Hidden Image

2018 LIFE Statewide Conference


The LIFE 2018 Conference was held on May 22nd and May 23rd, 2018 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


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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

Alicia Barton, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
John B. Rhodes, Chair of the NYS Public Service Commission and CEO of the Department of Public Service 

Plenary Session 1
Advancing Energy Affordability and Access to Clean Energy in New York State
9:45 am – 10:45 am

Over the last several years, Governor Cuomo has advanced far-reaching clean energy initiatives to spur New York State’s achievement of important climate and energy affordability objectives. Through the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy, New York is actively spurring clean energy innovation and undertaking fundamental regulatory changes to bring new investments into the State and improving consumer choice and affordability. The Clean Energy Fund (CEF), administered by NYSERDA, is the State’s primary tool for developing the State’s clean energy market, including a portfolio of initiatives intended to increase access to energy efficiency and renewable energy and reduce energy bills for lower-income residents and communities. In his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo directed the NYS Department of Public Service and NYSERDA to work with stakeholders to develop and propose a statewide energy efficiency target for 2025 and a far- reaching energy initiative to propel the State to achieve that target, including considerations for improving energy efficiency uptake for lower-income households and affordable multifamily buildings. This panel presentation will provide attendees with an overview of the primary initiatives guiding New York State’s clean energy transition with specific focus on how New York is advancing energy affordability and access to clean energy solutions for lower-income and disadvantaged New Yorkers.

Christopher Coll, NYSERDA [PDF]


Greg Hale, NYSERDA, Senior Advisor for Energy Efficiency Markets and Finance
Ted Kelly, Assistant Counsel, NYS Department of Public Service
Peter Olmsted, Assistant Secretary for Energy, Office of the New York Governor

11:00am – 12:00pm

A. Update on the NYS Public Service Commission Affordability Proceeding and Utility Low-Income

Payment Assistance Programs
In May 2016, the NYS Public Service Commission issued an order in its low-income proceeding (Case 14-M-0565) that adopted a universal Energy Affordability Policy, which seeks to limit energy costs for low-income New York households to, on average, no more than six percent of household income. A subsequent order in February 2017 established specific discounts for each of four customer income tiers for all major New York State utilities and directed utilities to implement the tiered levels no later than December 31, 2018. In this session, an overview of the proceeding will be provided and you will learn what to expect from these new programs for addressing low-income customer needs.

Presenters: Martin Insogna, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]   
Moderator: Monica Ferreri, NYS Department of Public Service 

B. Passive House-Certified Affordable Senior Housing

Corona Senior Residence is a 68-unit, 8-story affordable senior housing in Queens NY, that is being developed as one of the first affordable multifamily buildings to meet the Passive House Institute design standards for ultra-energy-efficient buildings. Early in the project, HANAC Inc., the project developer, defined how they envision their new senior housing project will serve the community and how this innovative mixed-use building will provide high levels of tenant comfort, social well-being, and energy savings in addition to low rent. The structure and grounds will include an early childhood educational program  serving the needs of the broader community and fostering positive interactions of neighbors of all ages. The session will explain how ultra-efficient Passive House construction was instrumental in realizing this vision, and how some of the challenges were addressed along the way.

Presenter: Gahl Sorkin Spanier, Association for Energy Affordability, Inc. [PDF]      
Moderator: Hugo Jule, ECS Better Home

C. Health/Energy Nexus on the Ground: Learning from Work Underway

The intersection of energy and health is at the forefront of research and practice. Residential healthy homes interventions that combine energy efficiency and weatherization measures (e.g., insulation and air sealing) with measures that address persistent respiratory health conditions such as asthma (e.g., ventilation, moisture/mold mitigation, carpet removal), and may include additional preventative health and safety measures can improve occupant health, reduce energy bills, and enhance the comfort and safety of a home. Learn about the groundbreaking healthy homes work underway by the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative and the Bronx Healthy Buildings Program that can help guide further progress at the energy/ health nexus.

Mishel Filisha, NYSERDA

Sandra Lobo, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition [PDF]
Elizabeth McDade, Rochester Area Community Foundation
R. Scott Oliver, PathStone Corporation
Katherine Mella, MIT Community Innovators Lab

D. Participating in the Policy Making Process

Learn what you need to know to get involved. This session will provide an overview of the various parameters and expectations, and rhythms and flow associated with participating as an intervenor in both rate and policy proceedings. A current water company rate proceeding and the current proceeding involving utility low-income programs will be used as examples for discussion.

Rosa Maria Castillo-Kesper, Public Utility Law Project of New York

Richard Berkeley, Public Utility Law Project of New York [PDF]

E. Proposal Development for Clean Energy Projects Serving LMI Households

For local organizations and developers starting a clean energy project to benefit low- to moderate-income (LMI) residents, developing a proposal to secure funding from public, philanthropic, community, and private sources is a critical step. This session will offer best practices and resources for preparing project proposals and examples of what LMI-focused funders and programs are looking for in strong projects.

John Scicchitano, NYSERDA

Megan Allen, Capital Region BOCES;
Michelle Andry, NYSERDA [PDF]
Lori Clark, NYSERDA 

F. Retrofitting Manufactured Housing

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 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.

Matt McQuinn, NYSERDA

Matt Redmond, NYS Weatherization Directors Association [PDF]


Plenary Session 2: Utility Roundtable: New Utility Roles Under Reforming the Energy Vision
1:00 p.m. — 2:00 p.m.  

The electric industry is undergoing significant changes. These changes are driven by a range of challenges and opportunities created by new and improved technologies, changing customer and societal needs and expectations, and structural changes in the industry. In New York, electric distribution utilities are already beginning to make this transition under the changes   being implemented in the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding. Under REV, the utility continues providing safe, reliable, and affordable service, and makes investments in a distributed system platform to actively manage and coordinate a growing suite of products and services with a goal of increasing customer uptake of third-party services, particularly those related to distributed energy resources. This moderated panel of utility executives will reflect on the importance of utility leadership in establishing the new paths to clean energy solutions, including investment in energy-efficient, clean technologies that address low-income customer needs.

John Bruckner, President, Representing National Grid New York
Anthony S. Campagiorni, Esq., Vice President, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs, Representing Central Hudson
Matt Ketschke, Senior Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions, Representing ConEdison and Orange and Rockland Utilities
Carl A. Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Representing New York State Electric and Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric
Daniel Eichhorn, President and Chief Operations Officer, PSEG Long Island (invited)

Moderator: John B. Rhodes, Chair of the NYS Public Service Commission and CEO of the Department of Public Service


Attorney Training on Consumer Rights Related to Obtaining and Maintaining Utility Service
2:15 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.   

Location: Empire State Plaza Concourse, Meeting Room 7

The Public Utility Law Project of New York will provide a continuing legal education training that instructs attorneys on the rights conferred by Article 2 of the Public Service Law that pertains to the consumer’s right to obtain and maintain utility services; the availability of public assistance and financial programs to assist residential customers experiencing either the threat or actual termination of utility services; statutes, regulations, and case law supporting New York’s public policy of maintaining energy service; and the implementation of energy efficiency and conservation as cost-containment measures.

Presenter: Richard Berkeley, Public Utility Law Project of New York


2:15 p.m. — 3:15 p.m.  

A. Low-Income Access to Solar

Extending solar access to low-income customers remains challenging. Compared to rooftop solar, community distributed generation (CDG) has unique potential to benefit low-income communities for a variety of reasons; however, it also faces some particular barriers to greater adoption for these customers. Therefore, it is critical to address the identified issues   with near-term interventions in this market segment. This session discusses several ongoing projects designed to increase access to solar for low-income customers and presents various proposals for potential market interventions that encourage and support low-income customer participation in CDG.

Presenter: Martin Insogna, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]
Moderator: Monica Ferreri, NYS Department of Public Service

B. Energy Opportunities in Rural New York

New York State’s rural landscape poses unique challenges for adopting clean energy technologies that require a forward-thinking approach for linking energy and housing programs and strategies that serve low- to moderate-income residents. Learn about opportunities that can support affordability while taking advantage of the latest solar and clean heating and cooling technologies to meet the diverse needs of the State’s rural residents.

Presenters: Michelle Andry, NYSERDA; Scott Smith, NYSERDA [PDF]
Moderator: Colin McKnight, NYS Rural Housing Coalition

C. Reforming the Energy Vision in Action: REV Demonstration Projects

As part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy, New York’s investor-owned utilities are working with energy innovators to lower costs, test advanced technologies, and design replicable business models through REV demonstration projects. Together utilities and their partners are trying ways to reliably power homes and businesses at lower costs while reducing emissions. These projects aim to lead to successful, viable, scalable, and replicable solutions for any utility. Learn how three utilities are advancing REV demo projects in various stages of planning and implementation.

Presenters: Tamara Bryan, Con Edison; Jonathan Nickerson, National Grid; Jennifer Turner, New York State Electric and Gas [PDF]
Moderator: Chelsea Kruger, New York State Department of Public Service [PDF]

D. Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Outreach: Connecting Vulnerable and Low-Income Populations with HEAP

New York State Home Energy Assistance Program benefits are intended to decrease the energy burden on vulnerable households, including those of older New Yorkers and low- to moderate-income New Yorkers. NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) strives to reach as many of these households as possible and continues to connect new families with available services each year. Representatives from OTDA will discuss ways you can reach new eligible households.

Andrew Bryk, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance [PDF]
Emily Urban, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Anna Vitolins, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Moderator: Tanya Jones, HeartShare Human Services of New York

E. Health and Energy Research in Practice: Thermal Extremes Vulnerability and Management

Extreme heat and cold events have significant impacts on human health and well-being. Temperature extremes and multiple social and economic variables such as energy affordability, energy efficiency, housing conditions, and access to health services create differences in communities’ coping capacities. These factors also impact the effectiveness of public agencies, organizations, and individuals to respond to temperature-related events. This session will highlight partnership projects in Buffalo, NY that are addressing urban thermal extremes and resiliency capacities at the local level. Learn about how community members are participating in a citizen science project that utilizes a thermal sensing network and temperature experience survey to advance a vision for holistically addressing urban resilience to extreme temperatures.

Zoé Hamstead, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo [PDF]
Josh Wilson, Department of Environment and Planning, Erie County
Eric Walker, Independent Energy Advocate
Moderator: Mishel Filisha, NYSERDA

F. Zonal Pressure Diagnostics**

This introduction to Zonal Pressure Diagnostics will demonstrate how crews can use simple strategies to prioritize air- sealing efforts and quantify leakage through various zones, especially attics and attached rooms or garages. With a working knowledge of pressure diagnostics, crews can provide better air-sealing results and added comfort for clients. Pressure balancing furnace ductwork will also be covered.

Al McMahon, NYS Weatherization Directors Association
Moderator: Rebecca Gagnon, NYSERDA


3:30 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.  

A. An Environmental Justice Perspective on Clean Energy

The advancement of environmental justice and the clean energy transition are inextricably linked. The spread of distributed energy resources and recent regulatory developments on community distributed generation are providing new opportunities for communities to have a voice in their energy future, as well as take ownership of their energy resources. However, many disadvantaged and environmental justice communities are unable to take full advantage of the potential that the clean energy transition holds due to a lack of resources for planning and implementation and limitations of the current energy policy. This session will provide attendees with an overview of exciting community-led clean energy planning and projects happening around the State, and will highlight key policy considerations necessary for communities to realize the potential of the clean energy transition.

Kartik Amarnath, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Sage Green, PUSH Buffalo
Shiva Prakash, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest [PDF]
Moderator: Michelle Andry, NYSERDA


B. Fostering Access to Solar in Affordable Housing

The session will focus on efforts in New York City to make solar accessible to communities that have historically faced significant barriers to accessing solar, through third-party financing, aggregated procurement, and creative utilization of Community Shared Solar. Speakers from NYCHA, Sustainable CUNY, and Solar One will present case studies of public housing, nonprofit affordable portfolios, and owner-occupied affordable cooperatives. This session will explore how these projects can reduce energy costs for low- to moderate-income households and create employment opportunities for local residents, encourage capital investment in underserved neighborhoods, and support the growth of start-up and minority and/ or women-owned business enterprise solar installers.

Presenters: Ronald Reisman, Sustainable CUNY
Chris White. New York City Housing Authority [PDF]
Anika Wistar-Jones, Solar One
Moderator: Chris Rogers, NYSERDA [PDF]


C. Finance Solutions for Energy Improvements in Affordable Multifamily Buildings

Clean energy upgrades in affordable multifamily buildings can result in reduced operating costs, enhanced building resiliency, and improved quality of life for tenants. However, capital constraints and access to financing options can limit the ability for property owners to undertake these improvements. This session will provide an overview of two opportunities for affordable building owners to finance clean energy projects and preserve affordable housing at the same time.  Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing is an innovative and accessible financing mechanism  offered by Counties and Cities that multifamily property owners can use to upgrade buildings to reduce energy waste, to replace aged equipment and install renewable energy. The Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a local development corporation, currently administers Energize NY PACE for commercial buildings on behalf of more than 40 municipalities across the State. In addition, the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation works with property owners across the State to provide innovative finance options for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and demand response projects in all building types, with   a focus on increasing accessibility to finance options for affordable multifamily buildings.

Curtis Probst, New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation [PDF]
Mark Thielking, Energize NY [PDF]
Moderator: Rebecca Gagnon, NYSERDA

D. Energy Conservation for Low-Income Customers: How You Can Help Your Clients Help Themselves

Communicating with clients is an essential part of program and service delivery. Assisting clients with learning about energy efficiency measures and energy conservation tips can reduce energy burden and help households become more energy secure. This session will combine the experience of two EmPower New York contractors, MetroNYInsulation and Sanfilippo Solutions, Inc., from opposite sides of New York State to share how they serve their customers in both rural and suburban communities. Presenters will review what works for them, from the application process though completion of the work, including in-home education to help clients benefit fully from all aspects of the program. This fun and interactive session will teach you how to help your clients save money and stay in their homes safely and comfortably.

Howard Falkow, MetroNYInsulation [PDF]
Wendy Sanfilippo, Sanfilippo Solutions Inc. [PDF]
Moderator: David Friello, NYSERDA

E. Initiatives for New Americans in New York

New York State is proactive in its efforts to support new Americans in the transition to full participation in New York’s civic and economic opportunities. The NYS Office for New Americans is committed to strengthening New York’s welcoming environment for new Americans and facilitating success. Their network of neighborhood-based opportunity centers connects new Americans in New York to resources that help ensure they have the opportunities necessary to realize their full potential. CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity brings together business and community leadership in Central New York to translate economic growth into economic opportunity, increased wealth, and improved quality of life within low-income communities by convening partnerships and facilitating initiatives that support economic inclusion. Learn about the work these two organizations do and the impact it has on the New York immigrant community and beyond.

Jenny Coronel, NYS Office of New Americans [PDF]
Juhanna Rogers, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity
Moderator: Hugo Jule, ECS Better Home

F. Electric Baseboard Reduction

This introduction to electric baseload reduction will demonstrate how to distinguish the differences between baseload and seasonal energy consumption within a household and identify baseload reduction methods, as well as the opportunity of potential savings associated to the methods recognized.

John Carrigan, NYS Weatherization Directors Association
Moderator: Matt McQuinn, NYSERDA


Wednesday, May 23, 2018
9:00 a.m. — 9:45 a.m.

LIFE serves as a forum for discussion and information exchange relevant to low-income energy issues, but it is the efforts of extraordinary people that make a difference in the lives of low-income energy consumers. As part of the LIFE 2018 Statewide Conference, we will honor those individuals who have been working toward addressing energy affordability for low-income New Yorkers. These committed and exemplary colleagues play an essential role as frontline providers helping low-income consumers address their energy challenges.

Awards Presenter: LuAnn Scherer, NYS Department of Public Service

9:45 a.m. — 10:45 a.m.  

A. Inequality and Poverty: Using Social Research to Inform Policy

Communities of color, especially Black and Hispanic communities, experience much higher rates of income shortfalls than the population categorized as White non-Hispanic. These trends hold true in New Jersey as they do across the country. A recent report released by the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ late last year, The Uncomfortable Truth: Racism, Injustice, and Poverty in New Jersey, explores the relationships among race, inequality, and poverty. During this workshop, advocates and experts  who drafted the report will review the findings and solutions recommended, as well as discuss next steps on moving towards an end to structural racism in New Jersey.

Renee Koubiadis, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey
Mary Thompson Grassi, NYSERDA [PDF]
Moderator: Michelle Andry, NYSERDA

B. Community Solar: Overcoming Barriers to Access

Community solar is a collective array of solar panels installed in an offsite location. Anyone can access the clean energy produced by these solar panels while continuing to get electricity from their utility, with no need to install or maintain panels on their home or property, provided there is a community solar project in the area. This session will review recent policy developments that support increased access to community solar projects. Attendees will learn about NYSERDA’s upcoming Solar for All program and gain insight into financing options that help increase solar access to low-income communities.

Sean Garren, Vote Solar [PDF]
Kelly Roache, Solstice
Moderator: Max Joel, NYSERDA

C. Opportunities for Affordable Housing Owners

High-performance retrofits and the use of new technologies to monitor and improve building performance are becoming more accessible for multifamily buildings. Learn about three exciting NYSERDA initiatives for multifamily affording housing in New York State. RetrofitNY is spearheading the creation of standardized, scalable solutions and processes that will improve the aesthetics and comfort of residential buildings by bringing a large number of affordable housing units to or near net- zero energy performance by 2025. The Multifamily Performance Program is helping building owners increase their building’s energy performance by incorporating measures that makes sense for them. Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) is a cutting-edge technology that sends a building’s live and historical performance data to an advanced cloud-based or on-site system, analyzes that data, then recommends actions to lower operating costs.

Brian Cabezas, NYSERDA [PDF]
Christopher Mahase, NYSERDA [PDF]
Moderator: Karin Lang, TRC Energy Solutions

D. Update on ESCO Proceedings and Activities

In February 2016, the NYS Public Service Commission acted to address unfair business practices found in the retail energy market to ensure residential and small non-residential (mass market) customers are receiving value from energy service companies (ESCOs). In December 2016, the commission adopted the order on the prohibition on service to low-income customers by ESCOs, which went into effect in December 2017. Additionally, Evidentiary Hearings took place in December 2017 as part of the commission’s ongoing investigation of the broader ESCO market for mass market customers. This session will cover key aspects of this proceeding, provide current updates on related activities, and discuss the commission’s continued review of services that may benefit energy consumers.

Bruce Alch, NYS Department of Public Service
Tom Dwyer, NYS Department of Public Service
Moderator: Sharlene Marcano, NYS Department of Public Service

E. Understanding the LMI Market Segment: Data Driven Approaches to Increase Effectiveness of Low-Income Energy Programs at the Local Level

While standard offer energy efficiency programs like EmPower New York and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can be effective at reaching income-eligible customers, the ultimate impact for these programs can be improved by implementing approaches to enhance targeting and outreach, as well as coordination of funds at the local level. This presentation will provide attendees with an overview of the New York State Low- to Moderate-Income Market Characterization Study conducted by APPRISE and will include a discussion on strategies to improve the targeting of programs at the local level by using insights on the market segment and previous program performance.

David Carroll, APPRISE
Moderator: Chris Coll, NYSERDA

F. 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 diagnostic tools regularly used in the field, will be explored. 

Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors Association
Moderator: Debora Moran, NYSERDA


11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.  

A. Default Rate Design and the Impacts on Low-Income Customers

The purpose of the NYS Public Service Commission’s Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) proceeding is to develop accurate pricing for distributed energy resources that reflect the actual value they create. Improvements in rate design are essential to this process and to the modern electric system. Appropriate rate designs and valuation mechanisms, as well as accurate price signals, will enable customers to receive fair compensation for offering renewable generation or reductions in consumption, in proportion to their value to the system. This session will present information on rate design changes being considered in the commission’s VDER proceeding, including allocations of costs between service classes and among various billing categories, use of time-based and demand-based rates, and fixed customer charges. In addition, how these changes can provide low-income customers with tools to modify their usage and improve affordability will be discussed.

William Atzl, Jr., Con Edison
Pamela Echenique, National Grid
Danielle Panko, NYS Department of State, Utility Intervention Unit
Moderator: Marco Padula, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]

B. Integrating Non-Energy Benefits into Energy Efficiency: Solution Building at the Health/Energy Nexus

The intersection of energy and health is at the forefront of research and practice. This interactive session includes a presentation on the benefits of programs that aim to simultaneously improve human health and save energy. While the mechanisms for determining energy savings are well established, the process for tracking and reporting non-energy benefits—including the protection and improvement of health for program participants—is still evolving. Attendees will participate in a solution-building exercise designed to crowdsource strategies aimed at prioritizing opportunities at the intersection of energy and health.

Presenter: Ronald Denson Jr., American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy [PDF]
Moderator: Mishel Filisha, NYSERDA

C. Innovative Models for Managing Household Electricity Use and Addressing Affordability: Oshawa Peak Performance Pricing

Oshawa Power, based in Ontario, in partnership with Sapient, is launching a new innovative pricing pilot that will allow residents to take charge of their electricity costs. Peak Performance Pricing provides the opportunity to better manage household electricity costs, while also helping Ontario’s power system run more efficiently. It deploys an innovative approach that leverages smart meter energy consumption data coupled with other data sources to drive electricity bill savings for participants. Participants in the pilot will have access to energy savings tools delivered through convenient channels such as an advanced web portal, email, text messages, specially-trained customer service representatives, and an interactive state- of-the-art smartphone app called Peak Power.

Ravi Parakkat, Sapient Consulting
Moderator: Beth Ryan, NYS Homes and Community Renewal

D. Home Stability Support: A Proposal to Dramatically Reduce Homelessness in New York State

This session will address New York’s critical shortage of affordable housing, the persistent crisis of homelessness, and the impact of housing instability on family and individual well-being. The drastic disconnect between the cost of housing, energy affordability, and the maximum allowances provided for rent by the State’s public assistance programs will be discussed. In addition, we will describe Home Stability Support, a legislative initiative to enable low-income families to pay the rent in modest but decent housing, and achieve a much greater degree of housing security.

Don Friedman, Empire Justice Center [PDF]
Moderator: Lori Clark, NYSERDA

E. Public/Private Partnerships: Focus on Affordable Housing

For 46% of American renters, housing is unaffordable: they pay more than 30% of their total income on housing. Energy is an important component of total housing costs, often surpassing 30% of housing costs. Given the contribution that low-energy costs can make to housing affordability, clean energy actors can cultivate strong relationships with affordable housing actors, including government agencies, nonprofits, and philanthropy. This session considers the intersection of clean energy and other affordable housing efforts, promoting a broader collaboration between sectors. Zero Energy Modular (ZEM) homes will be discussed as one pathway to affordability and energy efficiency. This housing solution provides low-income homeowners the comfort of an all-electric, ultra-efficient, and healthy home that provides the predictability of low/no energy bills due to roof mounted solar panels and the potential for energy storage. During this session, successful partnerships among clean energy actors will be explored in addition to financial mechanisms that make opportunities such as ZEM affordable.

Alison Donovan, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation [PDF]
Moderator: John Scicchitano, NYSERDA [PDF]

F. 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 certification 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.

Presenter: Andy Stone, NYS Weatherization Directors Association
Moderator: Sharon Griffith, NYSERDA

Plenary 3: Energy Affordability: A National Perspective
12:45 p.m. — 1:45 p.m.

As energy markets in New York and around the country undertake a clean energy transition, State and federal policy will largely influence the degree to which broader adoption of energy efficiency and renewable generation can be realized. Equally important, these policies are also necessary to ensure that equity and energy affordability are addressed in an evolving market. This discussion will provide attendees with an overview of the energy policy outlook at the federal level relevant to advancing energy affordability and access to clean energy, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program. In addition, the plenary will explore ways to improve governance, transparency and access for public interest advocates at Regional Trade Organizations like New York Independent System Operator, and proposals to strengthen consumer protections at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Presenter: Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen Energy Program [PDF]
Moderator: Chris Coll, NYSERDA


1:50 p.m. — 2:50 p.m.  

A. REV Opportunities for Low-Income and Other Residential Customers
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Cuomo’s strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient, and affordable energy system by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency in order to generate 50% of the State’s electricity needs by 2030. REV has already driven significant growth in the State’s solar market, as well as enabling thousands of low-income households to adopt energy efficiency measures that will permanently cut their energy bills. A major challenge faced in the expansion of REV is customer engagement. What tools and products can be provided to customers to allow more of them to make choices that improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy costs? This session will present information on REV projects that present opportunities for cost savings and efficiency gains for residential energy customers, with a focus on the challenges of engaging low-income customers and the potential benefits derived from their participation.

Rudy Stegemoeller, NYS Department of Public Service
Moderator: Chelsea Kruger, NYS Department of Public Service

B. Advancing Energy Affordability – National Grid’s Versatile Approach
National Grid brings energy affordability and access to clean energy to income-eligible customers across its territories. Learn about their multifaceted approach in New York. This session will cover National Grid’s customer outreach efforts, Energy Affordability and Gas Conversion programs, Home Energy Affordability Team (HEAT), and multifamily programs.

Kevin Grandjean, National Grid
Carolyn King, National Grid
Rachel McCrea, National Grid
Brittney Pietro, National Grid
JoAnn Zales, National Grid
Moderator: Amy Barry, National Grid [PDF]

C. Community Energy Engagement: Current Activities and Opportunities
NYSERDA provides locally-based engagement (energy awareness and education) services via the Community Energy Engagement Program to drive energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment to residents, small businesses, and multifamily building owners. Organizations covering each of the 10 Economic Development Regions have deployed Community Energy Advisers to conduct engagement activities to residents, small businesses, and multifamily building owners, with an emphasis on low- to moderate-income households and communities. These Community Energy Advisers focus on improving energy affordability and increasing deployment of distributed energy resources for community members by increasing the amount of funding and financing leveraged for the completion of clean energy projects.

Presenters: Asante (Lou) DeJesus, PUSH Buffalo
Courtney Klee, Pathstone
Rachel Stein, Center for New York City Neighborhoods
Moderator: Jennifer Manierre, NYSERDA [PDF]

D. Supplemental Programs: Lifeline and Nutrition
While energy assistance programs such as the Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program can help a household with energy costs, taking a holistic approach to cutting expenses is a useful strategy. There are additional programs that can help reduce overall household expenses while providing important information. Hear about opportunities provided by the Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in addition to learning about myBenefits.com, an internet portal that assists with connecting people to resources.

David Cramer, Office of Telecommunications, NYS Department of Public Service [PDF]
Rebecca Jones, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance [PDF]
Moderator: Lauren Ford, NYS Community Action Association

E. The ALICE Report: Learning about New York’s Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Residents
The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project is a cross-state collaboration among United Ways, with research support provided by Rutgers University. The Project brings focus onto families and individuals who work but whose salaries do not provide sufficient resources to meet basic needs—those who are above the federal poverty level, but below   a sustainable wage. Traditional measures of poverty do not capture the magnitude of people who are struggling financially. This new metric offers a better way to count and understand ALICE, and to ultimately inform policy decisions to affect positive change for this growing portion of our population.

Brenda Episcopo, United Way of New York State
Rushka Tcholakova, United Way of the Greater Capital Region [PDF]
Moderator: Debora Moran, NYSERDA

F. Tools of the Trade**
During this session, attendees will have a chance to tour a fully equipped, modern weatherization crew trailer and be exposed to the tools, equipment and materials that weatherization crews commonly use in the course of residential energy efficiency retrofits. Attendees with have an opportunity to address any questions or concerns regarding standard weatherization techniques, tools, and equipment. The tour will include a demonstration of installation of dense pack cellulose sidewall insulation and the use of two-part foam to air-seal common residential air leakage bypasses. This will be an informative, interesting, and fun session held outdoors in the Albany Capital Center’s front driveway. Please meet in the Capital Room first, and then you will be escorted outside.

Matt Redmond, NYS Weatherization Directors Association
Moderator: Gregg Collar, NYS Department of State, Utility Intervention Unit



3:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.  

B. Update on NYSERDA Residential Energy Efficiency Programs: EmPower NY and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®
An essential component of the energy affordability equation is energy efficiency. However, many lower-income households are unable to undertake energy efficiency improvements in their home because they lack the financial resources or access to capital to invest in these upgrades. As part of the Clean Energy Fund (CEF), NYSERDA prioritized increasing access to clean energy solutions for low- to moderate-income households and communities, including energy efficiency. This session will provide attendees with an overview of and an update on the energy efficiency initiatives available to eligible households through the CEF, including EmPower New York and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®.

David Friello, NYSERDA [PDF]
Moderator: Chris  Coll, NYSERDA


E. Best Practices for Outreach: Working with Older Adults
New York supports and empowers older adults in being independent for as long as possible. In partnership with a network   of public and private organizations the NYS Office for the Aging’s (NYSOFA) home and community-based programs provide older persons access to a well-planned, coordinated package of in-home and other supportive services designed to support and supplement informal care. The NYSOFA’s overall goal is to improve access to, and availability of, appropriate and cost- effective non-medical support services for older individuals to maximize their ability to age in their community and avoid higher levels of care and publicly financed care. Local offices play an essential role in NYSOFA’s service delivery of offerings. Learn how Washington County NY Connects assists lower-income older adults and individuals with disabling conditions with information and access to public benefits programs along with services and supports to safely maintain life within the community.

Presenter: Stephanie Ball, Washington County Office for the Aging and Disability Resource Center [PDF]
Steve Sconfienza, NYS Office for the Aging
Moderator: Jacqueline Sykas, NYSEG


F. Healthy Homes Evaluator Training**
Considerable recent attention has been paid to the concept of the Healthy Homes Evaluator certification. Many different programs funded by government, utilities, and charities exist to provide low-income households services to improve the health, safety, and energy efficiency of their homes. In this session we will discuss the basic principles of healthy homes, provide an overview of what the evidence says about the relationship between health and housing, and change the perspective of building analysts to assess the same home through a healthy home lens.

Matthew Dean, Association for Energy Affordability, Inc.
Moderator: Mishel Filisha, NYSERDA