FSC Library  
Consumer Economics
  Consumer Aggregation and Sophisticated Purchasing: Electric Restructuring Lessons from the Health Care Industry   This report explores the role of group purchasing in the health care industry and makes recommendations on how to import the lessons of the health care industry into a competitive electric industry.
  Consumer Information and Workable Competition in Telecommunication Markets (1993)   This article discusses how “consumer side characteristics” have as great, if not greater, impacts on the existence (or non-existence) of workable competition as do industry-side factors.
  Fingerprints for Check Cashing: Where Lies the Real Fraud?   This article considers the low-income consumer impacts of bank fingerprinting of non-account-holders.
  Group Buying of Fuel Oil and Propane in New York State: A Feasibility Study (2002)   This report examines the operational and financial feasibility of establishing a fuel oil buying cooperative in Up-State New York.
  "Just Like Them" - The "Benefit" to the Small and Disadvantaged User Arising From Competition   Proponents of competition generally argue that competition will have a positive impact on consumers "on average" or "in the aggregate." Some specific segments of the market, however, will not be better off. The impacts that competition in the telecommunications industry have on low-income consumers, in particular, are less likely to be positive, and more likely to be negative.
  Law and Economics in Determining Appropriate Interest Rates in Consumer Cramdowns   This article discusses ways in which the all important aspect of a "cramdown" bankruptcy proceeding --the determination of the interest rate for the deferred payments-- can and should be calculated.
  Local Tax Exemptions and the Community Service Responsibilities of Non-Profit Health Care Providers   This proposal explores the relationship between state and local tax exemptions and the community service obligations of non-profit health care providers.
  Philadelphia State Court Litigation: Wrongful Death Expert Report   This expert report in a Pennsylvania state court proceeding evaluates the actions of a local utility leading up to the disconnection of service which caused a fire and ultimate death of a child in Philadelphia.
  Setting Income Eligibility for Federal Lifeline and Link-up Services at 150% of the Federal Poverty Level: FCC Comments   This report documents how Households living with incomes between 135% and 150% of the Federal Poverty Level lack sufficient resources to obtain affordable telephone service without Lifeline telephone assistance.
  Setting Income Eligibility for Fuel Assistance and Energy Efficiency Programs In a Competitive Electric Industry: The Marginal Impacts of Increasing Household Income   This paper explains how to calculate an average household budget using publicly available information. It further explains the decreasing cash impact of increasing wages for welfare recipients.
  Statement of Roger Colton in Mackey vs. Spring Lakes Mobile Home Estates   This expert report in an Illinois state court proceeding considers whether certain fees imposed on mobile home owners at the time of sale represented unlawful "transfer fees" in violation of Illinois state law.
  Lessons for the Health Care Industry From America's Experience With Public Utilities   This article discusses the historic regulatory and policy basis for imposing a "duty to serve" on public utilities. It draws comparisons between public utility companies and the present-day health care system and discusses the application of a regulatory regime on that health care system. April 1998
  The Interaction of Price and Service Changes in a Mergers and Acquisitions Environment   This article posits that in order to determine whether a horizontal hospital merger generates benefits for consumers, policymakers must consider not only potential price reductions, but the potential for service reductions as well. Only a balancing of price and service can yield a determination of whether mergers benefit consumers.
  The Tying of Mobile Home Sales and Mobile Home Lot Rentals: Defining Markets and Assessing Product Separability   This expert report in a Vermont federal court proceeding considers whether mobile homes represent a unique market and the extent to which certain mobile home park owners have market power within that market.
  Universal Residential Telephone Service: Needs and Strategies   This paper discusses the extent of "universal service" in the telecommunications industry today and presents recommendations.
  A Water Affordability Program for the Detroit Water and Sewer Department   In response to dramatic increases in the unaffordability of water/sewer bills in the City of Detroit, not only customers have been disconnected, and gone without service, but even households that pay their bills incur substantial hardships because of the unaffordability of their bills. This report presents a water affordability program for the City of Detroit.
  When the Phone Company Is Not the Phone Company: Credit Reporting in the Post-Divestiture Era (1990)  

This article explores the use of credit reporting in the telecommunications industry and discusses the legal obligations that telecommunication providers must undertake.

  Denial of Local Telephone Service for Nonpayment of Toll Bills: A review and Assessment of Regulatory Litigation  

When long-distance and local service were largely delivered by the same telecommunications vendor, serious question existed whether it was permissible for "the" telephone company to disconnect local service for failure to pay a toll bill. This report considers the various outcomes of regulatory litigation of that issue. January 1989.

  Identifying Consumer Characteristics Which are Important to Determining the Existence of Workable Competition in the Interexchange Telecommunications Industry  

"Workable competition" depends not merely on characteristics of the industry, but also on consumer characteristics as well. This report documents the consumer characteristics needed for workable competition to exist in the telecommunications industry. December 1989.

  The Interexchange Telecommunications Industry: Should Regulation Depend on the Absence of Competition.  

"Competition" and "regulation" are not polar opposites. This report considers the circumstances under which regulation is required to protect the public interest even in a competitive industry such as telecommunications. December 1989.

  The Impact on Low-Income People of the Increased Cost for Basic Telephone Service: A Study of Low-income Massachusetts Resident's Telephone Usage Patterns and Their Perceptions of Telephone Service Quality  

In response to a 1992 rate increase request by New England Telephone Company, this paper studies the impact of higher rates on telephone service usage and service quality by low-income users of basic local service. The paper considers then-available alternatives to plain old telephone service in those instances where service was priced out of the range of low-income consumers. January 1993.

  Privacy Protections for Consumer Information Held by Minnesota Rate-Regulated Utilities  

State regulators should take particular actions to protect the privacy of personal information, including placing restrictions on the collection and use of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) by energy utilities. January 2013.

  Actions to Protect the Privacy of Minnesota Gas and Electric Customers  

In response to a notice of inquiry by the Minnesota PUC, this paper presents and documents the specific action steps that a state utility commission might take to protect the privacy of personal information of utility customers, along with the precedential steps taken by federal agencies in adopting such steps. August 2013

  White Paper: Utility Communications with Residential Customers and Vulnerable Residential Customers In Response to Severe Weather-Related Outages  

Presentation of recommendations on how energy utilities should improve communications with residential and vulnerable residential customers during storm-related outages. Based on a review of more than 50 state storm assessments by regulators and regulatory staff from more than 35 states. November 2013.

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Energy Efficiency
  Changing Paradigms for Delivering Energy Efficiency to the Low-Income Consumer by Competitive Utilities: The Need for a Shelter-Based Approach   This paper analyzes the extent to which low-income energy efficiency can be transformed into an ongoing partnership with affordable housing programs and introduces the scope and magnitude of a variety of housing programs which could serve as ideal starting places for a shelter-based energy efficiency partnership.
  Energy Efficiency and the Low-Income Consumer: Planning, Designing and Financing   This book presents a comprehensive low-income energy efficiency program proposal for low-income consumers. It discusses partners, decision rules, program design, and program impacts, amongst other things.
  Energy Efficiency as a Credit Enhancement: Public Utilities and the Affordability of First-Time Homeownership   This report examines how utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs might provide important partnerships for institutions developing and implementing "affordable housing" programs. The quantitative analysis then concentrates on first-time homeownership programs. A Base Case Scenario plus 80 alternative scenarios have been examined for each of the nine Census Divisions.
  Funding Minority and Low-Income Energy Efficiency in a Competitive Electric Utility Industry   This white paper explains how utility-funded low-income energy efficiency programs could be structured in a competitive utility environment. It explores how programs can be piggybacked with other efficiency and affordable housing programs along with how efficiency programs can be targeted to generate non-energy benefits in addition to the traditional "avoided cost" benefits generated by efficiency investments. July 1995.
  Reviewing Utility-Funded Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs: A Suggested Framework for Analysis   This paper presents a step-by-step guide through which community-based organizations can review the adequacy and appropriateness of a utility-funded low-income program. It considers how to determine whether funding levels are appropriate, how to assess whether appropriate partnerships underlie the program proposal, how to determine whether all avoided costs have been captured, and other critical questions. February 1995. NOTE: This is a large file (7.0 mB).
  Least-Cost Integrated Resource Planning in Arkansas: The Role of Low-Income Energy Efficiency   Whether or not in a restrictive demand-side management atmosphere, some energy efficiency investments can be supported at existing or increased levels. This report explains how, and why, utility investments in low-income energy efficiency can be justified on a variety of regulatory and economic grounds. January 1995.
  Energy Efficiency as an Affordable Housing Tool in Colorado (2003)   This report explains how the delivery of energy efficiency through first time homebuyer programs can increase the affordability of home purchasing by up to 25%.
  Private Investment in Low-Income Energy Efficiency: Replacing Reliance on Government and Utility Funds (1993)   Advocates of low-income energy efficiency improvements have been forced to look for new means of financing those measures as federal Weatherization dollars, and oil overcharge funds, continue to dry up. This paper proposes two models through which new sources of capital can exist for low-income energy efficiency strategies. Private capital can be raised for such programs, if the potential of conservation is appropriately marketed and appropriate legal processes for capturing and providing a return are created. October 1993.
  The Duty of a Public Utility to Mitigate "Damages" From Nonpayment Through the Offer of Conservation Programs   This article presents a review of the law that supports the conclusion that a utility has a legal obligation to deliver energy efficiency measures to low-income customers known to be payment-troubled. The article examines the contract law which requires reasonable actions to mitigate the damages that would arise from the expected breach of a contractual payment obligation. March 1993
  Financing Low-Income Energy Efficiency in a Competitive Electric Industry   This paper presents a series of options on how to finance energy efficiency for low-income consumers.
  Linked Deposits: A Local Government Workbook on Financing Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Housing   This workbook is for local government officials that wish to pursue energy efficiency in low-income housing developments. The workbook is intended to present the necessary tools to develop a specific linked deposit energy efficiency proposal to present to potential depositors.
  "Linked Deposits" as a Utility Investment in Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Housing   This paper analyzes the use of "linked deposits" as a means of financing energy efficiency in affordable housing programs.
  Loan Guarantees as a Utility Investment in Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Housing   This paper considers the policy and financing parameters of offering loan guarantees in support of low-income energy efficiency.
  Low-Income Energy Efficiency in Ontario: The Design of a Natural Gas DSM Program   This report, prepared for the Low-Income Energy Network (Toronto), presents a design and justification for a natural gas utility-funded low-income energy efficiency program for Ontario gas utilities.
  Reviewing Utility-Funded Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs: A Suggested Framework for Analysis   This guide provides a step-by-step approach to evaluating a public utility's low-income Demand Side Management (DSM) programs. One of the most important aspects of getting to the right answers regarding a utility's low-income DSM programs is to ask the right questions. This paper is intended to set forth the "right questions."
  Securitizing Utility Avoided Costs: Creating an Energy Efficiency "Product" for Private Investment in WAP   This paper proposes a new type of security instrument through which to use private investment to finance energy efficiency improvements through state Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP). The instrument is a revenue bond supported by a utility's contract to devote the WAP-generated avoided costs to bond repayment.

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Housing Economics
  Assessing Rooftop Solar PV Glare in Dense Urban Residential Neighborhoods   A substantial growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production has given rise to concerns among some of the impact of glint and glare on surrounding properties, particularly in residential neighborhoods. This discussion finds that rooftop solar PV panels are unlikely to generate substantial glare. It further concludes that glare is unlikely to be a problem to immediate abutters in an urban neighborhood. November 2014
  Section 8 Utility Allowances and Changes in Home Energy Prices in Pennsylvania   This report examines the extent to which Pennsylvania's Local Housing Authorities update their Section 8 utility allowances to reflect increasing energy prices. The report finds a systematic failure to update utility allowances and a failure of the HUD SEMAP process to enforce utility allowance requirements. January 2011
  The Contribution of Utility Bills to the Unaffordability of Low-Income Rental Housing in Pennsylvania   The role of home utility bills in causing the unaffordability of overall shelter costs to low-income households has not frequently been analyzed. This report considers the extent to which, if at all, home utility bills are a factor contributing to low-income households experiencing overall shelter costs beyond those levels generally deemed to be affordable. Focussing on rental units in Pennsylvania, t he report concludes that home utility bills substantially contribute to the unaffordability of low-income rental units. June 2009
  Energy Efficient Utility Allowances as a Usage Reduction Tool in Pennsylvania   This report discusses how, as Pennsylvania policymakers formulate and implement the state's Act 129 energy efficiency plans, they should pay particular attention to opportunities for pursuing energy efficiency in housing that cuts across traditional notions of what constitutes an "efficiency" program. In particular, Pennsylvania should pursue ways through which to promulgate energy efficient utility allowances for the state’s Section 8 housing units. June 2009
  Energy Efficiency as a Homebuyer Affordability Tool in Pennsylvania   This report considers how energy efficiency investments directed toward lower income households can serve an important affordable housing function in Pennsylvania. Using local data, the report discusses how efficiency investments can increase the number of low-income households that qualify for first time home ownership opportunities; increase the value of the home that a low-income first time home owner can afford to buy; increase the safety of the financial institution's investments in first time homebuyers through increased home value, decreased default rates, and protections against price volatility; and provide substantial financial subsidies to first time homebuyers. June 2009
  Comments of Belmont House Trust, Inc. on Proposed DOE Furnace Efficiency Standards: U.S. Department of Energy Docket No. EE-RM/STD-01-350   These comments urge that increased energy efficiency standards for natural gas residential furnaces will benefit not only low-income tenants, but the agencies and organizations that produce housing for those tenants. The comments examine how annual increases in Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are not keeping up with increasing energy prices and how, accordingly, less money is available to pay housing costs as an increasing proportion of household resources is diverted to energy bills. It argues that DOE has the authority to adopt different furnace efficiency standards for northern and southern states. January 2007
  Controlling Tuberculosis in Fulton County (Georgia) Homeless Shelters: A Needs Assessment   After years of a declining incidence of tuberculosis in the United States, the prevalence of the disease appeared to be on the rise again. Homeless persons are particularly at risk to the transmission of TB. Specific investigations into TB clusters in Fulton County have further documented a connection between the spread of TB and homelessness. Because of these concerns, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, commissioned this needs assessment of Fulton County homeless shelters. March 2004
  The Control of Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis: Final Report on Site Visits to Nine Homeless Shelters   The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a health standard to control the occupational exposure to tuberculosis.This study was commissioned by OSHA to consider the control of occupational exposure to TB specifically in homeless shelters. August 1998
  Affordable Housing and Educational Excellence in Belmont   This paper presents an overview of why supporting affordable housing in a middle class Boston suburb would further excellence in education for the town's school district.
  Age-Sensitive Community Planning   This article presents a model through which to determine whether a local community's planning will assist or impede aging in place.
  Analysis of Dade County Public Housing Utility Allowances   This presents a data-based critique of the natural gas, electricity and water/sewer utility allowances established for Dade County (FL) public housing units.
  Challenging Entrance and Transfer Fees in Mobile Home Park Lot Rentals   This article considers the law and economics of transfer fees imposed by mobile home park owners on mobile home owners who sell their home in place.
  Electric Industry Restructuring and the Regulation of Electric Service Providers: The Role of the Fair Housing Act   This article explores the principles which support application of the Fair Housing Act to the offer of public utility service.
  Fair and Affordable Housing for the Poor: Accounting for Occupancy Distribution and Housing Quality   This article presents an analysis of how to inventory the affordable housing needs in a local jurisdiction and the factors to be aware of.
  Fair Housing and Affordable Housing in Belmont, Massachusetts: Data on Availability, Distribution and Quality   This paper presents an overview of the varied affordable housing needs of low and moderate income households in a middle class Boston (MA) suburb.
  Fair Housing Plan: Analysis of Impediments and Strategies to Address Them   This is the Analysis of Impediments study for the town of Beaverton (OR) and Washington County (OR).
  Utility Service for Tenants of Delinquent Landlords   This article presents the legal remedies available to tenants who pay for utilities as a part of their rent, but whose landlord, in turn, fails to pay the utility bill such that the premises are subject to the disconnection of service for nonpayment. August 1986
  Right to Pretermination Notice in Cases of Landlords' Nonpayment of Utilities   This article presents the legal basis for providing pretermination notice to tenants when the landlord, who is the customer of record, fails to pay the utility bill to the point of facing the termination of service for nonpayment. July 1995
  Landlord Failure to Resolve Shared Meter Problems Breaches Tenant's Right to Quiet Enjoyment   This article explains the rights and remedies a tenant has against a landlord, under tenant/landlord law, when a landlord fails to resolve problems with cross-metering between units, or between the common areas of multi-unit premises. August 1995
  Utility Allowances for the Austin (TX) Housing Authority   This expert witness statement in federal litigation presents a comprehensive review of the development of HUD utility allowances for tenants of public and assisted housing in Austin, Texas. March 1999
  Public Housing Utility Allowances for the Gallia (OH) Metropolitan Housing Authority   This expert witness statement in federal litigation presents a comprehensive review of the development of HUD utility allowances for tenants of public and assisted housing for a small local housing authority in southeastern Ohio. November 2000
  Homestead Creation for Native Hawaiians   This paper presents an analysis in support of damages attributable to the mismanagement of the Native Hawaiian Homelands Trust
  Inclusionary zoning for Belmont: The Public Need and Private Exaction    
  Mobile Home Rent Control: Protecting Local Regulation   This paper considers the findings and analysis that a local government should make in support of the local regulation of mobile home rent levels.
  Rental Housing Affordability in Burlington, Vermont: A Report to the Burlington City Council   This analysis of Burlington, Vermont's rental housing: (1) considers the affordability of rental housing in Burlington in an effort to determine whether improving the energy efficiency of such housing would yield substantial economic benefits to Burlington renters; and (2) assesses the availability of rental housing in Burlington to determine whether renters who now face unaffordable rental costs have realistically available affordable housing choices.
  Seattle's Low-Income Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance: A Review of Professor Heyne's Economic Analysis   This paper presents an FSC analysis presented in federal court in support of Seattle's tenant relocation assistance ordinance.
  Serving the Affordable Housing Needs of Belmont's Older Residents   This paper presents an overview of the varied affordable housing needs of the older population of a middle class Boston suburb.
  Shawmut Bank and Community Reinvestment in Boston: Community Credit Needs and Affordable Housing   This paper presents an analysis of Shawmut National Bank's CRA compliance in the Boston (MA) metropolitan region.
  The Problem of Mass Evictions in Mobile Home Parks Subject to Conversion   This paper summarizes an empirical study of the impact of the closure of a mobile home park in Forest Grove (OR).
  Utility Rate Classifications and Group Homes as "Residential" Customers   This paper presents an analysis of whether group homes should be considered "residential" customers for purposes of utility rate classifications.
  Fair Housing in the Suburbs: The Role of a Merged Fleet Boston in The Diversification of the Suburbs: Report to the Federal Reserve Board Concerning the Merger of BankBoston Corp and Fleet Financial Group   Noting that one question for regulators considering the proposed Fleet merger is how the merged bank would meet the credit needs of the community, this paper examines the credits needs of the suburban, rather than simply the inner-urban, community and proposes conditions to be placed on the Fleet BankBoston merger. July 1999.
  Customer and Housing Unit Characteristics in the Fitchburg Gas and Electric Service Territory   This report presents a comparative analysis of the characteristics of low-income households and housing units both within the FGE service territory and between the FGE territory and the State of Massachusetts as a whole. It discusses the income and housing attributes of specific "hard to reach" populations. April 2012.
  Massachusetts Analysis of Impediment to Fair Housing: Fiscal Zoning and the "Childproofing" of a Community   This report details the impropriety of seeking to "childproof" a community through local zoning decision and policies. The report considers the propriety of "fiscal zoning" decisions –decisions based on minimizing costs of adding school children to a community—from both a fair housing and zoning perspective. December 2013.

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Labor Economics
  An Alternative to Regulation in the Control of Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis in Homeless Shelters (2002)   Based on research performed for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this article explains how and why efforts to control the occupational exposure to TB in homeless shelters is best accomplished through public health, rather than through regulatory, mechanisms.
  An Analysis of Davenport City Finances for Iowa State Policemen's Association Collection Bargaining Unit Local No. 2   This paper presents an analysis of the ability of a local government to fund salary and wage requests by the local police officer's union.
  An Analysis of the Finances of the State of Iowa prepared for Iowa United Professionals   This paper presents an analysis of the ability of a state government to fund salary and wage requests by the state public employee union.
  Controlling The Occupational Transmission of Tuberculosis in Homeless Shelters: Applying Occupational Safety Standards to "Volunteers"   This paper considers the application of state workplace safety standards to volunteers.
  Frances Lauer Youth Services: Cerro Gordo County (Iowa): An Analysis of the County Decision to Privatize the Agency   This paper presents an analysis of the costs of public vs. private provision of youth shelter services and a road map for the transition from county agency to non-profit provider.
  Home-Based Enterprise in Oregon: Improving Local Regulation of an Important Economic Asset   This paper considers local regulation of home-based businesses and proposes a model home occupation ordinance and related reforms.
  Little Davis-Bacon: An Economic Critique of Attacks on State Prevailing Wage Legislation   This paper presents the economics of prevailing wage legislation and reviews the arguments, economics and data of groups both challenging and supporting the legislation.
  The Economic Impacts of a Prevailing Wage Law for Iowa State Construction Projects   This paper presents a data-based analysis of the impacts of Iowa's prevailing wage laws on Iowa highway construction projects.

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Low-Income Energy Issues
  Home Energy Affordability in New York: The Affordability Gap (2008-2010)   This report presents a three-year study of home energy affordability in New York, documenting the Home Energy Affordability Gap by income, by geographic region, and by demographic characteristics. June 2011.
  Home Energy Affordability Gap: 2010 (Connecticut Legislative Districts)   This report presents an assessment of the Connecticut Home Energy Affordability Gap for 2010 by legislative district. January 2011.
  Home Energy Affordability in Manitoba: A Low-Income Affordability Program for Manitoba Hydro   This report explores the extent of low-income energy unaffordability in Manitoba, proposes a rate affordability program, and presents a business case for that program. November 2010.
  Interim Report on Xcel Energy's Pilot Energy Assistance Program (PEAP): 2010 Interim Evaluation   This report presents the first year evaluation of Xcel Energy's Colorado low-income percentage of income program. It considers arrearage and bill payment impacts. September 2010.
  Home Energy Affordabilty in Connecticut: 2009 by State and Federal Legislative Districs   This report reviews the Home Energy Affordability Gap in Connecticut in 2009. The capacity of low-income Connecticut households to pay their home energy bills deteriorated in 2009, while federal funds designed to help pay those bills fell further behind in their ability to stem the tide of home energy unaffordability. January 2010.
  An Outcome Evaluation of Indiana’s Low–Income Rate Affordability Programs: 2008 – 2009   This evaluation examines the operation of low-income rates offered by three Indiana utilities in 2008 and 2009. The evaluation focuses on the collections impacts of the two program designs from the perspective of the utility. The evaluation considers the amount of revenue collected through the Indiana programs, the level of effort employed to generate that revenue, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the effort directed toward that collection. August 2009.
  Home Energy Consumption Expenditures by Income (Pennsylvania)   One question that frequently presents itself today is the extent to which low-income households have higher or lower energy consumption than do higher income households. Using state-specific data for natural gas used for space heating; electricity used for space heating; and electricity used for non-space heating, this report concludes that, in Pennsylvania, a direct relationship exists between income and home energy consumption. As income increases, home energy usage and expenditures increase as well. May 2009.
  Home Energy Affordability In Indiana: Current Needs and Future Potentials   This report presents an analysis of the home energy affordability needs in Indiana and the resources available to meet those needs. It discusses home energy bills and household demographics. It presents a comprehensive inventory of the various private, state and federal programs that provide financial assistance to help households address unaffordable home energy bills. June 2008.
  Home Energy Affordability in Maryland: Necessary Regulatory and Legislative Actions   This report presents a compendium of rate affordability, energy efficiency, and consumer protection initiatives designed to mitigate the impact that dramatic electric and natural gas price increases have had on low-income Maryland residents. The report was prepared for the Maryland Office of Peoples Counsel in response to a legislative directive. October 2006.
  Indiana Billing and Collections Reporting: Natural Gas and Electric Utilities   The second annual billing and collections report for the Coalition to Keep Indiana Warm presents data for the period July 2005 through June 2006. The data is used to recommend actions on budget billing, deferred payment plans, shutoff notices, among other actions, to help control payment troubles, both low-income and otherwise. November 2006.
  The Impact of Missouri Gas Energy’s Experimental Low-Income Rate (ELIR) on Utility Bill Payments by Low-Income Customers: A Preliminary Assessment   This study looks at whether low-income Missouri Gas Energy (MGE) customers receiving energy assistance benefits through the Company’s Experimental Low-Income Rate (ELIR) improve their payment patterns relative to low-income customers that do not receive such benefits. Assuming such improvement does in fact occur, the study then examines whether the cost of obtaining such improvement is reasonable given the results. October 2003.
  Low-Income Home Energy Affordability in Maryland   This report assesses the extent of poverty in Maryland and the impacts that home energy prices have on overall home energy affordability. The report documents differences in home energy affordability by public assistance recipients and the "working poor." November 2002.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Iowa   This report calculates the level of a "wires charge," for the state of Iowa, needed to deliver rate affordability assistance and weatherization services. It determines not only the aggregate dollars necessary, but the cost per customer class based on whether the wires charge is structured on a volumetric basis or a fixed meters charge. June 1996. NOTE: This is a large file (10.5 mB).
  Addressing Low-Income Inability-to-Pay Utility Bills During the Winter Months on Tribal Lands Served by Electric Co-ops: A Model Tribal Winter Utility Shutoff Regulation   This material presents a recommended regulation to implement winter utility shutoff restrictions for a local Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) serving Tribal customers. The assumption behind the Regulation is that, without the Tribal regulation, the REC will be unregulated by any State Public Utility Commission rule regarding winter restrictions.
  Financing a National Universal Service Fund for Residential Home Energy   This report examines the financial impacts on electric utilities and their customers from imposing a charge on electric consumption to finance an all -fuels home energy affordability Universal Service Fund. It considers the design and funding of such a program that might replace LIHEAP's heating/cooling benefits with assistance directed toward the total home energy bill. March 1996.
  An Assessment of Low-Income Energy Needs in Washington State   After steady increases in electric prices throughout the 1970s, and substantial natural gas and fuel oil price increases in the early 1990s, this report provides a comprehensive assessment of energy needs in Washington state. It calculates energy bills, catalogues public and private energy assistance, and documents energy efficiency needs for the state.
  Affordable Payment Programs: Can They Be Justified?   This Affordable Comfort paper presents the various grounds on which a low-income rate affordability can be justified. It examines early state utility commission decisions approving low-income affordability programs and the rationale used by those commissions in reaching their decisions. March 1995
  The ABC's of Arrearage Forgiveness   This report explains the structure of utility arrearage forgiveness programs and explores the rationale for adopting such programs. It is intended to present a simple primer on how and why to adopt an arrearage forgiveness program and what objectives such a program can be expected to achieve. October 1991
  Protections for the Low-Income Customer of Unregulated Utilities: Federal Fuel Assistance as More Than Cash Grants   This article explores how the annual LIHEAP state plan can be used to create consumer protections for low-income customers of utilities and bulk fuel vendors. It explains the vendor payment process and examines the protections that can be inserted, by contract, into the agreement through which a state agrees to make direct vendor payments of LIHEAP benefits. June 1992
  Client Consumption Patterns Within an Income-Based Energy Assistance Program   This article analyzes available empirical data examining whether percentage-of-income-based low-income rate affordability program results in program participants increasing consumption due to the lack of price signals. The article concludes that such increases do not occur and explores the economic reasons why that result arises. December 1990
  The Use of Utility Data Processing Records as a Data Mining Source on Low-Income Consumers: Converting Information to Knowledge   This paper explains how basic customer data can be accessed from traditional utility information systems to inform whether and how to offer different types of bill payment assistance to low-income customers. It explores the different "messages" that can be derived by looking at arrearage levels and aging reports, by examining collection activity reports, and by looking at "important dates" such as meter-on dates and final bill dates. April 1999
  Comments of Consolidated Low-Income Representatives in the Matter of FERC's Inquiry Concerning the Commission's Merger Policy Under the Federal Power Act   These comments before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) consider the impacts of electric and natural gas mergers on low-income consumers.
  Discrimination as a Sword for the Poor: Use of an “Effects Test” in Public Utility Litigation (1990)   This article reviews the law and economics of using an “effects test” analysis in establishing discriminatory behavior and explores how the effects test can be used in utility litigation.
  Evaluating the New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program: Proposed Utility Evaluation Criteria   This paper for the New Hampshire Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services recommends evaluation criteria for New Hampshire's Electric Assurance Program.
  Evaluating the New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program: Proposed Social Evaluation Criteria   This paper for the New Hampshire Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services recommends social evaluation criteria for New Hampshire's Electric Assurance Program.
  Experimental Low-Income Program (ELIP): Empire District Electric Company, Final Program Evaluation   This report examines whether the Experimental Low-Income Program (ELIP) operated by Empire District Electric Company (EDE) for two years was able to generate affordable home electric bills to ELIP participants, thus allowing those participants to make full and timely payments on their monthly bills.
  Funding Fuel Assistance: State and Local Strategies to Help Pay Low-Income Home Energy Bills   This book presents a comprehensive program for developing state and local sources of revenue to be distributed as fuel assistance by local service providers. The report recognizes the hardships created by reductions in federal funding for fuel assistance. It contains more than two dozen proposals for developing substantial, repeatable, sources of dollars. These funding proposals cover a range of institutions and seek to spread the responsibility for providing dollars throughout a broad base of the community, including individuals, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, churches and energy service providers.
  Georgia REACH Project Energize: Final Program Evaluation   This report is the final evaluation of the Georgia REACH program. It presents an impact and process evaluation. It utilizes the Home Energy Insecurity Scale and a “risk assessment matrix” to measure household impacts. It calculates energy usage reduction, as well as the program’s impacts on customer payments.
  Identifying Savings Arising From Low-Income Programs   This paper categorizes the financial savings that might arise to a utility from low-income programs ranging from rate discounts to energy efficiency investments to fuel funds.
  Impact Evaluation of NIPSCO Winter Warmth Program   This study examines the performance of the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) Winter Warmth program relative to the objectives established for the program at its inception. Winter Warmth is a low-income energy assistance program directed toward assisting income-eligible households avoid the disconnection of service, achieve the reconnection of service, and avoid unaffordable winter heating bills.
  Indiana Billing and Collection Reporting: Natual Gas and Electric Utilities (2005)   This report presents data from the first year of billing and collections reporting by Indiana's six largest utilities.  Data on bills, arrears, disconnections, reconnections, payment plans, and related issues is presented for residential and for low-income residential customers..
  In Harm’s Way: Home Heating, Fire Hazards, and Low-Income Households (2001)   This paper documents the extent to which low-income status and the unaffordability of home energy has been found to contribute to fire deaths throughout the country.
  Local Layoffs as National Emergencies: Using the National Emergency Grant Program to Respond to the Unmet Home Energy Needs of Displaced Workers (2002)   This paper documents the extent to which job displacement primarily occurs within the low-wage worker population and explores how fuel funds and public utilities can use a federal grant program to assist those displaced workers.
  Low-Income Programs and Their Impact on Reducing Utility Working Capital Allowances   This paper explains how to calculate the working capital savings to a utility from low-income programs, including rate discounts, energy efficiency investments and fuel funds.
  Measuring LIHEAP’s Outcomes: Responding to Home Energy Unaffordability (1999)   This paper introduces the concept of the “paid but unaffordable bill” and empirically examines how low-income utility customers respond to the unaffordability of home energy.
  Measuring the Outcomes of Home Energy Assistance Programs through a Home Energy Insecurity Scale (2003)   This report proposes a family-level scale, modeled on ROMA scales, for use in measuring the outcomes of low-income energy assistance programs, whether they are rate discounts, weatherization, cash assistance, or crisis assistance.
  Methods of Measuring Energy Needs of the Poor   Despite the universally agreed upon proposition that the poor are "in need" when it comes to the affordability of their home energy bills, there is no generally accepted definition of what that "need" is. This paper examines the different models of "need" that have been advanced in the low-income energy arena, either implicitly or explicitly; quantifies the number of low-income households "in need" given the different definitions; and tests the significance of using one definition over another.  
  Models of Low-Income Utility Rates   This paper categorizes and summarizes the eleven different models of low-income rate discounts used by public utilities around the country.
  Mountain States Legal Foundation v. Colorado Public Utilities Commission: Leading Light or Flickering Flame?   This memo considers whether the Colorado state supreme court decision in Mountain States Legal Foundation per se prohibits low-income utility rate discounts.
  On the Brink of Disaster: A State-by-State Analysis of Low-Income Natural Gas Winter Heating Bills   This report presents an examination of actual winter natural gas energy bills for nearly 200 natural gas utilities around the country. The report presents state-by-state data on bills as a percentage of income and of the number of low-income households in various public benefit programs by state. The report further presents utility-by-utility data, using actual winter bills from each utility, of winter home energy burdens for populations such as public assistance recipients and households with incomes less than $15,000.
  Payment Problems, Income Status, Weather and Prices: Costs and Savings of a Capped Bill Program (2002)   This report quantifies the impacts that increased prices and cold temperatures have on low-income payment problems, assesses the statistical relationship between prices, temperature and payment problems, and presents a financial analysis of the utility impacts of controlling bills through a capped bill program.
  Paid but Unaffordable: The Consequences of Energy Poverty in Missouri   This report provides a detailed look at energy poverty in Missouri. The discussion: (1) documents the extent of energy poverty in Missouri; (2) describes the consequences of that energy poverty; and (3) measures the insecurity imposed on a low-income household that faces energy poverty.
  Reducing Energy Distress: “Seeing RED” Project Evaluation (2002)   This program evaluation quantifies the impacts that a family-development energy assistance program has on a wide range of utility payment patterns.
  Residential Essential Services Rate Pilot Project: Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation and Public Service Company of Colorado Program Policies   This document presents the program policies (as of July 1998) for the Residential Essential Services Rate (RESRate) pilot project in Denver (CO).
  The Other Part of the Year: Low-Income Households and Their Need for Cooling: A State-by-State Analysis of Low-Income Summer Electric Bills   This book presents an examination of actual summer electric bills for nearly 200 electric utilities from around the country. Relying upon the most recent literature, the report discusses the adverse health effects of hot weather and presents city-by-city data on the "threshold temperatures" over which hot weather becomes deadly. The report presents state-by-state, and utility-by-utility, data on summer electric bills as a percentage of income for various low-income populations. In addition, on a utility-by-utility basis, the report presents data on the increase in electric bills from 1987 to 1992 (as compared to the increases in public assistance levels), and on the difference between summer and winter electric costs.
  The Road Oft Taken: Unaffordable Home Energy Bills, Forced Mobility and Childhood Education in Missouri   This study explores the interconnection between two seemingly unrelated problems: unaffordable home energy bills and poor educational attainment. Looking specifically at a group of low-income households in Missouri, the study evaluates to what extent, if at all, unaffordable home energy bills contribute to frequent household mobility and, therefore, by extension, to the educational problems facing students in those households.
  The Economic Impacts of Home Energy Assistance in Colorado (2003)   This report identifies, categorizes and quantifies the impacts that low-income energy assistance has on total economic activity, on increased earnings, and on supporting new jobs in Colorado.
  Understanding Why Customers Don't Pay: The Need for Flexible Collection Practices   This paper explains why the first step of analysis in seeking to respond to problems involving utility customer nonpayment is to determine precisely why households might not pay their bills. By understanding the full range of reasons why households may not pay, utilities and their regulators can adopt a flexible approach to bill collection, involving a full range of techniques addressing specific problems. This flexibility will help maximize the receipt of revenue while minimizing collection expenses.
  When Weather Kills: Heat Response Plans and the Low-Income Need for Cooling (2002)  

The paper documents the extent to which hot weather presents health and safety issues to low-income households and introduces the local government "heat response plan" as an appropriate non-regulatory response.

  Home Energy Assistance Review and Reform in Colorado  

This report takes a comprehensive look at the delivery of energy assistance in Colorado. It documents the need for energy assistance, inventories existing public and private sources of assistance, examines Colorado's targeting of energy assistance, and reports on why households do not participate in assistance. December 1995

  Energy Use and the Poor: The Association of Consumption with Income  

This report finds a direct relationship between energy usage and income. As income increases for residential customer, so, too, does consumption increase. July 1990.

  Poverty and Energy in North Carolina: Combining Public and Private Resources to Solve a Public and Private Problem  

After documenting the extent and consequences of "energy poverty" in North Carolina, this report presents a series of remedial measures that could and should be implemented by state regulators and other government officials. May 1991.

  Utility-Financed Low-Income Energy Conservation: Winning for Everyone  

This report documents the basis for concluding that implementation of special ratepayer-funded usage reduction programs can be justified by public utilities on traditional regulatory grounds. July 1991.

  Wrong Way Street: Reversing the Subsidy Flowing From Low-Income Customers in a Competitive Electric Industry  

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the low-income characteristics that result in poor people imposing lower costs on a utility, even though their rates include a transfer of the payment of cost-causation from the non-poor population to low-income customers. November 1996.

  Non-Energy Benefits from Low-Income Fuel Assistance  

This early report was one of the first analyses that hypothesized the existence of "non-energy benefits" (NEBS) (such as improved health care outcomes, reduced forced mobility, reduced homelessness0 associated with low-income fuel assistance. Since this report, these NEBs have been empirically verified and quantified time and again as arising from low-income fuel assistance and usage reduction programs. November 1997.

  Essential Services Affordability Program (ESAP): Whiteacre Utility  

This early report seeks to generalize the lessons learned from programs in existence at the time to develop an affordability program design generally applicable to public utilities. The paper include proposed outcome measurements along with a funding discussion. October 1998

  Structuring Low-income Affordability Programs Funded through System Benefits Charges: A Case Study from New Hampshire  

Prepared for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this report documents each step of the creating and funding of a ratepayer-funded low-income assistance program. Each step includes a review of possible alternative decisions. May 2001.

  A Ratepayer-Funded Home Energy Affordability Program for Low-Income Households: A Universal Service Program for Ontario’s Energy Utilities  

This study considers the home energy affordability needs for low-income Ontario (CAN) households and proposes a ratepayer-funded program to meet those needs. Includes a recommended funding mechanism. April 2006.

  Low-Income Energy Efficiency in Ontario: The Design of a Natural Gas DSM Program  

This report presented to the Ontario Energy Board provides the basic structure for design and funding decisions for low-income weatherization programs by Ontario’s natural gas utilities. June 2006.

  An Outcome Evaluation of Indiana’s Low-Income Rate Affordability Programs  

This report provides an impact evaluation of low-income rate affordability programs offered by three Indiana utilities. The programs are measured against nine pre-selected outcome metrics. July 2007.

  Best Practices: Low-Income Rate Affordability Programs: Articulating and Applying Rating Criteria  

The analysis presented in this paper examines selected low-income affordability programs currently in operation around the United States as determined by the author to be best-in-class. Eight United States programs have been reviewed in addition to the low-income initiatives of Electricité de France (EDF) in France. The paper identifies five characteristics of best-in-class programs along with 13 "lessons learned" from such programs. November 2007.

  Inverted Block Rates and Universal Lifeline Rates: Their Use and Usability for Delivering Low-Income Electric Rate Relief  

This report examines universal Lifeline utility rates as one means of delivering rate affordability assistance to the low-income customers of Hydro Quebec. The report examines whether rate design is an industry tool that is often used to provide rate relief to low-income households. February 2008.

  Public Health Outcomes Associated with Energy Poverty: An Analysis of 2007 Iowa Behavioral Risk Fact Surveillance System (BRFSS) Data  

Examines the public health outcomes associated with "energy poverty" based on state BRFSS data gathered by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Considers long- and short-term public health outcomes. June 2008

  Home Energy Affordability in Idaho: Low-Income Energy Affordability Needs and Resources  

This report presents a comprehensive review of the energy affordability needs of low-income Idaho customers, along with an identification of local, state and federal resources available and potentially available to help meet those needs. November 2011.

  Home Energy Affordability in Connecticut: The Affordability Gap  

A documentation of home energy unaffordability in Connecticut in 2011, by income and geographic regions (continuing series). Includes a special discussion of the social and “business” consequences of inability to pay, along with an identification of non-utility resources to help address energy unaffordability. December 2011.

  Public Service Company of Colorado’s (PSCo) Pilot Energy Assistance Program (PEAP) and Electric Assistance Program (EAP) 2011 Final Evaluation Report  

This is the final evaluation of Public Service Company of Colorado’s (PSCO) Pilot Energy Assistance Program (PEAP) (and its electric equivalent). The PEAP was used as the model for a statewide low-income program adopted by the Colorado PUC. February 2012

  Home Energy Affordability in New York: The Affordability Gap  

A documentation of home energy unaffordability in New York in 2011, by income and by geographic regions (2nd in a three-part series). A special look at the characteristics of public and assisted housing. August 2012.

  Home Energy Affordability in Connecticut: The Affordability Gap  

A documentation of home energy unaffordability in Connecticut in 2012, by income and geographic regions (continuing series). Includes a special discussion of public and assisted housing tenants. December 2012.

  Owning up to the Problem: Limiting the Use of an Assets Test for Determining Home Energy Assistance Eligibility  

After reviewing limitations on the use of assets tests for non-energy assistance programs, this report concludes also that use of an assets test in eligibility determinations for LIHEAP and utility rate affordability programs is inappropriate. April 2013.

  Home Energy Affordability in New York: The Affordability Gap  

A documentation of home energy unaffordability in New York in 2012, by income and by geographic regions (3rd in a three-part series). A special look at the characteristics of renters and rental housing. October 2013.

  Home Energy Affordability in Connecticut: The Affordability Gap  

A documentation of home energy unaffordability in Connecticut in 2013, by income and geographic regions (continuing series). Includes a discussion of income trends over time, by various demographic characteristics. November 2013

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Natural Resource Economics
  A Case Study in Environmental and Poverty Conflict: "Cash for Clunkers" as a Clean Air Strategy   This paper considers how sound environmental policy --offering to buy old automobiles and replacing them with newer and cleaner cars-- can come into conflict with state and federal poverty programs. The paper explains how to assess and avoid such conflicts.
  Importance of the Burden of Proof in Environmental Legislation   This paper considers the implications of shifting the burden of proof in environmental legislation in such a way that industry would have to make a substantial and convincing case for the non-hazardous nature of its discharges before being allowed to release any potentially hazardous substance to the environment.
  Restitutionary Tools in Natural Resources Litigation: Confronting the Coasian Corporation   This paper provides a detailed analysis of the structure of the class action as a tool to use in approaching certain sorts of natural resource related problems. It elaborates a litigation design which is based on an unjust enrichment model rather than on a tort damages model.
  Proposal for the Use of Pervious Pavement for Repaving the Belmont High School Parking Lot   The use of pervious pavement for the resurfacing of a High School parking lot is good environmental policy and is a fiscally sound investment decision by a local government. January 2013.

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Public Benefits
  The Integration of Federal LIHEAP Benefits with Ratepayer-Funded Percentage of Income Payment Programs (PIPPs): Legal and Policy Questions Involving the Distribution of Benefits   This report considers whether federal law requires that fuel assistance distributed through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in states with a ratepayer-funded Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) be used exclusively to pay a customer’s percentage of income copayment. The paper reviews the three "models" through which LIHEAP benefits are integrated with PIPPs around the nation. October 2009.
  The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as "Energy Assistance" in Pennsylvania   This report considers local empirical data on one group of households that is often "missed" by existing fuel assistance programs: the working poor. Often with incomes too high to qualify for public assistance programs, these households nonetheless also have too little income to be able to afford their winter home heating bills. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps to meet the needs of these households. June 2009.
  The Law and Economics of Determining Hot Water Energy Use in Calculating Utility Allowances for Public and Assisted Housing   This report considers the various factors that go into establishing hot water energy consumption for utility allowances. It explains how to calculate hot water energy use given different mixes of hot and cold water, how to evaluate stand-by energy losses at different temperatures, and how to assess the health and safety issues associated with hot water. February 2007.
  The Economic Development Impacts of Home Energy Assistance: The Entergy States   The delivery of low-income home energy assistance in the states served by Entergy operating companies provides a wide range of economic benefits to those states. Frequently thought of exclusively as a way to prevent unpaid utility bills, and to preserve service against termination for nonpayment, in fact, low-income energy assistance can also be viewed as a strategy to promote economic development and employment (particularly in low-income communities). This report quantifies the economic impacts that low-income energy assistance provides to the Entergy states. October 2003.
  Accounting for Utility Allowances for Heating Costs in Setting LIHEAP Benefits in Washington State   This memo prepared for Evergreen Legal Services considers the reasonableness of Washington State's treatment of heating-related utility allowances for public and assisted housing in setting fuel assistance benefits for tenants of such housing.
  Affidavit of Peter Fisher Challenging Exclusion of Depreciation as an Expense in the Generation of Self-Employment Income for Food Stamp Eligibility Determinations   This affidavit was presented in federal court in support of a challenge to the Department of Agriculture's exclusion of depreciation as an expense in the determination of income for purposes of setting food stamp eligibility.
  Affordable Housing and Section 8 Utility Allowances: (Part 1: Adequacy of Annual Allowances; Part 2: Adequacy of Monthly Allowances)   This two part paper considers ways through which the adequacy of utility allowances for Section 8 (and by extension public housing) units may be assessed and recommends remedies.
  Allocating Undesignated Utility Allowances to Heat in Washington State Subsidized Housing Units   This memo prepared for Evergreen Legal Services considers how to determine the appropriate level of a utility allowance that is available for heating in public or assisted housing, when the state sets federal fuel assistance benefits.
  An Economic Analysis of the HHS Rule Eliminating AFDC Benefits to Families with Motor Vehicle Assets over $1,500   This paper considers the rationality of a regulation limiting low-income households to an automobile worth no more than $1,500 for establishing welfare eligibility.
  Comments of the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) Regarding IRS Proposed EITC Precertification Procedures (2003)   This set of comments documents the barriers that low wage workers will experience in seeking to access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in light of precertification requirements proposed by the IRS.
  Credit Where Credit is Due: Public Utilities and the Earned Income Tax Credit for Working Poor Utility Customers (2002)   This paper discusses the advantages of utility company participation in promoting the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
  Determining Household Energy Consumption in Washington State in the Absence of 12 Months of Usage Data   This memo prepared for Evergreen Legal Services considers how best to estimate low-income heating bills when a full year of data is not available at the service address for which assistance is sought.
  Establishing Telecommunications Lifeline Eligibility: The Use of Public Benefits Programs and its Impact on Lawful Immigrants (2000)   This paper explores the implications for lawful immigrants in using public benefits programs as the exclusive means through which low-income households may qualify for the telephone Lifeline program, when immigrants are subject to “public charge” ramifications.
  Integrating Government-Funded and Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs (2001)   This workbook presents a detailed examination of whether, and how, a ratepayer-funded low-income energy assistance program can be integrated with existing government-funded programs such as LIHEAP.
  Nonparticipation in Public Benefit Programs: Lessons for Energy Assistance   This paper reviews state and national studies on why eligible households do and do not participate in a variety of public benefit programs. The purpose is to respond to why households do not participate in fuel assistance and to offer guidance on what actions poverty advocates, regulators and public benefits program administrators might take to remedy that failure.
  Outreach Strategies for Iowa’s LIHEAP Program: Innovation in Improved Targeting (2000)   Using analysis from a wide set of public assistance programs, this report presents a detailed set of recommendations for using specific targeted strategies to reach narrowly defined subpopulations of low-income households.
  Problems with the Current Procedure for Determining the Standard of Need in Tennessee's AFDC Program   This paper critiques a state's determination of the "standard of need" underlying the level of its welfare payments.
  Targeting Impacts of Proposed Washington State LIHEAP Distribution Formula   This memo prepared for Evergreen Legal Services considers whether the means for distributing federal fuel assistance in Washington State appropriately targets assistance to households with the highest energy bills and lowest incomes in relation to income.
  The Implications of Minimum and Maximum Benefits in Washington State's LIHEAP Program   This memo prepared for Evergreen Legal Services considers the distributional implications of the decision to cap federal fuel assistance benefits and to establish a floor for fuel assistance benefits.
  The Role of Utility Costs in Setting Fair Market Rents for Section 8 Housing   This paper presents an analysis submitted to HUD regarding how and why the level of utility costs should be explicitly considered in setting Section 8 Fair Market Rents each year.
  A Fuel Assistance Tracking Mechanism: Measuring the Impact of Changes in Weather and Prices on the Bill Payment Coverage Capacity of LIHEAP   This paper considers a mechanism to track the compounded impact of fuel prices and weather on the adequacy of LIHEAP in any given year. It proposes and models over a multi-year period a Fuel Assistance Tracking Mechanism (FATM) to assess the impact of changes in heating and cooling prices, in combination with changes in weather, on the "bill payment coverage capacity" of federal LIHEAP dollars. 2d Edition December 2014.
  The Recapture of Interest on LIHEAP Payments to Unregulated Fuel Vendors: An Evaluation of the 1987 Maine Program   When LIHEAP benefits exceed the amount due on an account, the prepaid LIHEAP dollars provide an economic benefit to the vendor holding them until used. This report documents the extent to which LIHEAP could be leveraged by recapturing the interest that would be due on those prepaid benefits. April 1988.
  The Percentage of Income Payment Plan in Jefferson County, Kentucky: One Alternative to Distributing LIHEAP Benefits   This report presents a structural and cost analysis of implementing a process of distributing LIHEAP benefits that would reduce home heating bills in Jefferson County (Louisville) Kentucky to an affordable percentage of income. January 1991.
  Percentage of Income Payment Plans as an Alternative Distribution of LIHEAP Benefits: Good Business, Good Government, Good Social Policy   Prepared at the request of Mass Electric Company, this report discusses the benefits of distributing LIHEAP to support a percentage of income payment plan (PIPP) in Massachusetts. March 1991.

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Public Finance
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How Well Does Belmont’s Town Meeting Reflect the Community at Large? This study considers the extent to which the "representative Town Meeting" of Belmont, Massachusetts reflects the demographic make-up of the underlying community. Belmont is a small inner-ring suburb of Boston, operating under a representative Town Meeting form of government. December 2009
Beyond Social Welfare: Promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as an Economic Development Strategy This presents a state-by-state analysis of the economic multiplier effects of bringing additional monies into the state through increased use of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
  Economic Development Rates: Targeting, Justifying, Enforcing   This paper proposes a new way to structure an "economic development rate" by public utilities.
  Fiscal Stability and Risk Management Over Time: Planning for Reasonable Fund Balances and Reserves   This report recommends an appropriate level of reserves and suggests a policy for the maintenance of those funds for the Residential Environmental Management Department, of a regional council of governments in and around Portland (OR).
  Funding Social Services Through Voluntary Contribution Programs: A Proposal for SNET Participation in Funding INFOLINE's Information and Referral Services in Connecticut   This report explores the structure and administration of a voluntary check-off system by a local phone company as a means to fund a statewide information and referral organization.
  Raising Local Government Revenue through Utility Franchise Fees: If the Fee Fits, Foot It (1989)   This article explores the use of utility franchise fees by municipal governments, and explains how such fees can be structured to avoid the charge that they represent new taxes.
  Rate Regulation in the Solid Waste Disposal Industry: A Review of Standards and Performance   This paper explores how the solid waste industry is organized and regulated, how rates are set, and whether rates are likely to be fair and reasonable to ratepayers given the challenges involved.

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Utility Credit & Collection
  An Outcomes Planning Approach to Serving TPU Low-Income Customers   This report presents a series of 42 recommendations on how a municipal public utility can better serve its low-income customers. For each recommendations, it presents a problem statement, a measurable outcome, and the local empirical basis for the recommendation. June 2009.
  The Impact of Indiana’s Low-Income Utility Affordability Programs on Nonpayment Disconnections   Three Indiana utilities operate low-income rate affordability programs. This analysis finds that those programs contribute to a decrease in both the number and "intensity" of nonpayment disconnections. September 2007.
  Impact of New Mexico's Winter Moratorium on PNM Winter Arrears   This analysis for Community Action New Mexico looks at arrears data for Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) both before and after implementation of the new winter shutoff moratorium in the 2005/2006 winter heating season. It finds that the new moratorium had no impact on PNM arrears. January 2007.
  Addressing Residential Collections Problems Through the Offer of New Services in a Competitive Electric Utility Industry   This paper posits that utilities need not simply provide a stick to use in an after-the-fact fashion against customers who do not pay their bills. Instead, a creative (and competitive) utility could develop a system of incentives for customers to enter into payment mechanisms that would ensure prompt payment of their bills. The new payment mechanism would represent a new type of service.
  A Fragile Income: Deferred Payment Plans and the Ability to Pay of Working Poor Utility Customers (2002)   This paper documents the volatility of income for low wage workers, as opposed to the absolute level of income, and considers the implications of such income volatility on utility payment plan policies.
  Co-Op Membership and Utility Shutoffs: Service Protections That Arise as an Incident of REC “Membership” (1992/1993)   This article explains how a utility shutoff represents the termination of membership in a rural electric cooperative (REC) and explores the various protections that protect a person’s “membership” status in an association.
  Credit and Collection Strategies in a Competitive Utility Industry   This paper considers why appropriate credit and collection strategies in a competitive utility industry must be sensitive to the reasons for nonpayment as well as the types of additional expenses caused by the nonpayment which the collection strategy is seeking to remedy.
  Customer Deposit Demands by U.S. West: Reasonable Rationales and the Proper Assessment of Risk   This report for the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission briefly outlines the function of a deposit; considers whether the de facto reliance upon commercially available consumer credit reports is a legitimate way to determine utility creditworthiness; considers whether the demand for a deposit when a customer's only demonstration of "risk" is a late payment is rational; and considers whether the demand for a deposit from a customer when a roommate has an unpaid bill from a different address is reasonable or lawful.
  Determining the Cost-Effectiveness of Utility Late Payment Charges   This paper examines the elements which go into a determination of whether a late payment charge is economically justified.
  Heightening the Burden of Proof in Utility Shutoff Cases Involving Allegations of Fraud (1990)   This article discusses the various standards of proof in litigation and explains why allegations of fraud must be met by “clear and convincing” evidence.
  Limiting the “Family Necessaries Doctrine” as a Means of Imposing Third Party Liability for Utility Bills (2001)   This article explores the limitations that a utility faces when seeking to impose third party liability for a prior utility debt when the debt was incurred by a spouse.
  Prepayment Meters and the Low-Income Consumer   This report considers the policy and cost-justifications for using prepayment meters in circumstances where a consumer has a demonstrated inability-to-pay.
  Protecting Against the Harms of the Mistaken Utility Undercharge (1991)   This article explores the historical use of the “filed rate doctrine” in cases involving mistaken utility undercharges and explains the limitations on that doctrine.
  Public Utility Credit and Collection Activities Establishing Standards and Applying them to Low-Income Utility Programs   This paper develops and presents evaluation mechanisms that permit policymakers, public or private, to consider the relative merits of various responses to residential payment troubles. It examines objective processes by which to measure both the effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness of utility credit and collection activities generally. The purpose of the research presented in this report is to examine what might be an appropriate methodology that may be used to ascertain and establish the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of utility credit and collection techniques. The report does not apply that methodology to any particular technique to determine the desirability of different credit and collection practices undertaken by various utilities.
  Telecommunications Credit and Collections and Controlling SNET Uncollectibles   This report for the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel considers the legal and economic ramifications of a proposal by a local exchange carrier: (a) to redefine "service termination" to exclude toll restrictions; (b) to introduce new restrictions on toll usage that shows abuse or risk of abuse; and (c) to terminate without notice in cases of suspected fraud or material misrepresentation in obtaining service.
  The Discriminatory Impacts of Conditioning Iowa’s Winter Utility Shutoff Protections on the Receipt of LIHEAP (2003)   This report quantifies the extent to which conditioning the protections of Iowa’s winter utility shutoff moratorium on the receipt of LIHEAP has the effect of discriminating against Hispanic utility customers.
  The Legality of Conditioning Utility Service on Payment of a New Roommate’s Old Debt (2001)   This article explores the limitations that a utility faces when seeking to impose third party liability for a prior utility debt when a roommate incurred the debt.
  Use of Utility Data Processing Records as a Data Mining Source on Low-Income Consumers: Converting Information to Knowledge   This paper explains the wealth of information maintained in existing utility systems that can be tapped through the simple analyses described herein to make educated determinations of: (1) who low-income consumers might be; and (2) what types of payment problems those consumers are experiencing.
  Using State Utility Commission Regulations to Control the “Unregulated” Utility (1993)   This article explains how “unregulated” utility companies, such as rural electric cooperatives (RECs) and municipal water departments, can be held to industry standards of behavior articulated in state utility commission regulations even if state commissions do not directly regulate those companies.
  Winter Weather Payments: The Impact of Iowa’s Winter Utility Shutoff Moratorium on Utility Bill Payments by Low-Income Customers (2002)  

This program evaluation uses four years of data to quantify the extent to which low-income utility customers protected by the Iowa winter utility shutoff moratorium change their payment patterns when not subject to the loss of service for nonpayment.

  Determining the Cost-Effectiveness of Utility Credit and Collection Techniques  

One of the early seminal works examining traditionally-accepted credit and collection practices, this report challenges the cost-effectiveness of disconnections for nonpayment, cash security deposits, late payment charges, and deferred payment agreements. Recommendations for change are included. July 1990.

  Controlling Uncollectible Accounts in Pennsylvania: A Blueprint for Action  

After documenting the extent and consequences of unpaid utility bills by low-income customers in Pennsylvania, this report explores the rate affordability options that would reduce those unpaid bills and provide benefits to low-income participants, non-participants, and the utility companies themselves. A rate affordability program can be viewed as an improved collection scheme. December 1990.

  Credit and Collection Fees and Low-Income Households: Ensuring Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness  

Prepared for the Missouri Public Counsel, this report considers whether imposing a late charge on unpaid bills by low-income households will improve or further degrade overall payment patterns. July 1994.

  Determining the Cost-Effectiveness of Imposing Customer Deposits for Utility Service  

This study considers the functions of a utility cash security deposit, the costs of imposing and maintaining such a deposit, and the savings generated by collection of a deposit. It concludes that the collection of security deposits, overall, are generally not cost-effective and offers suggested alternatives. November 1994.

  Attributes of Massachusetts Gas/electric Arrearage Management Programs (AMPS): 2011 Program Year  

This report compares the program design attributes of Massachusetts utility "arrearage management programs" (AMPs) and examines the effectiveness of such programs in helping low-income customers maintain service. The report concludes that the Massachusetts AMP initiative does not work particularly well. March 2012.

  Indiana Billing and Collection Reporting: Natural Gas and Electric Utilities  

This report presents data from the third year of billing and collections reporting by Indiana’s six largest utilities (2006 – 2007). Data on bills, arrears, disconnections, reconnections, payment plans, and related issues is presented for residential and for low-income residential customers. May 2008.

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Utility Restructuring
  Competitive Solicitation as an Integrated Resource Planning Model: Its Competitive Impacts on Small Businesses Serving Low-Income Households   This report assesses the impacts that a "competitive solicitation" model will have on small businesses, and by extension, on low-income households within a utility Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) context. This evaluation is undertaken because the interests of low-income households and small businesses are often interwoven.
  Aggregating Low Income Customers: Can Market-Based Solutions Fix Market-Based Problems?   Many policymakers believe that electric restructuring will not be kind to small users, such as low-income residential customers. This report examines whether the process of aggregation, in any of its various forms, can help a retail choice electric industry deliver quality service at reasonable rates to low-income consumers. June 1998. NOTE: This is a large file (12.4 mB).
  Integration of LIHEAP with Energy Assistance Programs Created through Electric and/or Natural Gas Restructuring   Many states that have adopted electric and/or natural gas restructuring legislation (or regulatory decisions) have also adopted mechanisms to support low-income energy assistance programs through rates. This report presents the results of a one-day symposium convened by the federal LIHEAP office to consider how to maximize the opportunities for cooperation and minimize the potential for conflict between LIHEAP and the new state low-income energy assistance programs. February 2000.
  Designing Consumer Education Programs in a Restructured Electric Industry   Consumer education is almost universally considered an essential component to any move toward a restructured utility industry (electric or gas). This paper outlines the five basic steps involved with the design of an effective consumer education program.
  Electric Industry Restructuring and a National Energy Security Fund   This paper proposes the creation of a National Energy Security Fund (NESF) to help maintain universal electric service for residential customers. Several of the principle components of the proposed NESF are modelled on other social safety net insurance programs such as worker's compensation, unemployment compensation, and social security.
  Electric Industry Restructuring and the Regulation of Electric Service Providers: The Role of the Fair Housing Act   This article explores how, as attention turns away from state regulation as the sole constraint on utility behavior in this increasingly competitive world, consumers may well focus on federal statutes such as the Fair Housing Act as an alternative form of providing consumer protections.
  Electric Restructuring and the Low-Income Consumer   This is FSC's seminal 15-part series on electric restructuring and the low-income consumer. Written in clear non-technical language, it is intended to explain restructuring to the lay persons, including consumers, state legislators, and the media.
  Electric Restructuring the Low-Income Consumer: Legislative Implications for Colorado   This report for the Colorado legislature documents the impacts that electric restructuring will have on low-income consumers and proposes specific legislative language setting forth appropriate responses.
  Monitoring the Impact of Electric Restructuring on Low-Income Consumers: The What, How and Why of Data Collection   Much research predicts that low-income customerswill be adversely affected by electric restructuring. This paper proposes a set of indicators through which to measure the impacts of electric restructuring on low-income consumers as restructuring unfolds.
  Municipal Aggregation for Retail Natural Gas and Electric Service: Potentials, Pitfalls and Policy Implications   This report examines the operation of municipal aggregation in a retail choice electric environment. The report identifies certain issues that are raised by municipal aggregation and presents two sets of "findings." The first set considers municipal aggregation from the perspective of the local government. The second considers municipal aggregation from the perspective of the individual consumer.
  Performance-Based Evaluation of Maintaining Universal Service in a Competitive Utility Industry   This report explains how to engage in performance measurement of universal service programs in a restructured electric industry. Using the federal Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) as a model, the report proposes a model for measuring the performance of universal service programs and illustrates the model by exercising it using data for Pennsylvania electric and gas utilities.
  Rewriting The "Social Compact": A Competitive Electric Industry and its Core Customers   This article explains how, when historically the social compact to which electric utilities have been held involves what is called the public utility's common law "duty to serve," that compact can be rewritten to ensure that the interests of the industry's core customer classes are placed on a level playing field with the interests of customers who are big enough, and powerful enough, to exercise both market and political power.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Indiana   This paper considers the outlines of a "wires charge" within the State of Indiana. Prepared at the request of Indiana Citizens Action Campaign, the paper presents a detailed outline, using Indiana-specific data, of a wires charge through which the State may generate revenues for low-income home energy assistance.
  Assessing Impacts on Small-Business, Residential and Low-Income Customers   This report for the National Research Consortium on Electric Restructuring considers the impact of electric restructuring on low-income consumers and other small users. October 1996
  Structuring A Public Purpose "Distribution Fee" for Missouri   This paper considers the outlines of a public purpose distribution fee for the State of Missouri. Prepared at the request of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the paper presents a detailed outline, using Missouri-specific data, of a distribution fee through which the State may generate revenues for low-income home energy assistance, energy efficiency and renewable resources.
  System Benefit Charges: Why All Customer Classes Should Pay    
  The Low-Income Interest in Electric and Natural Gas Utility Mergers and Acquisitions   This paper presents a detailed discussion of how electric mergers and acquisitions disproportionately adversely affect low-income consumers and proposes "rules" on how to address those impacts.
  The Need for Regulation in a Competitive Electric Utility Industry   This article explains why whether or not an industry should be regulated does not depend on whether the industry is "workably competitive." An industry may be workably competitive but nonetheless still be necessarily subject to public control for the public good. The article concludes that while competition is not irrelevant to the issue of regulation versus deregulation, neither is it determinative.
  Understanding "Redlining" in a Competitive Electric Utility Industry   This article explains the various forms which "redlining" might take in a competitive electric industry, explains the different public policy responses to potential redlining, and proposes specific anti-redlining language.
  Wrong-Way Street: Reversing the Subsidy Flowing from Low-Income Customers in a Competitive Electric Industry   For years now, utilities and utility regulators have opposed the grant of rate discounts to low-income consumers as a mechanism to make rates affordable. The argument has been that utility rates are required by law to be "non-discriminatory" and that rates which are explicitly based on "affordability" rather than "cost" considerations are unduly preferential and thus contrary to law. This article presents a framework for concluding, and documenting, that fully-allocated cost-of-service studies that have historically been performed for the residential customer class as a whole have systematically and substantially over-assigned costs to low-income consumers. As a result, under existing rate structures, substantial rate subsidies have been flowing from low-income consumers to consumers of more moderate means.
  Economically Stranded Investment in a Competitive Electric Industry: A Primer for Cities, Consumers and Small Business Advocates   This report defines "stranded investment" in a restructured electric industry and assesses the implications of such stranded investments for different stakeholders. March 1995.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Iowa   This report considers the need for, structure of, and cost of imposing a wires charge to support low-income rate affordability and weatherization programs in Iowa. It considers the relative costs of a wires charge depending on which customer classes are called upon to pay it. June 1996.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for New Jersey   This report considers the need for, structure of, and cost of imposing a wires charge to support low-income rate affordability and weatherization programs in New Jersey. It considers the relative costs of a wires charge depending on which customer classes are called upon to pay it. August 1996.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Indiana   This report considers the need for, structure of, and cost of imposing a wires charge to support low-income rate affordability and weatherization programs in Indiana. It considers the relative costs of a wires charge depending on which customer classes are called upon to pay it. April 1996.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Ohio   This report considers the need for, structure of, and cost of imposing a wires charge to support low-income rate affordability and weatherization programs in Ohio. It considers the relative costs of a wires charge depending on which customer classes are called upon to pay it. June 1996.
  Structuring a Low-Income "Wires Charge" for Oklahoma   This report considers the need for, structure of, and cost of imposing a wires charge to support low-income rate affordability and weatherization programs in Oklahoma. It considers the relative costs of a wires charge depending on which customer classes are called upon to pay it. June 1996.
  The "Obligation to Serve" and a Competitive Electric Industry   Drawing on principles established in the health care, health insurance, property insurance, and telecommunications industries, this report for Oak Ridge National Laboratory considers the scope and basis for imposing an "obligation to serve" on competitive electric service provider. May 1997.
  Natural Gas Prices by Customer Class Pre- and Post-Deregulation: A State-by-State Briefing Guide   This report presents information on natural gas price movement for both industrial and residential customers during the 22 year period 1975 through 1996. The report finds that it inaccurate to conclude that natural gas price deregulation brought generally lower prices to customers throughout the nation. October 1998.

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