Policy Profile

Low-income Energy Efficiency

Policy description:

Energy is a significant portion of the average low income household’s annual cost, yet many low income residents live in homes with substandard insulation, inefficient appliances, windows and lighting. As a result, they spend more than they need to on energy costs – directly taking away from other family requirements. But while low income families are excellent candidates for cost effective upgrades, a lack of liquid capital, generally lower than average credit scores and lack of access to the usual avenues of marketing means they have been a difficult market to reach. Furthermore, the low income community is an attractive target for government supported policies because they are often availing themselves of other assistance programs. Lowering the expenses associated with energy usage can reduce their reliance on public assistance. A range of policies have been pursued to address these barriers toward expanding access to energy efficiency and renewable energy for the low income population. For more information, see the full policy brief.

Download Full Policy Brief View Policy Component Questions

  1. Does the state commit any non-federal money to the weatherization program?
  2. Do utilities contribute any money to the weatherization program?
  3. Has the state tied direct cash assistance for utility bills with weatherization enrollment and upgrades?
  4. Are explicit adjustments or exceptions to general cost-effectiveness rules in place for low-income programs?