LIHEAP and WAP: A Dynamic Duo for Reducing the Low-Income Energy Burden

Written By: Sophie Mariam, NASCSP Intern


High energy costs place a significant burden on low-income families, due to the high percentage of monthly income these households spend on utility bills. A 2016 study by ACEEE and Energy Efficiency for All found that, on average, low income homes in the United States spend 7.2 percent of household income on utilities – more than three times the amount that higher income households pay. The home energy affordability gap, a model to quantify the gap between “affordable” home energy bills and “actual” bills, reached over $51 million in 2018. Two federal programs, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), are critical to lifting this energy burden placed on families across America.

WAP and LIHEAP work together to save low-income households hundreds of dollars on their energy bills annually. LIHEAP provides heating and cooling assistance to over 6 million low-income families each year, playing a crucial role in supporting the health and safety of households nationwide by keeping their utilities running. However, LIHEAP does more than just keep family’s utilities on; it also invests in an energy efficient future by working hand in hand with WAP. WAP promotes long term energy savings by installing energy conservation and efficiency measures in the low-income housing stock. Weatherization services produce an average of $283 dollars in annual savings per household and reduces heating bills by 30% on average.

One unique provision of LIHEAP is that states can transfer up to 15% of their LIHEAP funds to their WAP. Some states will utilize up to 25% of their allocation towards weatherization through the use of LIHEAP’s Good Cause Waiver. This flexible provision empowers States to more effectively manage their mix of funds and balance between bill payment assistance and long-term energy efficiency investments. Through this strategic partnership, federal funds are stretched further, more homes are weatherized, and homes receive more comprehensive energy efficiency services. An Oak Ridge National Lab evaluation found that every dollar spent on weatherization returns $1.72 in energy benefits and $2.78 in non-energy benefits such as health and safety.

This August marks LIHEAP Action Month, and it is critical to spread the word about the work that both LIHEAP and WAP do to improve energy security and affordability of households nationwide. While LIHEAP keeps electricity on in low income homes in the short term, WAP invests in long term energy savings and helps expand the capacity of States to reduce the energy burden placed on vulnerable families. The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) provides an advocacy toolkit designed to help you communicate the importance of LIHEAP for ensuring continued energy security and health for low income households, both during the month of August and year round. Additionally, below you can find a fact sheets, pre-crafted social media posts, and other resources for you to use during LIHEAP Action Month.

Resources

National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC)Advocacy Toolkit

Fact Sheet: Investing in Energy Efficiency Through LIHEAP

Infographic: Download

Suggested Twitter posts

-It’s LIHEAP Action Month! Did you know that low-income households in the United States spend 7.2 percent of household income on utilities – more than three times what higher income households pay? LIHEAP and WAP can help reduce this energy burden- read more here (INSERT BLOG LINK) #LIHEAPAction

-The home energy affordability gap, a model to quantify the gap between “affordable” home energy bills and “actual” bills, reached over $51 million in 2018. LIHEAP and WAP are working together to reduce the gap. Read more here (BLOG LINK) and help spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP #LIHEAPAction

-Weatherization services through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can produce an average of $283 dollars in annual savings per household. Learn more (INSERT BLOG LINK) about how LIHEAP and WAP are working together to invest in energy #LIHEAPAction

-Up to 15% of state LIHEAP funding can be allocated towards investing in energy efficiency measures through the Weatherization Assistance Program. Read more here (INSERT BLOG LINK), and help spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP #LIHEAPAction

Suggested Facebook posts

-It’s LIHEAP Action Month! Did you know that low-income households in the United States spend 7.2 percent of household income on utilities – more than three times the amount that higher income households pay? LIHEAP can help reduce this energy burden by providing heating and cooling assistance, as well as investment in longer-term energy saving measures with weatherization services. Read more here (INSERT LINK TO PUBLISHED BLOG POST), and help spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP to families nationwide #LIHEAPAction

-Weatherization services through the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can produce an average of $283 dollars in annual savings per household, investing in energy efficiency to reduce heating bills by 30% on average. August is LIHEAP Action Month- learn more (INSERT BLOG LINK) about how LIHEAP and WAP are working together to ensure energy security and efficiency, and access the advocacy toolkit from @NEUAC to spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP #LIHEAPAction

-Did you know that the home energy affordability gap, a model to quantify the gap between “affordable” home energy bills and “actual” bills, reached over $51 million in 2018? The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) work together to reduce this energy burden placed on low income families nationwide. Read more about LIHEAP and WAP here (BLOG LINK), and access the advocacy toolkit from @NEUAC to spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP #LIHEAPAction

-Up to 15% of state LIHEAP funding can be allocated towards investing in energy efficiency measures in low income homes through the Weatherization Assistance Program, ensuring homes have both energy security in the short term and long-term energy efficiency. August is LIHEAP action month; read more about WAP and LIHEAP here (INSERT LINK TO PUBLISHED BLOG POST), and help spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP to families nationwide #LIHEAPAction

-Did you know that states are allowed to transfer a percentage of their Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to the Weatherization Assistance Program? This flexible provision empowers States to make long term investments in the energy efficiency of low-income homes through weatherization. Through this strategic partnership with WAP, federal funds are stretched further. Every dollar spent on weatherization returns $1.72 in energy benefits and $2.78 in non-energy benefits such as health and safety. Read more here (BLOG LINK), and help spread the word about the importance of LIHEAP and WAP #LIHEAPAction

 

 

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