June Newsletter #2 6,2012 Volume 4, Issue 7

6, 2012 Volume 4, Issue 7

The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter

Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc.  |  www.weatherizationplus.org

Top Story

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:
Veronica’s (4 minute) exchange with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. (Her question is at the 1:38 mark.)

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.
The industry believes these bill surcharges allow companies to more accurately and efficiently charge clients. A Larkin & Associates paper for AARP warns these trackers avoid regulatory scrutiny and leave little incentive to control costs.

✓ 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.


New Pilot Certification Orientation Webinars

Registration for the four new Home Energy Professional certifications is still open. Designed for experienced home performance professionals, the four new certifications focus on the most common jobs in the home energy upgrade industry: energy auditor, retrofit installer, crew leader, and quality control inspector.

Thinking about taking the pilot exam?  BPI is offering a four-part orientation webinar series providing specific information on what to expect from each exam.  Get all of your questions answered and learn more about the advantages of either taking the certification exam yourself, or having your employees certified.

Webinar on Deep Retrofits

The Energy Department will present a live webcast titled Implementing Deep Retrofits: A Whole Building Approach on Thursday, July 12, 2012, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EDT. The session will benefit energy managers and other professionals interested in learning how to maximize building performance with an optimal mix of energy efficiency technologies. Register here to attend the webinar.

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.

Why You Are Receiving This Email
Your name is on a list of federal and state Weatherization Program contacts from W.A.P. conference attendance records. Of course, you may unsubscribe (see below). However, we hope you will help us add the names and addresses of all who may be interested. Our promise: 1) We do not share our list, and, 2) The newsletter will be sent only when there is useful material for weatherizers.

Specific questions? Opinions? Subjects we should cover in the future? Email us at:

In This Issue:

» End of ARRA Map
» Progressives Stuck for Words that Work. Why?
» Insights from Utility and Energy Conference
» DOE Webinars: Certification, Deep Retrofits

Good News!

Summer gasoline at $3.60 and winter natural gas forecast to drop (even more).

✓ Gasoline is 14¢ lower than 6/25/2011.
✓ 80% of crude oil price drops typically pass through to the pump in four weeks
✓ Crude oil is 27¢ a gallon below 6/25/2011
✓ EIA expects another 8¢ drop by mid July.

Bad News!

Fuel oil will barely drop below 2011-2012 winter.


US Oil Price Forecaster: Why Would You Want This Job?

DOE/EIA Outlook On June 12 On April 10
2012 Heating Oil $3.71 $4.00
2012 Reg. Gasoline $3.56 $3.81

Fiddle with the Future

Got a little energy wonk hiding in your soul? Try out DOE’s two dozen future energy scenarios. (Use the links listed on the right.)

Surprise! “Base Case” says home energy use just keeps on dropping!

Getting Started on "Leveraging"

Leveraging is using the resources of the program and its organizations, such as people, time, skills, good reputation and funding, to attract more complementary resources.

Are you just starting your leveraging efforts? WeatherizationPlus.org has many resources to get you started:

NEW: Why We Leverage – A podcast with Steve Payne

Leveraging Basics

Utility Leveraged Programs

Housing Finance-Related Tools

Fee-for-Service Weatherization Enterprise

‘Green’ Technology Resources

What leveraging tools should our (free) webinars offer to help you? Write us here.

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Our Project Staff:

Meg Power
Project Manager

Fred Stratton
Project Coordinator

Madiana Mustapha
Project Coordinator

Eli Nesson
Information Manager

Leah Burcat
Weatherization Intern

Veronica Czastkiewicz
Weatherization Intern

Disclaimer: "This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof."

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