different locations throughout the state, budget counseling, referrals to other assistance resources and periodic Energy Report Cards that provide participants with information on their energy usage and potential areas of opportunity for saving energy and lowering their bills.
To provide energy education, the Energy Educator reviews client's energy bills and household information.The Energy Educator uses this information to provide personalized energy education to reduce household energy consumption, budget counseling to prevent late payments and disconnections, and information on relevant non-LIHEAP resources that participants may be eligible to receive. These services are designed to reducehousehold energy consumption, reduce energy bills and arrearages, and reduce the need for LIHEAP bill assistance.
For FFY 2020, program is planning to work with APPRISE to implement a new intake approach that will collect key baseline information from each client. This information will allow program to better assess client statuses over time, and it will allow conducting of follow-up survey to obtain a systematic one-year assessment of the changes.
SCAP Assurance 16 Services
SCAP Assurance 16 services are used to provide EcoKits to program participants and providing energy education related to the use of air conditioning equipment. These services were both designed to reduce household energy consumption and reduce the need for LIHEAP bill assistance.
IN-KIND PRODUCTS: BLANKETS and FANS
Assurance 16 funds are used for purchasing blankets and fans. Both of these products are necessary for the low-income population because they conserve energy and decrease energy bills. The blankets keep the clients warm during the cold season so that they don't have to turn up their thermometers and the fans keep the clients cool during the warm season so that they don't have to keep their A/Cs on all the time.
Florida
2020
0.5
The department budgets 0.5 percent of it's LIHEAP funds for Assurance 16 activities. Energy education and financial/budget counseling are allowable costs under the grant. This fund is charged to cost and not to administrative cost and that separate tracking is ensured.
Georgia
2020
0.5
Georgia LIHEAP will set aside 0.5% of the regular LIHEAP funds in FFY 2020 for Assurance 16 services to eligible LIHEAP households. In an effort to address the issues related to lack of heating, choices of unsafe means of heating, cooking and attending to personal needs, the following procedures are in place to perform the following types of activities under Assurance 16: -Mass outreach items given to eligible LIHEAP households. -Consumer counseling regarding bill payments, schedules of payments, unsafe means of heating, energy conservation, budget billing, and other such information necessary to alleviate the energy burden to eligible LIHEAP households.
Idaho
2020
3
DSPs provide a number of ancillary services to encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy consumption to include:

  • Provide information about level payment plans during energy education, targeted to vulnerable populations and fixed income participants;
  • Purchasing low cost/no cost energy conservation measures for non-regulated electric utilities;
  • Leveraging supplemental payments for participants who were unable to obtain their LIHEAP heating assistance benefits or for whom a LIHEAP heating assistance benefit was insufficient to prevent/resolve a heating emergency;
  • Assessment home energy use;
  • Referral to the Weatherization Assistance Program;
  • Provide centralized energy education classes at outreach sites;
  • Tailoring outreach to target households of a specific utilities to increase participation in utility funded energy conservation programs; and
  • Advocate on behalf of households with home energy vendors to prevent disconnection.
Illinois
2020
3
The Department conducts LIHEAP client education and counseling of customers who seek energy assistance. This conunseling will encourage and enable these LIHEAP households to reduce the cost of their home energy through energy conservation and energy lifestyle (behavioral) modifications. This will potentially lower the household's energy cost and reduce the need for energy assistance.
Indiana
2020
5
Indiana uses LIHEAP funds to conduct Family Development and Energy Education.
Family Development provides low-income households with short-term and long-term case management. Clients set goals and receive referrals for education, budgeting, home energy assessments, employment, child care, and a range of other self-sufficiency tools.
EAP clients may also receive energy education which focuses mainly on energy conservation techniques. Some LSPs give pre-test and post-tests to households to determine how the client's energy education knowledge changed after receiving energy education.
Iowa
2020
3
Allowable activities using Assurance 16 funds include:
1) Conservation Education
2) Low-cost energy efficiency measures
3) Crisis Application
Crisis Application Components:
A. Needs Assessment (Examines payment and usage history)
B. Vendor Negotiation (Includes any contact with vendor)
C. Money Management Review
D. Customer Advocacy (This may include assisting in the application of other resources/programs,home visits, home energy evaluations, energy wise kit/class, etc.)
Kentucky
2020
0.1
Every Community Action Agency is given the opportunity to provide counseling to help reduce the households' energy bills. The agencies that do utilitze LIHEAP funds for Assurance 16 will provide energy reduction solutions and education, including but not limited to the completion of and follow up on Weatherization applications. The CAAs will provide services based on the needs in their area, assisting household with the thorough and long-term plan to reduce energy usage and energy burden.
The following are examples from agencies that provided services during the past LIHEAP season: (1) Northern KY CAA offers all eligible households the opportunity to apply for weatherization services. This application allows the family to take a more in-depth look at their energy usage and the opportunity to have a professional assessment of their home to ensure the home is energy efficient. Improvements and repairs may be done to the home to improve efficiency.l NKCAC is able to work more intimately with the household to assess not only their energy usage, but theier financial situation as a whole through Financial Empowerment Education with a certified financial counselor. (2) Lexington Fayette-CAC offered information/material to applicants to help the household be more conscious of actions they can take to reduce energy consumption and save money. Intake workers talk with clients about their home energy costs. Applicants are asked to sign an Energy Counseling form confirming they have discussed and received printed materials regarding energy conservation. Lexington's database has the capability of flagging all applicants with referrals to energy counseling and identifying the programs that provide those services. (3) Louisville Metro CAA partnered with a utility company and other organizations to connect clients with energy conservation programs, bill management, workshops, and to distribute weatherization materials. Louisville Metro CAA provivdes energy conservation tip sheets and information regarding reduction of energy costs. Information includes tv and readio announcements, printed energy tips and other information. Louisville Metro refers LIHEAP applicants to other utility assistance programs including Project Warm and LG&E We Care program. These referrals can assist clients to be more educated about ways to reduce energy costs and lessen their energy burden.
Louisiana
2020
2.5
Energy education is provided to eligible and ineligible households. Local agencies are required to develop active, paticipatory energy conservation education activities. They are also encouraged to use educational activities that can be carried out while the applicant is waiting for intake. Services can include counseling, assistance with negotiations with energy vendors, outreach, referrals to the Weatherization Assistance Program, and energy efficiency education materials.
Maine
2020
5
Subgrantees may submit annual proposals for MaineHousing's consideration, describing their planned activities and expenses associated with providing services to applicants pursuant to Assurance 16 of the HEAP Act. Assurance 16 funds may only be used to fund activities that encourage and enable eligible households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby the need for energy assistance.
Only LIHEAP eligible households may receive Assurance 16 services. The services being funded by Assurance 16 must be energy related and may include family development case management and education activities. Subgrantees are required to have proper fiscal controls to ensure the LIHEAP funds are expended proportional to the overall funding sources using proper cost allocation methodology. There must be proper documentation of participation and a methodology to measure outcomes from the Assurance 16 activities.
Salaries and benefit costs for any staff providing services that encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby the need for energy assistance are allowable. Additionally, direct costs associated with providing these services, including supplies, equipment, postage, utilities, rental office space, and travel costs incurred for official business are also allowable.
Services that are already provided as part of the delivery of other federal programs cannot be charged to Assurance 16. Examples:

  • Working with an electric utility to forestall a shut-off as part of providing an Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) benefit cannot be charged to Assurance 16 because this activity is already required and funded under ECIP.
  • Outreach/Intake services, regardless of where they are provided, or who (which staff member/position) provides them, cannot be charged to Assurance 16. These activities are already required under HEAP fuel assistance, and therefore, do not provide an additional benefit to eligible households.
  • Mailed out applications are not allowed to be charged to Assurance 16.
  • Indirect charges cannot be charged to Assurance 16.
  • Client referrals to other programs or resources that are not related to clients' home energy needs or do not reflect an additional net benefit for the client.
Mariana Islands
2020
5
Through an effort of collaborations with Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, CNMI Division of Energy and CNMI LIHEAP, needs assessments are conducted to households applying for assistance. Clients are being counseled on saving energy tips to reduce their home energy burden. In the event that clients have dispute on their charges for electricity and clients ask for assistance from LIHEAP, a representative steps in to negotiate or arrange with CUC to settle whatever differences there may be.
Maryland
2020
3
Maryland plans to use Assurance 16 funds to provide risk assessments, counseling, energy reduction education/awareness services, and assistance with energy suppliers/vendors aimed at enabling households with seniors, disabled, and medically fragile individuals to achieve a greater degree of energy self-sufficiency, and financial education. Although descriptions of the use of Assurance 16 funds have been included in Maryland's model plans for several years, no expenditures under Assurance 16 have been recorded to date. The program design and mechanisms for deploying Assurance 16 related funds continue to be in development.
Massachusetts
2020
2.6
Michigan
2020
5
Assurance 16 funding will be allocated to the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) so that households applying for crisis assistance can receive Assurance 16 services to assist with the reduction of energy costs and their need for assistance. Michigan Public Act of 2012 states, "Energy assistance must include services that will enable participants to become or move toward becoming self-sufficient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, assisting participants in budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and assisting participants in utilizing energy services to optimize on energy efficiency."
Allowable self-sufficiency expenditures are included in theMEAP manual and include needs assessment, budgeting assistance, energy education, and providing assistance to households to enroll in affordable payment plans offered by their energy provider(s).
Households who receive weatherization services may also receive Assurance 16 services, as part of the WAP.
Minnesota
2020
5
Minnesota uses LIHEAP funds to provide services that encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby the need for energy assistance. The supported activities are referred to as Assurance 16 (A16). Assurance 16 allowable activities may include:
Budget counseling

  • Energy conservation education
  • Facilitation of household negotiations for budget payments
  • Advocacy with fuel suppliers on behalf of households
  • Household energy assessments
  • Referrals
  • Case management
  • Public relations and outreach
  • Please refer to the attachment for Section 6 - Outreach for Assurance 16 eligible activities and measures.
Montana
2020
3
Assurance 16 services are provided through ten (10) local Human Resource Development Councils and one (1) Area Agency on Aging.
Each administering agency targets client education activities for eligible households in accordance with annual work plans submitted by each agency. Each work plan describes the eligible activity and then describes how the activity will be accomplished.
New Hampshire
2020
4
The NH Fuel Assistance Progam allocates up to 5% of the total grant award to Assurance 16 activities to provide self-sufficiency education to all households with fast-tracked crisis applications within the prior program year to encourage applicants to apply for benefits in a timely manner in the new program year to avoid life-threatening situations and special delivery charges, which deplete the household's benefit. Households receive information on timeframes for applying, the application process, managing resources, communication with vendors, and referrals to other resources.
North Dakota
2020
3
The department contracts with Community Options to provide outreach services with a focus on elderly and disabled people.
Community Options Specialists participates in local events at Senior Centers, businesses and organizations to give marketing presentations for LIHEAP and provide information and education about the program by placing flyers in local communities statewide. They also attend various conferences around the state and conduct outreach activities via booth presentations.
In addition, they provide applications to interested clients, assit clients with completing applications and obtaining the required verifications, assist counties in obtaining necessary verifications for eligibility, and conduct home visits to home-bound individuals to assist with the application process.
All activities are coordinated with county social service office and the community action agencies to ensure that there is no duplication of services.
Example:
In FY2019 across the state, LIHEAP Outreach Specialists:

  • Turned in 543 applications of which 399 were approved for LIHEAP
  • Conducted 90 booth presentations (Ex: VA conference, Mental Health conference, etc.)
  • Conducted 147 marketing presentations to organizations, hotels, fast food establishments, etc. to speak with employees (3 or more) about LIHEAP and provide information about the program)
  • Conducted 4,117 site visits to provide flyers and/or information about the LIHEAP to 1 or 2 people

LIHEAP funds are used to purchase blankets and sleeping bags as an in-kind service to households while educating them on the services of LIHEAP, SNAP, Medicaid and other community resources.

Ohio
2020
1
In order to comply with Section 2605(b)(16) of the LIHEAP statute (42 U.S.C & 8624(b)(16))-Assurance 16, Development will provide a maximum of 5% of the total annual State of Ohio LIHEAP allocation to encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs. Funding will be made available annually through a request for proposal process. Applications will be received and reviewed on a first come, first served basis during the open application period. The request for proposal will outline the following:

  • Requested funding amount, uses and any leveraged resources
  • Description of the project and how the project will reduce the household’s energy burden
  • Anticipated outcomes
  • Methodologies for tracking outcomes

If the applicant is awarded funds, they will be required to report on the number of households served and the impact on those households (including pre- and post-testing, customer survey responses etc.).
Here is an example of how LIHEAP funds have been provided through Assurance 16: The Breathing Association, a HEAP grantee, operates a health care clinic and a mobile medical van serving low income, HEAP eligible individuals. The Breathing Association provides HEAP educational materials to customers that are receiving medical care. Prior to being evaluated by a Nurse Practitioner, the customer is provided a pre-test, focusing on residential energy conservation questions. After the pre-test, the customer is required to watch a seven-minute video about residential energy conservation. After the customer has been seen by the Nurse Practitioner, they are given a post-test on energy savings and provided additional educational materials such as brochures that highlight energy residential savings techniques.

Oregon
2020
5
Assurance 16 funds are used to integrate existing energy programs and enhance services for households with complex needs. Outcomes include reduced energy burden, improved payment patterns, energy conservation, and improved self-sufficiency.
Sub-grantees consider community need and local program design when determining how to utilize Assurance 16 funding. Allowable uses include, but are not limited to, needs assessments, budget planning, arrearage management, energy education, energy saving incentives, and supplemental bill payment.
All sub-grantees are required to include a description of how they will use Assurance 16 funding within their workplan application. At a minimum this includes eligibility criteria, benefit determination, description of services, and how these funds will be integrated within the overall LIHEAP program.
Rhode Island
2020
3
Rhode Island allocates 2% of available funds to Assurance 16 activities. R.I. assigns Assurance 16 based on proposals from the agencies. Services
provided includes; energy assessments, counseling (budget and energy usage), assistance with fuel vendors for a better rate, as well as referrals to other assistance, etc.
South Carolina
2020
5
The OEO will use Assurance 16 funds to provide service-incentives that encourage and enable households to reduce their home energy needs and thereby the need for energy assistance.
Subgrantee's will submit a proposal for funds that clearly describe the services, incentives and/or activities; expected impact; direct benefits, incentives and services provided to participants/households. OEO will then report to the Secretary concerning the impact of such activities on the number of households served, and the level of incentives provided to Assurance 16 participants.
As a condition of funding, eligible entities must be able to report how many households participated in the Assurance 16 program; how many households received Assurance 16 incentives; measure the impact after households received Assurance 16 services; and when applicable, compare LIHEAP services/benefits provided to participants in the previous Program Year.
South Dakota
2020
2
The SD Office of Energy Assistance works in conjunction with other State agencies such as South Dakota Housing and Development Authority, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, Adult Services and Aging, and other Social Services programs to ensure that literature and applications are made available. The SD Office of Energy Assistance also posts information on the website and participates in public health fairs and informational meetings sponsored by energy suppliers to help promote energy conservation. On the SD Office of Energy Assistance website there is a link that clients can click to view money and energy savings tips. Energy Saving tips brochures were also included in every pre-printed application that was mailed to households that received energy assistance the previous winter. Clients who continue to have difficulties managing their money, are refered to other support services available to them such as consumer credit counseling or debt relief counseling.
Tennessee
2020
2
Some agencies offer specific classes to clients to help reduce the energy burden, but we do not collect their attendance data. Energy saver flyers are provided to clients and one on one counseling takes place.
Sub-grantees conduct Assurance 16 activities at their local agency. Examples are as follows:
Provide energy conservation education in the form of Calendars, pamphlets and fact sheets at the time of application intake. This material will encourage energy conservation and provide the Low Income Home Energy Assistance client with the knowledge to reduce their home energy cost.
Provide energy saving videos in lobby while waiting to be assisted and given energy guides. One on one measures will be spoken about to the beneficiary. A survey of this year’s beneficiaries to measure the effectiveness of last years measures.
Partner with Green Spaces (local energy efficiency educator) to reduce energy usage. Green Spaces will conduct monthly workshops to those interested in reducing energy costs in their homes.
We are focusing on Financial Case Managment, Energy Conservation Education and Energy Saver Kits.
Utah
2020
2
We will be using Assurance 16 funds for SMART thermostats distibuted by WX.
(Weatherization will continue to field smart thermostats procured in FY 19).
Washington
2020
3.75
Each local agency has the option to provide conservation education to applicants. This can occur during the intake process, through a group work shop, or an in-home visit. Local agencies provide their conservation plan in their annual application to provide LIHEAP services which Commerce approves. Any conservation education services provided are done so equitably to all households served. Conservation education services include but are not limited to: energy conservation educatin classes; informational videos; handouts/flyers; energy conservation kits; review and education of household's energy usage and costs; hands on conservation exhibits; in-home visits in conjunction with weatherization home energy; efficiency assessments.
West Virginia
2020
3
The Agency would like to do a credit/budget counseling for clients. The Agency is going to try and work with our local Senior Citizen Centers about doing the classses there and have them help us administer the classes. We would also like to do home energy kits. These would be distributed to those clients who apply for and receive assistance through the Emergency Repair or Replacement Program which is funded with crisis funds. These home energy repair kits will be distributed by our Community Action Agencies who handle the clients who receive assistance through the Emergency Repair or Replacement Program. The home energy kits and credit/budget counseling classes will be paid for with Assurance 16 funds.
Wyoming
2020
1
Some of these funds are used to purchase energy conservation educational materials. These materials are distributed by our Weatherization agencies to households receiving weatherization assistance, as well as by our LIEAP contractor. We believe that behaviors impact energy usage and as we weatherize the home to make it more energy efficient educating the household members about energy conservation as well as energy efficiency helps them be more conservative energy consumers overall. We also distribute our educational materials at application fairs and other public venues where LIEAP applicants/clients are likely to patron. We are also developing household budgeting/financial literacy training workshops for clients who demonstrate a pattern of regular risk for heating and power disconnects via a collaborative partnership with TANF and the Department of Workforce Services.

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