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Wisconsin Maximizing Energy Assistance Dollars Through Crisis Prevention Strategies

Wisconsin Maximizing Energy Assistance Dollars Through Crisis Prevention Strategies

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Wisconsin Maximizing Energy Assistance Dollars Through Crisis Prevention Strategies

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  1. Wisconsin Maximizing Energy Assistance Dollars Through Crisis Prevention Strategies Linda Djupstrom Energy Program Supervisor Marinette County Health & Human Services

  2. Wisconsin Moves From a Reactive to a Proactive Philosophy • Potential for reduced funding • Emergencies are costly • Disconnect and reconnect costs • Fuel vendor trip charges • Cost to re-ignite furnace • Other considerations • Working relationships between vendors, providers and customers

  3. What Is Proactive? • Identification and assistance to high risk households • Required planning ahead • Beyond immediate needs • Anticipate the crisis • Take action to prevent it • Long term vs. short term solutions needed

  4. Proactive Philosophy • Customer involved in budget & payment process • Vendors - accept affordable payment plans • Customer – needs vs. wants budget • Propane – cost effective pre-buys • Regulated utilities – reduce “no pay” during moratorium • Reduce emergency deliveries

  5. How Did We Begin? • Promote proactive mindset • Training provided • Anticipate target population • Repeat emergencies/disconnects • Fixed and low income and/or high fuel cost • Develop new and strengthen existing networks

  6. How Did We Begin? Cont. • Negotiate payment philosophy with vendors • Conservation to reduce energy costs • Weatherization providers on board • Weatherization/WHEAP under one administration • Dual eligibility application • WHEAP/Weatherization partner in Local Coordination Plan

  7. How Did We Begin? Cont. • Educate utility and bulk vendors • Benefits to proactive approach • Participate in Local Coordination Plan • Annual vendor meetings • Develop resource network • Community resources participate in Local Coordination Plan

  8. Goals of Proactive Approach • Customers develop payment routine • Encourage communication with vendor • Reduce emergency deliveries • Reduce disconnects • Savings through pre-buy programs

  9. Regulated Utilities Goal • Reduce disconnects now and next season • Develop budget with affordable payment • Calculate short fall • Contact other community resources • Advocate payment plan with utility

  10. Utility Contract ExampleJane Smith contract • Arrearage of $400 (has disconnect notice) • Estimated annual energy cost $1,800 • Estimated annual cost ($1,800) plus arrearage ($400) = $2,200 • Realistic customer payment $100 monthly ($100 x 12 = $1,200) • Calculated short fall$1,000 ($2,200 - $1,200)

  11. Utility Contract Example Cont.Jane Smith contract • Solution (Shortfall $1,000/total needed $2,200) • Customer pays $100 monthly = $1,200 • Community resources = $100 • Expected energy check = $200 • Utility arrearage forgiveness plan = $100 • Proactive - 6 pmts of $100 = $600 Customer should not face disconnect next year

  12. Bulk Vendors Goal • Reduce emergency deliveries and offer pre-buy opportunities • Develop budget with affordable payment • Calculate shortfall • Contact other community resources • Advocate payment plan with vendor

  13. Bulk Vendor ExampleJoe Jones contract • Needs emergency delivery $300 • Estimated annual Propane $1,200 • Estimated annual cost ($1,200) + delivery ($300) = $1,500 • Realistic customer payment $75 monthly ($75 x 12 = $900) • Calculated Shortfall $600 ($1,500 - $900)

  14. Bulk Vendor Example Cont.Joe Jones contract • Solution - Shortfall $600/total $1,500 • Customer pays $75 monthly = $900 • Community resources = $200 • Expected energy check = $200 • Proactive - 4 pmts of $100 = $400 • Emergency delivery costs prevented • Potentially eligible for pre-buy in fall

  15. Successful Outcomes • Fewer repeat disconnects • Reduced emergencies and trip charges • Customers eligible for pre-buy programs • Utility arrearage forgiveness programs • Collaboration with community resources • Vendors refer for proactive contracts

  16. Future of the Proactive Philosophy • Decreased funding, high fuel prices, and fixed incomes • After 20 years……could we be right back where we started?

  17. Questions ?