Households that qualify as low-income spend an average of 8.6% of their total yearly income on the cost of energy – nearly three times higher than the average of 3% for non-low-income households. This is their ‘energy burden’. Residents in more extreme weather climates and more limited income may have ‘energy burdens’ upwards of 30% or higher according to the Department of Energy (Low-Income Community Energy Solutions).
To help alleviate this burden, Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) works to provide more equitable access to energy efficiency projects to income qualified homes through the Low-Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) Program. Projects are offered a no or low cost to qualified residents, which can lower utility bills, improve indoor air quality, and create safer, more resilient, and more comfortable homes. This BPA Program supplements the .
“Low-Income” (or “Income-Qualified”) for this program is generally defined if the gross household income falls within 200% of the , meets their state’s or tribe’s income guidelines, or if the residents receive assistance from certain federal assistance programs. Income qualification details are outlined in the and state and tribal grant language.
BPA’s LIEE Program provides funding two ways and this page gives a general overview of both:
- Utilities: Incentives offered through participating BPA customer utilities.
- States and Tribes: Grants established with state and federally-recognized tribal governments, supporting work in qualifying homes in BPA’s service territory.
Utilities, states, and tribal staff may work with Community Action Agencies (CAAs) or Community Action Programs (CAPs) to implement this work. Ways to locate a CAA in your area: