A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Monday, April 30, 2007

LIHEAP Programs Run Out of Funds as Winter Heating Moratoriums Expire

The following 23 states and the District of Columbia are no longer taking applications for energy assistance because they have run out funds as a result of the cutback in federal program funding: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides heating and cooling assistance to more than 5.7 million households annually. Federal funding was increased from $2.1 billion in FY 2005 to $3.2 billion in FY 2006 as a result of rising numbers of households seeking assistance and continuing high energy prices. The FY 07 Continuing Resolution reduced funding to $2.1 billion, resulting in states cutting grant levels, eliminating crisis assistance and closing programs to new applicants. Grants have been reduced on average from $454 to $314. As a share of home heating costs, the average grant has declined 31.3% to 22.6% for heating oil, 47.4% to 38.3% for natural gas, 35% to 25.3% for propane and 57.3% to 37.8% for electricity. This is because the decline in energy prices has not offset the impact of the proposed reduction in program appropriations.

The Supplemental Emergency Spending bill contains $400 million in additional FY 07 funding for LIHEAP and the President has $220 million in emergency spending authority. If these funds were made available, states would be able to continue serving households who are struggling with high arrearages as a result of high prices as well as provide adequate funding this summer to address cooling needs.

-Mark Wolfe, National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association: mlwolfe@neada.org

Seed Newsvine

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

FY07 Budget Update

We are sad to report that the House and Senate Conferees on the Iraq War Supplemental have dropped the Senate language which would have restored an additional $25 million in WAP funds for FY07. This means the cuts announced by the DOE stand and funding will remain at the $204.5 million level. We must now turn our eyes to FY08 to ensure funding is restored to the highest possible levels.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weatherization Poised to Become Issue in Presidential Campaign

On Sunday, April 22, our nation celebrated Earth Day, a time when pressing environmental issues are brought to the forefront and solutions are reflected upon for the benefit of all.

It was on this day that Candidate John Edwards chose to unveil his campaign's environmental agenda.


The platform, which includes the “Edwards Plan to Meet the Demand for More Electricity through Efficiency,” highlights what he believes are some of the most important issues in energy conservation. Among those listed is the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Clearly, weatherization for low income households has made it to the forefront-- where it belongs.

Regardless of political affiliation, it is of great significance that our Program has become a point by any party in a national election. This attests to the true effectiveness and value of the WAP, the lives it touches, and the positive environmental impact it makes.

The hard work and dedication of each and every man and woman who serves the Program has been recognized, the environmental benefits have been recognized, and our voices have clearly been heard.

We thank Mr. Edwards for his recognition of our Program and urge all political leaders, regardless of affiliation to continue this excellent dialogue which benefits all Americans.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Press Release from Oregon

Governor, Congressional Delegation
Try to Stave Off Cuts to Oregon’s
Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

(Salem, Oregon) April 17, 2007 – Governor Ted Kulongoski and members of Oregon’s congressional delegation have urged the Bush administration not to carry out its plan to slash funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the federal Weatherization Assistance Program.

In a letter to the congressional leadership in February, the Governor noted that the LIHEAP program provides important help to low-income households, the elderly, disabled and families who make tough financial choices like paying for groceries, prescription drugs or utility bills.

The Governor praised Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Darlene Hooley, Peter DeFazio and David Wu for protesting the administration’s plan to cut the Weatherization Program by $38 million. “The federal government must not back away from its partnership with Oregon and other states—a partnership that provides help to vulnerable, hard-working families who can’t afford to weatherize their homes and still put meals on the table,” Kulongoski said. “It’s a matter of doing what’s right.”

The Bush Administration recently revised the Energy Department’s 2007 spending plan to cut 14 percent from the local weatherization program managed by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS).

Earlier this month, Senator Wyden and Representatives Blumenauer, Hooley, and Wu signed a letter sent to Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman and Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman, urging them to maintain or increase the weatherization program as authorized in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. Representative Peter DeFazio also supported this effort.

“We hope Congress will reverse this cut before the year moves very far,” said Dan Elliott, Oregon’s Weatherization Assistance Program Manager. “We are grateful for Senator Wyden, who co-sponsored the amendment. We’re also grateful to Representatives Blumenauer, Hooley, Wu and DeFazio’s commitment to the low-income energy consumers in our state. We appreciate their effort to prevent these cuts, and we are confident they will do everything in their power to turn this decision around.”

After the Energy Department announced the cuts, the Senate amended the Iraq war supplemental emergency spending bill, instructing the Secretary of Energy to restore the program to nearly 2006 levels with funds originally designated for this purpose. However, with the fate of the supplemental spending bill caught between the White House and Congress, the future of Oregon weatherization assistance program is uncertain.

Local agencies and contractors weatherize low-income households and upgrade heating systems each year. The Department of Energy estimates these investments reduce energy use by 20 to 30 percent for at least two decades and lower home energy bills an average of $358 each year after the improvements are made.

“Until a few weeks ago, Oregon anticipated full funding for the weatherization program year, which begins April 1,” Elliott said. “Our weatherization crews are ready to go, and we are prepared to weatherize as many homes this year as last. Now we’re unsure how the federal funding situation will affect us. If these cuts are not reversed, there will be many disappointed families and households in Oregon who are currently on weatherization waiting lists.”
For more information on the OHCS low-income weatherization program, contact Dan Elliot at 503-986-2016 or email dan.elliot@hcs.state.or.us.

OHCS is the State’s housing finance agency and community services program administrator. The Department provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of lower and moderate income and administers federal and state antipoverty, homeless, energy assistance and community service programs. The OHCS mission is to "Reach out for opportunities to create partnerships that improve Oregonians' lives, and the quality of our communities." For more information, visit our web site at http://www.ohcs.oregon.gov/.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Positive Note...

The WAP Blog has now been operational for 30 days. During this month, we have explored what uses we may put this forum to. Those reading may have noticed that the content is often quite passionate, if not just a bit opinionated-- particularly in regards to the Department of Energy’s clear deprioritization of the WAP. That’s because we take pride in our Program. We recognize the true impact of the WAP and how essential it is to both the environment, homes, and the clients we serve.

When we speak out, it is from true belief and passion for a program we know has changed millions of lives for the better and has made significant reductions to energy consumption since its inception. We are acting now to ensure that it will continue to do so for years to come.

Let's expand what this Blog has to offer even further...

Every day, folks from across the county are visiting this forum. Readers include Congressional staffers, the Department of Energy, and Energy Conservation/ WAP professionals from across the Network.

What better opportunity to tell our story?

Is there something new and exciting happening with your state's program, an event or accomplishment worth celebrating? A new technology or innovation you feel with be useful to your peers?

Reply to this post and share it here. Let’s celebrate our accomplishments together.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dear Colleague Letter

Please note that an addendum to the "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by the Northeast Midwest Energy Coalition in the House in support of key energy efficiency programs including funding of the WAP for FY08 at $254.5 million level and SEP at $49.5 million is now being re-circulated for signatures.

The deadline for this letter is COB April 20. We encourage you to contact your Representatives for sign-on's. If you would like a copy of this letter please contact aspector@nascsp.org.

Friday, April 6, 2007

We want to know what's important to you...

This Blog was designed as an exchange of ideas, comments, and impressions about the Program we serve. What's on your mind?

Showcase the latest developments in your state, share your comments, suggestions, and ideas-- as well as your concerns. Post a comment here and be heard! Or contact aspector@nascsp.org to submit an article to the main page of the blog.

Your wisdom and insight are welcomed.