|6, 2012 Volume 4, Issue 7|
The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter
Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. | www.weatherizationplus.org
Mapping ARRA Close-Out
Every WAP grantee has told DOE that all "regular" funds will be spent by the last day of their 2012 plan year. Three states will have (a little) ARRA funding in PY 2013. On October 1st, 2012, over 50% of grantees will have ended all ARRA-funded Weatherization work. (Some grantees have PY 2012 end dates in the 2013 calendar year.)
The map below shows the last day on which ARRA funds may be committed in each state.
ARRA Program End Dates by State
Why Can’t Progressives Tell Us How Weatherization is not Equal to School Lunch Twinkies?!
See a brilliant governor searching for words to repudiate austerity; ask yourself – can’t we sell an economy that works for all?
To have a vision means, literally, a person “sees a picture” in her or his mind. Good policy and smart politics depend on a shared picture of a goal and a corresponding road map. EOS has worked with NASCSP on guides that Community Action and Weatherization agencies can use to frame compelling stories. Still, Progressives have learned slowly that numbers and facts do not win support the way memorable images can.
Recently, summer associate Veronica Czastkiewicz attended a panel of US leaders organized by the Center for American Progress; they debated the “austerity” proposals now on center stage in Congress and in European capitals. The panelists – who all argued against cuts in public spending – had elegant flow-charts, graphs, and statistics; they omitted any compelling image of austerity’s damaging results.
By contrast, conservatives worldwide advocate for the austerity “diet”. Their image is universal: a diet is hard to stick to, and painful, but in the end results in a more fit, lean, and healthy person. Who can’t agree that a diet is sometimes needed? Therefore, if a diet is good for our big fat selves personally, why wouldn’t putting the government on a diet be good for the country?
Wasn’t the Recovery Act the fiscal equivalent of a chili dog eating championship match? Aren’t Weatherization investments the equivalent of Twinkies for school lunches?
So Veronica asked the keynote speaker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, for a metaphorical response to the “austerity is a diet plan”. See his uncomfortable response here:
What’s your metaphor for slashed safety net and energy programs? Can’t you do better than “Gee, Veronica, I don’t know.”? Tell us on Facebook.
Important Insights from Sessions at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference
We attended this important national conference the week of June 11 and came home with good ideas for local and state energy partnerships. Expect more work from EOS on the following:
✓ Utility rates are no longer structured to include most costs and benefits in too many states.
In a workshop entitled, “The New Look of Utility Bills: Fees, Surcharges and Trackers”, Cynthia Marple, of the American Gas Association, and Ralph Smith, of Larkin & Associates, disagreed on the issue.
Utility surcharges (“trackers”, “riders”, or “adders”) are flat fees put on a utility bill separate from the base rate for the service. A growing trend is to include trackers for environmental compliance and infrastructure replacement, among other things.
✓ Did you know SNAP offers replacement benefits if there is a 4-hr or more power outage and your utility notifies the state SNAP?
New Jersey utilities make sure SNAP recipients who lose food to spoilage after a lengthy power outage have a quick and efficient means of replacing their lost food, said Claire Bartolomeo of Public Service Electric and Gas Company. They send DHS a list of addresses affected by power outages of more than four hours. The Department then provides replacement benefits to any recipients matched at the addresses. If your state still makes SNAP recipients approach their utility company for proof of an extended power outage and then take those documents to the state office responsible, see her presentation at the conference site!
✓ Innovative rebate donations strategy in Omaha:
The Omaha Public Power District offers a modest rebate for every older refrigerator removed from the home. At the bottom of the form the customer signs at pick-up time is the choice of donating the rebate to the utility energy bill assistance program.
✓ Sustainable Coalition Development advice:
Just when coalitions are being formed, it is important to acknowledge differences in motivations and expectations. All should discuss the limitations and goals of each of the various member groups and reflect these in formal understandings, said Jackie Hutchison of the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County. Be careful and explicit in the written mission statement; include a section in the bylaws that addresses these variances with different requirements for some members, if needed. Make sure all key agreements about operations and goals are spelled out and written.
The Newsletter of Economic Opportunity Studies’ Weatherization PLUS Leveraging Partnership Project brings timely information about developments that expand the Weatherization Assistance Program to help your organization take advantage of emerging opportunities. Visit the Weatherization PLUS portal for more information.
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