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2010 LIFE Statewide Conference

The 2010 LIFE Statewide Conference was held on May 18th and 19th, 2010 at the Albany Marriott. The event was attended by representatives from state and local government, community based organizations, and utilities. The agenda featured four tracks, twenty workshops, the presentation of the 2010 LIFE Achievement Awards, two Poverty Simulation exercises, and exhibitors. A summary of the workshops is listed below. To view the presentations, please click on the presenter.

The New Faces of LIFE - 2010 Statewide Conference

9:00 – 10:00 am – Introduction and Welcome

  • Pamela Carter, LIFE Chairperson
  • Michael Corso, Managing Director, New York State Department of Public Service

Remarks:

  • Garry A. Brown, Chairman, New York State Public Service Commission
  • Frank Murray, President & CEO, NYSERDA

Keynote Speakers:

  • David A. Paterson, Governor, New York State
  • Paul Tonko, U.S. Congressman, 21st District

Plenary Session: Climate Change in New York State: Impacts and Actions – 10:00am – 10:45

How is climate change impacting New York State and its residents? What actions are being taken within the state to mitigate these impacts? This presentation will provide you with information on some of the initiatives currently underway within New York State to address the impacts of climate change.

Speakers:

Session 1: 11:00am – 12:15pm

Leveraging Resources

This workshop will discuss the creative leveraging options used by the Community Action Angels and WRAP coordinators. The Angels increase Community Action's ability to help people of all income levels, especially low income New Yorkers who have many challenges in meeting their energy burden. Real cases managed by the Office for the Aging, Weatherization Referral and Packaging (WRAP) network will be featured in Energy Stories. Drama is involved and a good time will be had by all.

Moderator

  • Eileen Griffin, NYS Office for the Aging

Presenters:

B. From Food Stamps to Lifeline – Supplemental Programs Available to the Neediest New Yorkers

In addition to programs to assist low income households in affording their electric and gas service, there are many other options to assist these families in making ends meet. OTDA's “myBenefits” is a single resource for a multitude of public assistance programs, including Food Stamps, WIC, health insurance, and tax credit options. Also, all those who are eligible for any of these programs can receive discounts on their telephone service as well. Representatives from OTDA, Assurance Wireless, and Verizon will discuss these supplemental programs.

Moderators:

  • Gregg Collar, NYS Consumer Protection Board
  • Lou Manuta, Public Utility Law Project

Presenters:

C. An Update on WAP

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) allocated $5 billion to the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), with New York State receiving the greatest share of ARRA funds, at $394 million. This presentation will provide information on how the Program is being administered and will discuss the progress being made in New York and across the country.

Moderator:

  • Martin Insogna, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters:

  • Ingo Bensch [PDF], Energy Center of Wisconsin
  • Daniel Buyer [PDF], Asst. Commissioner, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal

D. Utility Outreach Initiatives

Do you know what utility billing and payment assistance services are available? Would you like to know how utilities handle special needs' customers in critical situations? This workshop can help! It will provide you with general information on utility billing and payment assistance options and show you how utilities work with special need customers in particular situations.

Moderator:

  • Virginia Walsh, LIPA/REAP

Presenters:

  • Mary Haskell, NYSEG/RG&E
  • Tracey Lombardo, Orange and Rockland Utilities
  • Phil Miller, Consolidated Edison of NY
  • Anne O'Connell, National Grid
  • Kyro Ojulo, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
  • Ann Russell, National Fuel Gas

Conference Luncheon and Presentation of 2010 LIFE Achievement Awards: 12:30pm – 1:45pm

The LIFE Achievement Awards

While LIFE serves as a forum to discuss issues and exchange information relevant to low–income energy consumers, the individuals at the state, county, and local levels perform an instrumental role in this effort by bringing this information to the communities and individuals in need. As part of the 2010 LIFE Statewide Conference, we will honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in addressing the issue of energy affordability for low–income New Yorkers. These “unsung heroes” play an essential role through education and outreach efforts aimed at helping low–income consumers address their energy challenges.

Host:

  • Douglas Elfner, Director, Office of Consumer Policy, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenter:

  • Patricia L. Acampora, Commissioner, NYS Public Service Commission

Awardees:

  • Miguel Santos, National Grid
  • Sharon Sutherland, Chenango County Department of Social Service
  • Carol Sweeney, Honeywell International

Session 2: 2:00pm – 3:15pm

A. Workforce Development: Entry Level Training Initiatives

How do you learn the basics of weatherization to prepare for a potential career in the green economy? What training is available in New York State? This workshop will provide information on entry level training initiatives that are happening across New York State.

Moderator:

  • Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors Association

Presenters:

B. Education Strategies: Making Choices to Reduce Those Towering Electric Bills

This presentation will explore the cost of using the electric appliances in your home. Receive tools to assist you and your customers to better understand electric use and discover ways to reduce your electric consumption.

Moderator:

  • Roxanne Edwards, NYS Weatherization Directors Association

Presenter:

  • Carol Sweeney, Honeywell International
  • Chuck Dolinskas, Honeywell International
  • Alyssa Iaia, Honeywell International

C. What is Green Jobs – Green New York?

On October 13, 2009, Governor David A. Paterson signed the Green Jobs – Green New York bill into law. Green Jobs – Green New York is a statewide program to promote energy efficiency and the installation of clean technologies to reduce energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program supports sustainable community development, creates opportunities for green jobs, and is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). This presentation will provide information on the various components of the Program and will discuss the role that community–based organizations may play in the delivery of the Program.

Moderator:

  • Reggie Neville, NYSERDA

Presenters:

D. The MLK Energy Challenge

The Martin Luther King Park Energy Challenge is a collaboration between state government, elected officials and community based organizations with a goal of delivering energy efficiency services and home repairs to a distressed neighborhood in East Side Buffalo. This workshop will discuss the benefits and challenges of coordinating services between multiple entities and demonstrate the lessons learned from this project. Outreach strategies, funding integration and other tools for successful collaboration will be discussed.

Moderator:

  • Gladys Brangman, NYSERDA

Presenters:

  • Kelvin Keraga, NYSERDA
  • Marlena Pirri, Honeywell International, Inc.

Session 3: 3:45pm – 5:00pm

A. Communicating with Diverse Populations: The Art of Giving and Receiving

Effective Communication with diverse populations can seem like navigating an obstacle course. This workshop is designed to help you sharpen your skills for effective communication and to approach these challenges with a greater sense of personal comfort and control.

Moderator:

  • Denise Harlow, CEO, New York State Community Action Association

Presenters:

  • Debra Hagenbuch, Executive Director, Central New York Labor Agency
  • Garry Colarusso, Central New York Labor Agency

B. Consumer Education: ESCO Marketing and Deliverable Fuels

As New York State's electric industry has opened up to competition, consumers across New York State have been given new choices on who they are able purchase electricity from. While the options have increased, so have the marketing campaigns, choices, and possible confusion that consumers may face. This presentation will provide you with information on Energy Service Companies and will what to look for when considering an ESCO for your energy needs.

As New Yorkers prepare for the upcoming heating season, home heating oil, kerosene, or propane dealers may offer the opportunity to enter into a Price Protection Plan (PPP), which can help budget fuel costs for the heating season and provide protection from rising fuel prices. This presentation will provide you with information on how Price Protection Plans work and how to evaluate a plan that is offered to you or your client.

Moderator:

  • Rich Gifford, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters:

  • LuAnn Scherer, NYS Department of Public Service
  • John Walters, NYS Consumer Protection Board

C. Energy Literacy + Green Living = Sustainable Living

Energy literacy and green living is more than knowing this information; it is reacting to it and ultimately changing behavior. NYSERDA's Energy Action at Home curriculum contains basic energy literacy information and a set of activities, appropriate for children and parents. Attendees will learn the importance of sustainability at home and work and methods to implement the activities in the community. Join this lively, interactive workshop and receive free materials to take back to your office.

Moderator:

  • Debora Moran, NYSERDA,

Presenters:

  • Therese Tuers, NYSERDA

D. Energy Efficiency Equipment & Technology Demonstration

Have you heard of a smart strip or blower door test and wonder what they are? Do you want to refer a client for weatherization and not sure how to explain what to expect? This workshop will provide you with a hands–on look at some of the energy efficiency tools and new technology currently being used to reduce energy consumption.

Moderator:

  • Erin O’Dell–Keller, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poverty Simulation I: 8:30am – 11:00am

The Poverty SimulationLink opens in new window – close new window to return to this page. is designed to help participants understand what it might be like to be part of a low–income family trying to survive from month to month. The experience can help to sensitize participants to the realities of life for low–income people. The simulation will be facilitated by Chautauqua OpportunitiesLink opens in new window – close new window to return to this page..

Session 4: 8:30am – 9:45am

A. Contractor Awareness: Know Your Contractor

When contracting for home improvements or energy services, do you know what you or your client’s rights are? Do you know how to select a reputable contractor? This workshop will provide you with information on how to evaluate a contractor prior to contracting for services and will also discuss the options available when a dispute arises.

Moderator:

  • Joseph DeRosa, NYSERDA

Presenter:

B. Protections for Utility Customers: The Help You Need– a Call Away

Every day, staff from the Public Service Commission's Office of Consumer Services assists New York Consumers with consumer protection issues covered by the Home Energy Fair Practices Act. This may include estimated bills, back billing for energy service or assisting payment troubled customers in negotiating deferred payment agreements.

Consumer Service staff will present some real–life examples in a role play format. The role play will demonstrate what occurs when a utility consumer contacts the PSC's Call Center for assistance. Staff will also be available to answer questions concerning the Home Energy Fair Practices Act and the services staff offers.

Moderator:

  • Sandra Sloane, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters:

  • Donna DeVito, NYS Department of Public Service
  • Laura Getz, NYS Department of Public Service
  • John Hoch, NYS Department of Public Service
  • David LaBombard, NYS Department of Public Service
  • Deborah Sippel, NYS Department of Public Service
  • Kelley Tuohy, NYS Department of Public Service

C. Efficiency for New York's Various Housing Stock

New York State is a geographically expansive and diverse state and as a result has varied housing stock with unique opportunities & restrictions for energy efficiency and retrofit installations. This session will provide you with a detailed overview of these types of housing stock as well as targeted best practices for maximized energy efficiency and energy savings from retrofit work. These best practices are designed to consider building science strategies for reduced heat loss, specific geographic climate issues affecting housing around statewide as well as the material & construction type of each type of housing stock.

Moderator:

  • Katharine Perry, Association for Energy Affordability

Presenter:

Session 5: 10:15am – 11:30am

A. Grant Writing 101– The Nuts and Bolts of a Successful Proposal

As we continue to seek resources to serve clients and further develop our organizations, grants can provide an excellent source of much needed funds. The workshop will cover the basic components of common grant proposals: the need to be addressed, the goals and objectives of the project, the plan of operation, evaluation and the budget. Other topics to be covered include: the general questions that have to be addressed when developing ideas for grant funding, and the identification of potential funding sources.

Moderator:

  • Roxanne Edwards, NYS Weatherization Directors Association

Presenter:

B. Exploring the Changing World of Credit

Consumer Credit has undergone some major changes in 2010. In this session we will discuss those changes and how they impact consumers. We will also explore wise strategies for successfully managing consumer credit and the traps to avoid.

Moderator:

  • Virginia Walsh, LIPA/REAP

Presenter:

C. New York’s Energy Assistance Programs: An Overview

This workshop will provide you with an overview of the various income–eligible energy efficiency, weatherization, and assistance programs that are administered by New York State agencies. Attendees will program information such as eligibility criteria, application procedures, and benefits. Whether you’re new to the energy field or just looking to brush–up, this workshop is for you!

Moderator:

  • Tim Kovarik, NYS Office for the Aging

Presenters:

  • Brian Atchinson, NYSERDA
  • Paula Cook [PDF], NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
  • Pat Costello, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal
  • David Friello, NYSERDA

Plenary Session: Affordability Initiatives in Ontario, 11:45am – 12:30pm

The Low–Income Energy Network (LIEN)

The goal of the Low–Income Energy Network (LIEN) is to ensure universal access to adequate, affordable energy as a basic necessity, while minimizing the impacts on health and on the local and global environment of meeting the essential energy and conservation needs of all Ontarians. LIEN promotes programs and policies which tackle the problems of energy poverty and homelessness, reduce Ontario's contribution to smog and climate change, and promote a healthy economy through the more efficient use of energy, a transition to renewable sources of energy, education, and consumer protection.

Presenter:

Post Conference Educational Opportunities

Session 6: 1:00pm – 2:15am

A. Grant Writing 101– The Nuts and Bolts of a Successful Proposal

As we continue to seek resources to serve clients and further develop our organizations, grants can provide an excellent source of much needed funds. The workshop will cover the basic components of common grant proposals: the need to be addressed, the goals and objectives of the project, the plan of operation, evaluation and the budget. Other topics to be covered include: the general questions that have to be addressed when developing ideas for grant funding, and the identification of potential funding sources.

Moderator:

  • Holly Thompson, Orange & Rockland Utilities

Presenter:

Energy Efficiency Equipment & Technology Demonstration

Have you heard of a smart strip or blower door test and wonder what they are? Do you want to refer a client for weatherization and not sure how to explain what to expect? This workshop will provide you with a hands–on look at some of the energy efficiency tools and new technology currently being used to reduce energy consumption.

Moderator:

  • Pat Costello, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal

Presenters:

  • Mark Michalski, NYSERDA
  • Matt Redmond, New York State Weatherization Directors Association

Poverty Simulation II: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

The Poverty SimulationLink opens in new window – close new window to return to this page. is designed to help participants understand what it might be like to be part of a low–income family trying to survive from month to month. The experience can help to sensitize participants to the realities of life for low–income people. The simulation will be facilitated by Chautauqua OpportunitiesLink opens in new window – close new window to return to this page.

Exhibitors

Last Updated: 07/01/2014