Paying energy arrearages through savings
This study focused on the concept of using energy savings to pay overdue energy bills, to prevent utility shut-offs, and to lower the energy burden for low-income households. To determine the feasibility of including this approach in future program offerings, Efficiency Vermont researched existing arrearage and savings programs and identified two industry best practices that helped frame the remainder of the research:
- Offering discount rates (authority rests with individual distribution utilities in Vermont);
- Running an arrearage management program for low-income customers (regulatory authority is not required in Vermont)
With the November 2017 order issued by the Vermont Public Utility Commission (Commission) to explore and discuss cooperative approaches among utilities, regulators, social service agencies, and providers of energy efficiency services, Efficiency Vermont looks forward to opportunities for greater collaboration with utility partners to deliver clean energy services that help financially vulnerable neighbors gain more financial stability by minimizing their energy burden.