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2014 LIFE Statewide Conference

The 2014 LIFE Conference was held on May 28th and May 29th, 2014 in Albany, NY. Attendees were updated on assistance programs, low-income energy policy, consumer protections, education and advocacy, best practices, and information on emerging energy issues in interactive and innovative sessions.

LIFE Low-Income Forum on Energy

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome and Introduction
9:00am – 9:45am

Remarks:

  • Len Silverstein, LIFE Chairman, New York State Department of Public Service
  • John Rhodes, President/CEO, NYSERDA
  • Audrey Zibelman, Chair, New York State Public Service Commission

Plenary Session 1: New York’s Low-Income Energy Programs: A Recap of the 2013-2014 Program Activities
9:45am – 10:45am

With the heating season finally behind us, we want to take a look back at the activities of New York’s key energy assistance and energy efficiency initiatives during the 2013-2014 program years. This session will provide updates on the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), and the EmPower New York program. Attendees will also be presented with an overview on the statewide subscription of utility low-income programs. In addition, presenters will discuss their expectations for program activity for the next program year.

Moderator
Christopher Coll, NYSERDA

Presenters
Doug Elfner, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]
Tom Carey, NYS Homes and Community Renewal [PDF]
Kelvin Keraga, NYSERDA [PDF]
David Staszak, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Services

Session 1
11:00am – 12:00pm

A. Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)

Learn more about the anticipated effect of the Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative on low-income customers. The Reforming the Energy Vision initiative is designed to create a top-to-bottom restructuring of the State’s energy efficiency programs to help ensure that New Yorkers have access to reliable, clean, and competitively priced electric power. The end goal of the process will be to give consumers greater freedom to manage their total energy bill. In initiating this transformative proceeding, the Public Service Commission determined that better integration of consumer-oriented energy efficiency and clean-energy technologies and a more complete management of the electricity consumed in New York State will improve system-wide reliability, efficiency, and resiliency at just and reasonable rates for New Yorkers. The Commission intends to ensure that clean energy programs and the roles of the regulated utilities and the retail markets are aligned to achieve robust market-driven investments that support the deployment and use of economic energy efficient and clean technologies. These technologies will be critical components in the design and operation of New York’s power system as it meets the challenges of the 21st century.

Moderator
Leonard Silverstein, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenter
Rudy Stegemoeller, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]

B. Superior Customer Service

This is a workshop designed to give anyone who works with the public the tools they need to find their own voice when dealing with a difficult client. This peacemaking approach to conflict breathes grace and brings wisdom into the conversation. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to share with attendees how to communicate with integrity and provide superior customer service.

Moderator
Fred Williams, Con Edison

Presenter
Gladys Brangman, Integrity Communication Group [PDF]

C. Updates on the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Hear from Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Weatherization program staff on recent policy changes and new initiatives. Find out how HCR and the Weatherization provider network are improving quality, ramping up health and safety, and ensuring better outcomes for assisted households. Hear about revised policies on building assessments, health and safety testing, quality assurance certification and inspections, conflicts of interest, contracts with homeowners, deferral policies, and more. An update on HCR initiatives on fuel conversion and renewables will also be provided.

Moderator
Gregg Collar, NYS Department of State
Michael Gorman, NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Presenter
Tom Carey, NYS Homes and Community Renewal [PDF]

D. Serving Vulnerable Populations

The director of the Matt Urban Hope Center will present on the Hope Center’s work in Buffalo, New York assisting a hyper poor, isolated community access needed services to assist them on stabilizing and moving out of poverty. The Center works with the community to help revitalize and empower in an effort to create long term sustainable change. Share the struggles and successes the Center faces in linking especially vulnerable populations, such as those who are homeless, with essential services before and after housing is secured. Representatives from Soldier On will discuss the Solder On model for outreach and assistance to veterans, highlighting the stabilization of individuals in their residential dwellings and the process of following up to support interconnected needs with transportation, mental health assistance, and case management. In addition, the presentation will introduce attendees to the Soldier On’s Women’s Wellness Program, an initiative for female veterans that focuses holistically on mind, body, and spirit by integrating six dimensions of wellness.

Moderator
Kyro Ojulo, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation

Presenter
Joyelle Tedeschi, Matt Urban Hope Center [PDF]
Catherine Doherty, Soldier On

E. What is an Energy Audit?*

A comprehensive energy audit is the first step in determining the energy savings potential of a home. The scope of work developed by the auditor is based on a variety of factors and data collected from the field. This presentation will provide a hands-on look at the process and procedures an auditor goes through while performing a typical residential inspection. Different housing types have their own specific needs and these, along with have their own specific needs and these, along with diagnostic tools regularly used in the field, will be explored.

Moderator
Debora Moran, NYSERDA

Presenter
Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association [PDF]

Conference Luncheon / Remarks and Presentation of the LIFE Achievement Awards
12:00pm – 1:30pm

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 2014 LIFE Statewide Conference, we 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.

Presenter
Michael Corso, NYS Department of Public Service

Awardees
Patty Bashaw, Essex County Office for the Aging,
Joe Guarinello, HeartShare Human Services of New York;
Virginia Walsh, Honeywell Utility Solutions

Plenary Session 2
1:45pm – 2:45pm

Annual federal funding allocations for the major low-income energy programs have regularly declined over the last five years. This session will focus on the status of federal funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). It will include a discussion on how funding for these programs occurs as well as perspectives on what lies ahead for these critical resources.

Moderator
Tina Zerbian, Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc.

Presenters
Meg Power, Economic Opportunity Studies [PDF]
Mark Wolfe, National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association [PDF]

Session 2
3:00pm – 4:00pm

A. Energy Insecurity Among Families with Children

Energy insecurity (EI) reflects an inability to adequately meet basic household heating, cooling, and energy needs. EI is a pervasive and often-overlooked problem for low-income families with children. Conceptually, EI is a multi-dimensional construct that describes the interplay between structural conditions of housing and the costs of household energy. EI is characterized by three primary elements: physical EI – deficient and inefficient housing structures, economic EI – disproportionate share of household income allocated to utility expenses, and coping EI – energy-related coping strategies that could potentially compromise the quality of the home environment and have negative health consequences. The presentation describes the extent of economic EI by family income, demographic characteristics, and geographical area, using the latest and most comprehensive data available. We examine the disproportionate share of household income allocated to energy expenses among families with children, defining this as economic EI, and refer to households with more than 10 percent of energy burden as “energy insecure.” This situation may materialize into trade-offs with other competing expenses such as food and shelter, thus reflecting a potential “trifecta of insecurity” in meeting three basic needs: housing, food and energy.

Moderator
Sharlene Marcano, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenter
Diana Hernandez, National Center for Children in Poverty [PDF]

B. Best Practices for Engaging Low-Income Households in Energy Efficiency by Honing In On What Actually Matters

The problems that low-income residents face are layered. While one service might help solve an acute symptom, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in addressing a multitude of challenges that are intertwined. This is especially true of topics like home energy efficiency, which is mostly associated with reducing energy bills, rather than addressing anxiety-filled trade-offs like “heat or eat” or “heat or health.” This interactive session will explore how to engage low-income consumers differently by tapping into the psycho-social dimensions that impact decision making and behavior change. Attendees will learn:

  • Top 10 things to look for within a resident’s home to identify if an individual or family could benefit from energy efficiency and EmPower New York services
  • Strategies for addressing the psycho-social dimensions that are often present when getting clients to agree to services, and how to overcome what commonly stands in the way of engagement, such as:
    • Calming common fears and anxieties
    • Diffusing the mistrust of contractors
    • Influencing those who can help or hinder, such as landlords
    • Dealing with the unknown, such as strangers in the home
    • Techniques for translating concepts like energy efficiency into things that actually matter to people
    • How to become an energy efficiency advocate to help clients reduce energy costs, and improve their comfort, health and safety

Moderator
Pat Fayo, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region

Presenter
Sarah Gibson, Brand Cool Marketing [PDF]

C. Developing the Green Collar Workforce

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority works to advance the goals of the Green Jobs - Green New York (GJGNY) and the System Benefits Charge (SBC) Programs by developing a workforce equipped to implement energy efficiency, weatherization, green building principles, renewable energy and advanced technology system design and installation. In addition, NYSERDA’s Workforce Development initiatives are designed to advance the skills of new and existing workers, provide job-related experience, and connect new workers to employers. Hear how non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs have taken this opportunity to train underemployed youth and adults and develop career pathways, to meet the demand of this growing energy efficiency industry. Maybe their models can lead to similar programs in your neighborhood.

Moderator
Eric Walker, Center for Social Inclusion

Presenter
Steven Fernandez, GRID Alternatives [PDF]
Lawrence Harris, Green City Force [PDF]
Donnel Baird, BlocPo

D. Housing 2.0: Alternatives to the Double Wide

Traditional low-income housing options such as older homes, mobile homes, and housing projects come with a huge price with many of these structures having very high operating costs along with health concerns. This panel presentation looks at two innovative initiatives underway that may offer better alternatives. The 20K House, a two decade long research project underway at Auburn University’s Rural Studio, has created cutting edge low-income home designs that can be built and maintained by individuals living strictly on social security benefits. These homes are starting to be built throughout the rural south. SunDog Solar, a full-service consultation and installation company offering residential and commercial renewable energy systems and services, has developed the SmartHouse, a fully portable small-scale home that makes its own electricity, stores power, heats water, and does not require a utility hook up.

Moderator
Chuck Schwartz, LI Green

Presenters
Marion McElroy, Auburn University Rural Studio [PDF]
Betsy Wyman, SunDog Solar [PDF]
Jody Rael, SunDog Solar

E. Heating 101

Heating systems in residential housing are complex machines and their proper function could mean the difference between life and death for our low-income constituents. In this session, attendees will learn about typical types of heating plants and we will unravel the mystery of that big noisy box in the basement. This session will be valuable to HEAP certifiers and other non-technical personnel who are interested in learning the basics of how heating systems work, what a cracked heat exchanger is, what constitutes a proper install, and how to work with subcontractors in negotiating the right work to be performed.

Moderator
Andrew Bryk, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Presenter
Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association [PDF]

Session 3
4:15pm – 5:15pm

A. Solar in Low-Income Communities: An Update from the Low- to Moderate-Income Solar Working Group

In 2013, New York was named one of the top five states for solar, and the long-term commitment to solar represented by the NY-Sun initiative will make New York a leader nationally in solar development. But solar installations for low-income households have lagged behind the market, despite the financial and environmental benefits solar can offer. This session will present an update from the Low- to Moderate-Income Solar Working Group, first convened by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in March 2014. The Working Group’s mission is to identify barriers and opportunities for low-income household participation in the solar market in accordance with the NY-Sun program.

Moderator
Matthew Sousa, NYSERDA

Presenters
Max Joel, NYSERDA [PDF]
Steven Fernandez, GRID Alternatives

B. Status of the Retail Energy Markets with a View to Low Income Customers: Recommendations for Reform

Barbara Alexander will provide information about recent events with regard to retail energy markets that have hit the news and resulted in an uproar that has resonated at state legislatures and regulatory commissions in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and other states. How have low-income communities fared in these markets? How should regulators “regulate” this competitive market?

Moderator
Kirsten Ewing, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters
Barbara Alexander, Consumer Affairs Consultant [PDF]

C. Serving More and Serving Better: Effective Policies, Regulations, and Programming for Low-Income Energy Efficiency

For nearly three decades, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation has been a leading advocate and practitioner in the development of policies, regulations, and programs that bring the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy to low-income people. Its effective low-income programming as Efficiency Vermont in rural Vermont and as the DC Sustainability Energy Utility in urban Washington, DC, has been recognized as exemplary. Its consulting work with multiple state agencies and advocates throughout the country provide a great range of experience from which to draw lessons. This session will explore the tried and tested, as well as new innovations in policy and programming that can help to broaden and improve the range of low-income efficiency programming.

Moderator
Christopher Coll, NYSERDA

Presenter
Elizabeth Chant, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation [PDF]

D. Preparing Low-Income Communities for Power Outages

Claire Thomas, Community Preparedness Officer in FEMA Region II, will deliver an interactive presentation on how to prepare low-income communities for power outages. The presentation will include information on developing a family communication plan, putting together a “go kit” for under $20, staying connected during a power outage through social media and text messaging, and becoming involved in the preparedness community. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and access resources at the end of the presentation.

Moderator
Kim McMann, NYS Community Action Association

Presenters
Claire Thomas, Federal Emergency Management Agency [PDF]

E. Health and Safety Weatherization

This presentation highlights the important aspects of health and safety which weatherization staff encounters. Many of these health issues jeopardize the safety and lives of customers. Over the years weatherization auditors and crews have detected and, where possible, corrected numerous health and safety hazards that posed a significant threat to the residents of weatherized homes. The Energy Services Director of Fulmont Community Action Agency will share what experienced staff have encountered, so that others can prevent future harm to the public.

Moderators
Beth Ryan, NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Presenter
Tom Kilinski, Fulmont Community Action

Evening Reception
5:30pm – 6:30pm

Please join the LIFE Steering Committee and your colleagues for light snacks and networking.

Tour of New York State Capitol Building

Tour group will leave the Hilton Albany lobby at 5:30 pm. All attendees who have reserved Capitol Tour attendance will meet outside “Mr. B’s Coffee Café” located in the hotel lobby at 5:30 pm.

The NYS Office of General Services will facilitate a tour of the New York State Capitol Building on May 28 at 6:00 pm. Sitting majestically atop Albany’s State Street hill, the New York State Capitol has served as the seat of government for New York since the 1880s. The building is a marvel of late 19th-century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 25 years. Today the building is undergoing extensive restoration to maintain and protect it for future generations of New Yorkers. Many of the restorations are complete, so even if you have seen the Capitol before, you won’t want to miss this exclusive opportunity to take the updated tour with other LIFE conference attendees.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Session 4
9:00am – 10:00am

A. Fuel Poverty and Energy Affordability in France

This session with Ute Dubois of Institut Superieur de Gestion Business School in Paris, France will be held via video conference.

In Europe, the economic crisis and rising energy prices have intensified fuel poverty during the last years. Many low-income households feel unable to afford heating their homes during the winter and have difficulties to pay their energy bills. Throughout Europe, between 50 and 125 million people can be considered in fuel poverty. Despite a better awareness on the existence of fuel (or energy) poverty, there is no common European definition of fuel poverty or policy framework to address it. The UK has been the first country that implemented an ambitious policy to tackle fuel poverty in 2001. France is one of the countries that have adopted a definition of fuel poverty as well as a set of measures in favor of low-income households. These include social tariffs, special protections for low-income households who are unable to pay their energy bills, and various energy efficiency programs at national and local levels. The aim of this presentation is to show the diversity of fuel poverty problems in Europe and to present French policies in that field. A comparison with the German debate on energy poverty will be done. The case of Germany shows that countries with similar energy poverty problems can address them in very different ways.

Moderator
Christopher Coll, NYSERDA

Presenter
Ute Dubois, Institut Superieur de Gestion Business School [PDF]

B. Utility Low-Income Programs Roundtable

Utilities have a long history of providing energy assistance to their low-income customers—from budget billing to efficiency programs. The utilities roundtable will provide a forum for discussion on the most recent updates to utility low-income energy efficiency and payment assistance programs currently being administered in New York State. Attendees are provided the opportunity for individualized engagement with their representative utility provider.

Moderator
Virginia Walsh, Honeywell Utility Solutions

Presenter
Barbara Michalski, National Grid 4 [PDF]
Kyro Ojulo, Central Hudson Gas and Electric [PDF]
Tina Fritts, NYS Electric and Gas [PDF]
Jackie Petcosky; NYS Electric and Gas [PDF]
Jill Metz, National Fuel Gas
David Braunfotel, Orange and Rockland Utilities
David Nelson, Con Edison

C. Updates on the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NYSOTDA), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) staff will discuss recent events in HEAP and will provide an opportunity for an open discussion on the development of the 2014-2015 program. Participants are encouraged to bring questions, ideas, and opinions to share with NYS OTDA. In addition, participants will be provided with information on MyBenefits.com, a tool designed to promote access to and enrollment of low-income households to HEAP as well as other low-income programs available through NYS OTDA and other New York State Agencies.

Moderator
Sharlene Marcano, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenter
David Staszak, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Services
Andrew Bryk, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

D. Energy Information Engagement among the Poor in North Carolina

Social scientists are beginning to understand a number of ways in which low-income populations face resource challenges that affect not just their material standing but also the ways they engage information. Those challenges, in turn, also constrain the success of programs charged with helping low-income consumers conserve energy through changes in home maintenance and household energy behavior. Southwell and colleagues at RTI International and Duke University have explored both the national relationship between socioeconomic status, energy knowledge, and energy behavior in the U.S. as well as local patterns among Durham, N.C., residents. After first briefly reviewing national survey results, Southwell will outline pilot results from a small set of in-depth interviews with applicants to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program in Durham County. Working with a North Carolina non-profit called Clean Energy Durham, Southwell’s team recently sat down with Durham residents to inquire about their information needs, preferences, and tendencies. The interviews explored the time-orientation of residents, e.g., tendency toward immediate goals versus long-term goals, perceived social network norms regarding community energy education, and a variety of other factors that pose both opportunities and challenges for future energy education outreach efforts. Southwell will discuss the on-going research effort and explore possibilities for collaboration in this arena.

Moderator
Mishel Filisha, NYSERDA

Presenter
Brian Southwell, RTI International [PDF]

E. Manufactured Housing Best Practices*

This fast paced lively session is an introduction to the tools and techniques required to perform a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit for existing single-wide and double-wide manufactured homes. Manufactured homes are quite different from site built homes so techniques and tools have been developed through the years to effectively deliver increased energy efficiency and comfort to the occupants. Some of the areas covered in this session include the order of priorities of retrofit work, duct diagnostics and repairs, belly insulation retrofits, sidewall blow or stuff, and roof insulation techniques. This is a fun interactive session for Home Performance contractors and their staffs who want to learn more about the skills and equipment necessary to properly retrofit manufactured housing.

Moderator
Beth Ryan, NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Presenters
Matt Redmond, NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Session 5
10:30am – 11:30am

A. Improvements to Residential Retail Energy Markets

In February 2014, the NYS Public Service Commission took action directing improvements to the retail energy market to enhance consumer benefits and spur innovation. Through Case 12-M-0476, the Commission established requirements for the utilities and ESCOs that will make it easier for consumers to better understand the costs and benefits of purchasing energy. Through this proceeding, the Commission also strengthened rules for energy service company (ESCO) marketing practices. In addition, the Commission will investigate ways in which ESCOs can facilitate the development of energy-related value-added product and service offerings, such as residential energy-management services, demand-response programs and tools, and other types of energy efficiency measures for residential and small commercial customers. Come and learn more about this important proceeding and what it might mean for low-income energy consumers.

Moderator
Sue Montgomery Corey, Community Power Network of NYS

Presenter
LuAnn Scherer, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]

B. Non-Energy Benefits of Low-Income Programs

This presentation traces the progress that non-energy benefits/non-energy impacts research has come over the last 20 years, current status, and the highest priority remaining challenges. The paper, which focuses on low income programs, discusses the progression from arrearage studies and lists of hypothetical NEBs, through the development of classifications and model- and survey-based measurement methods, to marketing/ targeting applications, and finally, to the growing consideration of NEBs (or subclasses thereof) in regulatory cost-benefit tests. We highlight those categories of NEBs that have biggest value, and those with highest uncertainties, and leading categories of NEBs in low income programs. We note where NEB estimation remains weak and where more progress is needed. We identify the treatment of NEBs in planning / screening and other applications. We examine the justification/principles behind their inclusion in regulatory tests, and provide a detailed discussion of the use of NEBs in regulatory tests across the nation (and places in which the discussion is underway). This presentation on NEBs serves as a comprehensive background on the NEBs field, and a succinct analysis of progress, current NEBs uses, remaining challenges and next directions.

Moderator  
Christopher Coll, NYSERDA

Presenters  
Lisa Skumatz, Skumatz Economic Research Associates [PDF]

C. Supplemental Programs: EPIC, Nutrition Programs, Lifeline

While energy assistance programs such as HEAP and WAP can help a household with their energy costs, taking a holistic approach to cutting expenses is a useful strategy. There are additional programs that can help reduce overall household expenses and put money back in the pockets of those in need. Hear about opportunities provided by EPIC, Lifeline, and nutrition programs.

Moderator
Lori Clark, NYSERDA

Presenter
Candy Rivera Whitehead, Magellan Health [PDF]
Leonard Silverstein, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]
Sandra Rhoades, NYS Department of Health [PDF]

D. Consumer Protections: Scams and Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Victimizing someone is easier than ever, with widespread availability of personal information and access to it. With only a few pieces of valid personal identifiable information, thieves may be able to apply for and receive credit and/or utility services in your name, as well as file fraudulent tax returns. Thieves can also use a variety of scams, frauds, and hoaxes to gain access to your personal information or simply to steal your finances. This presentation is designed to increase your awareness of identity theft and provide strategies to help you prevent victimization. It also provides basic tips to help you recognize and avoid scams while presenting the tools and resources to utilize if you fall victim to a scam.

Moderator
Fred Williams, Con Edison

Presenters
Aiesha Battle, Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection [PDF]

E. Introduction to ASHRAE 62.2-2013*

Proper home ventilation is important to the health and safety of the occupants. New standards have been released that deal with this important issue. This session provides an introductory understanding of the new ASHRAE 62.2-2013 ventilation standard. The session is suitable for those in the weatherization and home performance industry and for those seeking a better understanding of these new ventilation requirements and the equipment required to achieve compliance under this standard.

Moderator
Gregg Collar, NYS Department of State

Presenters
Adam Harris, NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association [PDF]

Plenary Session 3
10:45am – 12:30pm

The Geography of Inequality
This year marks the 50-year anniversary of United States president Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Compared to 1964, poverty looks markedly different in today’s contemporary U.S. society. Recent research suggests that inequalities based on place and the geography of economic exclusion require that we examine the causes and consequences of concentrated poverty – not just in our cities, but also in our suburbs and rural towns – at a granular scale. Mapping at the local scale can highlight emerging and persistent areas of concentrated, chronic, and extreme poverty. Syracuse Community Geography, a unique program hosted by the Syracuse University Geography Department, works with local communities to map the geography of inequality in an effort to guide more targeted policy and programmatic responses. Using geography and mapping as a lens, Jonnell Robinson will highlight some of the major contemporary trends in poverty as well as emerging policy debates around the changing landscape of poverty.

Moderator
Sue Montgomery Corey, Community Power Network of New York State

Presenter
Jonnell Robinson, Syracuse University

Conference Luncheon
12:30pm – 1:15pm

Tour of HVCC Pressure House Training Facility in Troy, NY
1:30pm – 3:45pm

All attendees who have reserved Pressure House Tour attendance will meet outside “Mr. B’s Coffee Café” located in the hotel lobby at 1:30 pm.

Hudson Valley Community College will provide a tour of their “pressure house” training facility on May 29 at 2:00 pm. Built in partnership with the NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association with funding provided through New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the pressure house is designed to train students in weatherization techniques. This 2,000-square-foot house located in historic Troy, New York simulates a series of energy inefficient scenarios that provide students with the opportunity for hands-on problem solving. Don’t miss this rare chance to step inside the training facility and learn about energy efficiency education first hand.

Session 6

A. The Elder Index

New York StateWide Senior Action Council was the lead organization in NY for the NYS Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), to examine issues related to the economic conditions of older New Yorkers, working with partners from Wider Opportunities for Women and the Gerontology Institute of the John W. McCormack School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts. This tool measures, on a New York county by county basis, how much income is needed for an older adult to adequately meet his or her basic needs – without public or private assistance – based on an elder’s housing and health statuses.

Moderator
Eva Gnacik, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenter
Maria Alvarez, NY Statewide Senior Action [PDF]

B. Consumer Protections: Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA)

Since it was enacted in 1981, the Home Energy Fair Practice Act (HEFPA) has provided New York’s residential energy customers with important protections in their relationship with electric and gas utilities, as well as energy service companies. Under HEFPA, consumers are ensured fair treatment in the areas of application for services, billing, and complaint procedures. This presentation will highlight the aspects of HEFPA that are pertinent to those assisting low-income energy consumers.

Moderator
Kyro Ojulo, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation

Presenter
Martin Insogna, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]

C. Updates on the EmPower New York Program

Attendees will be provided with an update on the EmPower New York Program. Focused attention will be paid to the assistance of households affected by severe weather events, the EmPower No Heat Initiative, and coordination of services between EmPower New York and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®.

Moderator
David Friello, NYSERDA

Presenters
Kelvin Keraga, NYSERDA
Nathan Yehle, Honeywell Utility Solutions [PDF]

D. New Generation Energy Efficiency Products

What do you know about LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and advanced power strips? This session will feature an overview of some of the market-ready products and technologies that are being promoted through the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY Products Program. Learn about the latest developments in LED lighting and Advanced Power Strips to find out how these technologies can make energy more affordable for low-income households.

Moderator
Ryan Moore, NYSERDA

Presenters
Ryan Moore, NYSERDA [PDF]
Carl Uthe, Embertic [PDF]
Jeremy Snyder, Lighting Research Institute, RPI [PDF]

E. Trends in Multifamily Building Energy Efficiency

Representing nearly 2.7 million of New York’s occupied housing units, multifamily buildings provide a significant opportunity for energy efficiency in the state. While the potential for significant energy savings exists, there are end use characteristics and investment decision making that are unique to this sector, which can impact the ability to increase the overall energy efficiency of multifamily buildings. This presentation will provide you with an overview of recent trends in energy efficiency for multifamily buildings, including a discussion on common energy efficiency improvements, as well as challenges and opportunities for implementing efficiency upgrades in multifamily building stock.

Moderator
Matt Isgro, NYSERDA

Presenters
Ed Morrison, NYSERDA [PDF]
David Hepinstall, Association for Energy Affordability [PDF]

Session 7
2:45am – 3:45pm

A. Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Home Ownership and Financial Security

Representatives from the Empire Justice Center will present on their recent report, “Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability.” The report provides a comprehensive analysis of New York’s use of Social Services Law §106, which allows Social Services Districts to recover public assistance paid to individuals who own their own homes, by taking a mortgage against the recipient’s property. The report also chronicles the legal background of the practice, the interplay between this policy and the push for foreclosure prevention, the need for detailed recordkeeping, and makes recommendations to ensure that debt is recovered against these mortgages only in the appropriate situations and for the correct amount. The report includes an advocates’ toolkit to help in providing assistance to individuals who have a welfare lien.

Moderator
Kirsten Ewing, NYS Department of Public Service

Presenters  
Susan Antos, Empire Justice Center [PDF]
Saima Akhtar, Empire Justice Center

B. Energy Education Makes Cents

This interactive and enthusiastic presentation focuses on the importance of creating a sustainable model for delivering “Energy Education” in our own communities with the idea of helping people become more energy secure and self-reliant.

Moderator
Lori Clark, NYSERDA

Presenter
Paul Suarez, Foam It Insulation
Jonny Norton, Foam It Insulation

C. Making Ends Meet Debt Management Workshop

Attendees will explore strategies, techniques, and tools for helping their low-income clients manage and maximize their resources. Participants will learn about setting financial goals, getting the most out of a budget, developing a spending plan, and ways to reduce energy bills.

Moderator
Sue Montgomery Corey, Community Power Network of NYS

Presenter
Linda Law-Saunders, Cornell Cooperative Extension-Washington County

D. The Affordable Care Act and its Impact on New York State

Learn how the Affordable Care Act has impacted individuals and families in New York State by offering increased health coverage, affordable health plans and how Medicaid Expansion has impacted low-income residents. ACR Health serves nine counties in the Central New York region and has one of the state’s largest and most successful Navigator programs. Learn of the challenges and successes encountered in enrolling a large cross-section of New York State residents. In addition, ACR Health also has the Community Health Advocates Program, which provides advocacy for anyone having problems with their health insurance.

Moderator
Carolyn King, National Grid

Presenter
Steve Wood, ACR Health
Brian Van Benschoten, ACR Health

E. Introduction to Home Performance Case Studies*

Follow us as we walk through a number of homes doing initial audit, work-scope generation, the job, periodic diagnostics, work scope adjustment, post audit, and savings analyses. We will ask attendees for their input on the work scope, how they would handle each problem we encountered, what diagnostic strategies they would use mid-job and, at the end of each case study review of actual savings, what might have been missed.

Moderator
Laura Geel, NYSERDA

Presenter
Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors’ Association [PDF]

Closing Remarks/Wrap Up/Raffle
3:45pm

Join us as we recap the Low Income Forum on Energy’s ninth Statewide Conference and look to the future. Please remember to hand in your Conference Evaluation to be eligible to win a raffle prize!

Presenters
Len Silverstein, LIFE Chairman, NYS Department of Public Service
Christopher Coll, NYSERDA

Last Updated: 10/15/2014