As Congress begins to consider the 2015 Budget, DOE is working on the distribution of recent appropriations. A number of states will run a combined 2013-2014 program, so that funding flow may be higher on a monthly basis in those states if the program runs for less than 24 months due to a late start.
FY 2013 funds were made available to grantees last summer, but many state plans were further delayed in the review process as changes were required; some were submitted late after new requirements or improvements were incorporated. EOS has learned that, while a few 2013 plans are not yet submitted, nearly all states that applied already have or will soon have their funding.
The FY 2014 DOE program notice with grant guidance and funding allocations went to states on 3/27/14 and is found at the waptac site. The state plan development process, which includes planning for instituting new Quality Work Plans is well underway.
Congressional Appropriators are still preparing to report Energy and Water Bills to the floor of the respective bodies over the next two months. In a Senate hearing, Senator Susan Collins of Maine praised the program and questioned Energy Secretary Moniz about the Administration proposal to use $15 million in program funds for a multi-family financing demonstration. See the brief exchange here [see minute 58:30 to 59:50].
The variable and unpredictable flow of funds from the Treasury to the community level is both a delivery challenge and a political challenge. Readers should follow the national advocacy organizations’ reports closely and become deeply involved in collaborating with the state planning process.
In some states with delayed WAP funding, leveraged partnerships that depend on co-delivery with WAP services have been challenged. EOS wants to know about the impact in your programs and how they adapted to the changed WAP schedule. Please tell us the answer in an email by clicking this link "How funding delays and cuts affected our leveraged program” - or use this same link to give us your contact information so we can call and learn your adaptations and issues.
Tell us: what was the nature and length of the cut or delay? What was the impact on your utility program or other partnerships? Did you change the way you deliver those initiatives or the rules for the leveraged resources? If so, what is the new delivery model or schedule? Did your program fall short on leveraged completions? As WAP resources shrink, is the partnership in peril? Re-designed? More flexible than ever? In general, what does the future look like for your utility or other private partnerships? How could the WAP federal program make them easier?
Illinois regulatory commissioner, the Honorable John T. Colgan, joined EOS’ Meg Power to discuss how and why it is essential for community action and Weatherization leaders to engage in energy policy advocacy. John Colgan was, for many years, one of community action’s most respected organizers and most expert advocates regarding food, energy and housing policy. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, himself a former state consumer advocate, appointed him to the IL Commerce Commission; the ICC regulates not only all utilities and telecom but also transportation.
In the first of our short videos Colgan tells about his own evolution from family support worker to policy advocate and how he learned the dynamic power of collective action. (Watch video )
The next covers issues advocates should anticipate.
A more extended conversation [9 min.] tells energy affordability advocates how regulators make decisions that depend on evidence from their hearings; he explains the essential role of participants [also called interveners] in those hearings that precede all commission rulings. He also describes the Illinois advocates’ victory when a Percent of Income Payment Plan (PIPP ) became law and the reasons utilities now support it. See more material on PIPP, a total affordability policy, here. (Watch video)
One short clip shows Colgan listing the downside of costly utility renewable energy requirements and suggesting strategies for protecting vulnerable energy consumers from the higher costs through innovative partnerships with environmental advocates for clean energy.(Watch video) Similar issues have been covered in reports of AARP and other consumer advocacy groups.
At the 2014 Affordable Comfort Inc. (ACI) Conference themed, “Creating a Better America,” in Detroit, EOS Project Coordinator, Madiana Mustapha, presented leveraging strategies to take advantage of today’s opportunities for leveraging weatherization resources. In addition to highlighting benefits of a strategic leveraging approach, the presentation summarizes our research that found $710 million in leveraged 2013 funding was spent together with WAP; almost half came from rate-payer financed programs.
She described emerging sources of loans or credit enhancement for owners of multi-family buildings who are financing retrofits; this information can be part of the marketing approach Weatherizers take to building owners when seeking to undertake the job using the owner’s funding to cover the WAP Agency services and materials.
This looks like an important job to us. Excerpts of the announcement:
Home Performance Coalition -Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Washington, DC
If you are interested in strategies for attracting owners of multi-family affordable housing using your team to deliver the project, we recommend you try to attend one of the upcoming four conferences on the Preservation Through Energy Efficiency Initiative (PTEE) of the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA). We recommend this content-rich event because, in just one day, it delved into assessing building portfolio needs, financing tools, navigating regulatory barriers, resident training and operating and maintenance issues. It is part of an initiative financed by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
They are aimed at efficiency professionals as well as multi-family building owners and managers who are learning about portfolio-wide energy savings. A Weatherization provider would learn practical information about the interests and concerns of these decision makers and about how to leverage that interest into projects.
We attended the first in Philadelphia. It showcased absorbing, in-depth case studies and replicable retrofit models along with unusually frank and well-informed participant debate. The owners attend were all seriously investigating whether the promise of energy efficiency applies to their property and how to assess the tools and the workforce that uses those tools.
Future conferences are in: Denver: July 14, 2014, Minneapolis: TBA, September, Atlanta: TBA, October, Indianapolis: TBA, January 2015. Get details at www.housingonline.com.
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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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