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News from NLIEC



  • NFFN and NLIEC Merger Update

November 7, 2013 -- Today, the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) and National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) Merger Committee reported to both Boards of Directors in Washington, DC.  The committee researched, surveyed and sought legal counsel to conclude there are no impediments to the merger of NFFN and NLIEC. Both the NFFN and NLIEC Boards of Directors voted unanimously to merge.

Vote:  The Merger Committee issued their full report, which details recommendations as to the governance, operations, vision and type of merger for the new organization to both Boards of Directors.  Both the NFFN and the NLIEC Boards voted to carry out the merger.   Note: The NFFN Board was given the authority by the members to 1) conduct and complete exploratory merger discussions with the NLIEC, and 2) if all merger issues are addressed to the satisfaction of both Boards of Directors, to authorize the NFFN Board to proceed with merger with the NLIEC by voting on behalf of the NFFN membership.  This was approved by the NFFN membership at the annual meeting held on June 11, 2013 in San Diego at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference.

How:  The NLIEC will merge into the NFFN and the new combined organization will be called the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC).   From here, the secretaries of state from the states where NFFN (Missouri) and NLIEC (Delaware) originally incorporated need to record the Merger Agreement.  The filing/recording date then becomes the effective date of the merger.

Membership:  The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition will be a membership organization. This is unanimously agreed to by both NFFN and NLIEC Boards, and all current NFFN and NLIEC members will automatically be NEUAC members.

Mission and Vision:  The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) is a broad-based coalition of diverse organizations dedicated to heightening awareness of the energy needs of low income energy consumers, fostering public-private partnerships and engaging in other activities to address these needs.

Goals:  To meet this mission, we set the following goals: to increase awareness and understanding of the nature and magnitude of low-income energy problems among the various publics; formulate and advance low-income energy policy through compilation, analysis and dissemination of data and information; provide information and technical assistance in the creation and development of fuel funds; promote the development of statewide and regional fuel funds networks; improve communications and coordination and take all action necessary, appropriate or convenient to the achievement of the foregoing purposes.

Governance -- Board Composition: The initial board has been formed from 28 current NLIEC and NFFN board members who are interested in participating.  This group is diverse and broadly representative of the membership’s interests – utilities, energy suppliers, nonprofits, and fuel funds.  In addition, the Governance Board may have non-voting ex officio members, such as trade associations and governmental entities, the number of which shall be determined by the board.

The initial board is compromised of four classes, serving staggered terms (Class 1 serves through the Annual Meeting in June 2015, Class 2 through June 2016, Class 3 in June 2017 and Class 4 in June 2018).  Class 1 members shall be eligible to serve up to two additional consecutive two-year terms; Class 2 members eligible an additional two-year term.  The NEUAC Board will meet quarterly beginning in December 2013.

Board Officers:  The Governance Board will elect the following officers: President, Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.  The Executive Committee will have the authority to fix technical issues as the merger is finalized.

To the extent possible, the composition of the Executive Committee shall be constituted of a minimum of 50% of its membership from Governance Board members who are affiliated with nonprofit organizations.  To the extent possible, the President will be selected from Governance Board members who are affiliated with nonprofit organizations.

Advisory Board:  NEUAC will also have an Advisory Board, the number of members to be determined by the Governance Board.  Advisory Board members are eligible to attend Governance Board meetings but do not have the same voting rights as the Governance Board. 

Program:  There are no changes to our signature events - Action Day and the National Energy Affordability and Utility Conference - as a result of the merger.  The new organization will look to offer more elements to its program, communications, member benefits etc.

New Date! Please mark your calendars for the next Action Day to be held Wednesday, March 26, 2014. The event gives our members the opportunity to visit their local representatives in Washington, DC to advocate for and educate on the need for and benefits of energy assistance for low income families. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is the cornerstone of energy safety net programs and the advocacy of our members is an important part of the survival of this critical resource.

The 2014 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference will be held Wednesday through Friday, June 18-20, 2014 at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City, MO.  The location is in the center of Kansas City and just a short walk to Hallmark’s headquarters, Lego Land and some of the best BBQ in the country! For more information visit: www.neuac.org

In closing, these are very exciting times.  2014 marks the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the NFFN by the late Sister Pat Kelley.  Sister Pat was intimately involved in both NFFN and NLIEC and her vision remains the bedrock of the work that will continue under the new banner of NEUAC.  With Sister Pat Kelley’s vision as a guiding light, we move forward toward common goals and see now as the perfect time to unite for a singular focus.


  • 2010 NLIEC Achievement Award Presented to Kay Joslin, Sherry Vogel of LIHEAP Clearinghouse


June 16, 2010 -- The National Low Income Energy Consortium has presented its 2010 NLIEC Achievement Award to Kay Joslin and Sherry Vogel of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s LIHEAP Clearinghouse in recognition of their work on behalf of the energy-assistance community.


“Each year, the National Low Income Energy Consortium recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated consistent leadership in championing low-income issues,” NLIEC Chairperson Cindy Datig said. “Over the years, the NLIEC Achievement Award has been presented to many prominent individuals and groups for the work they do. This year, the award goes to a combination of two people and an organization.”


She presented the award to Joslin and Vogel during the 2010 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference in San Antonio, Texas, and described it as a “real cause for celebration within the NLIEC” in that the LIHEAP Clearinghouse is a longtime member of the NLIEC Board of Directors.


“For many years, the LIHEAP Clearinghouse has collected and provided timely and accurate information of great value to policymakers, program operators and people seeking energy assistance,” Datig said. “In doing so, the LIHEAP Clearinghouse has represented the highest example of professionalism in public service.”

  • Ken Thiry of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Receives 2009 NLIEC Achievement Award

June 17, 2009 -- Ken Thiry of Wisconsin Public Service in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been honored as the 2009 recipient of the National Low Income Energy Consortium’s National Achievement Award.

The National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) annually recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated consistent leadership in championing low-income issues. The presentation of its highest award came during the final day of the 2009 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference in Portland, Oregon – the largest single gathering in the United States to address the need for affordable home energy and other utilities for low-income people.

“There are many reasons why Ken Thiry was chosen for this singular honor,” said NLIEC Chairperson Cindy Datig of the Dollar Energy Fund in Pittsburgh.

“Ken was a member of the NLIEC Board of Directors representing Wisconsin Public Service for more than eight years, beginning in November of 2000, and he also served two terms as vice chairman of our board,” she said. “His most important contribution to NLIEC, however, has been as a chair and co-chairperson of the annual conference from 2004 through 2008 – at St. Louis, Phoenix, Washington, Nashville and Denver.

“His work contributed significantly to the success of the conference. And all of his efforts were accomplished with little fanfare, giving others comfort and confidence in the work they were doing.”

In addition to his service to NLIEC, Thiry has been a champion for low-income energy customers both through his company and in working with regulatory agencies in Wisconsin and Michigan, Datig said.

He was helping to organize the 2009 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference until his corporate work assignment changed and he could no longer take an active role on the NLIEC Board and in management of the conference.

  •   Mitch Miller Receives 2008 NLIEC Achievement Award

June 18, 2008 – The director of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Services, Mitchell A. Miller, has been honored as the 2008 recipient of the National Low Income Energy Consortium Achievement Award. He was presented with the award, which recognizes consistent leadership in championing low-income issues, by NLIEC Chairperson Cindy Datig at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference: Mile High Solutions in Denver, Colorado.

Miller was honored for his consistent leadership in championing low-income energy consumers.

“For more than 25 years, Mitch has worked tirelessly in attempting to balance the needs of residential utility customers and the utility service providers,” Datig said.


Miller also served on the NLIEC Board of Directors for more than a decade, representing the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

“Through the NARUC Staff Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Mitch has also overseen efforts to develop uniform reporting standards that will result in meaningful data on arrearages and shutoffs by regulated utilities nationwide," Datig said.  "Data from past NARUC reporting surveys already are being used by lawmakers seeking increased appropriations for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award.”

  • Are Today’s Gas Prices Pinching Your Wallet? NLIEC Helps Launch ‘Drive $marter Challenge’ Campaign to Reduce Consumers’ Gas Use, Costs

May 20, 2008 – The National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) joined the Alliance to Save Energy and more than a dozen other public- and private-sector partners today in launching the Drive $marter Challenge, a campaign to empower U.S. consumers to lower their gasoline use and costs. 


The new campaign offers extensive money- and gasoline-saving tips in both English and Spanish for vehicle upkeep, sensible driving and ways to drive less, as well as helpful resources to ease the pain of this year’s high gas prices. 


A unique feature of the campaign’s interactive website (www.drivesmarterchallenge.org) is a calculator that takes information on the type of vehicle owned by the visitor and immediately calculates the potential money, gasoline and carbon dioxide emissions the visitor can expect from taking the recommended Drive $marter steps.  To see those savings, drivers simply enter the year, make, model, and engine size (number of cylinders) of their vehicles.  The calculator also shows how each visitor plays an important role in curbing our country’s energy use and CO2 emissions by displaying a running tally of the cumulative savings of everyone who has “taken the Challenge” by pledging to follow through on any or all of the fuel-efficiency steps.  To reward action, visitors committing to take the Challenge will receive a money-saving coupon redeemable at AutoZone. 


The site also provides extensive web resources ranging from where to find the cheapest local gas to information on public transportation, biking, car sharing and carpooling.  Additional campaign elements include English and Spanish radio public service advertisements and printed tip cards.


“The resources available on the Drive $marter Challenge website can add up to big savings for drivers,” said David Fox, executive director of the National Low Income Energy Consortium.  “With the summer driving season just ahead, this campaign could not be more timely in helping consumers who are feeling the pinch of today’s gasoline prices.”


“Rising prices at the pump are a huge burden for the most vulnerable in our communities: seniors, the working poor, and low-income families with small children. These people are already struggling to pay the high cost of heating and cooling their homes. The cost of motor fuels, which also affect what we pay for food and other basic necessities, makes it even more difficult for at-risk Americans to get by,” Fox added.


 “Our campaign will enhance national energy security through reduced demand, and it will improve our global environment through reduced emissions,”  said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “The Alliance has calculated that the average U.S. household will spend a whopping $3,400 on fuel costs in 2008, but the Drive $marter Challenge tips and resources are designed to lower these costs and put real money back in consumers’ pockets,” she said.


The Drive $marter Challenge campaign partners are the Alliance to Save Energy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, American Petroleum Institute, AutoZone, Inc., Car Care Council, ExxonMobil, League of American Bicyclists, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Energy Officials, National Fuel Funds Network, National Independent Auto Dealers Association, National Low Income Energy Consortium, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Safety-Kleen, U.S. EPA’s SmartWay® and The Wal-Mart Foundation. 

  • National Consumer Law Center Receives 2007 NLIEC Achievement Award

June 2007 – The National Consumer Law Center has been honored as the recipient of the 2007 NLIEC Achievement Award, which is given annually to an organization or individual to recognize consistent leadership in championing low-income issues. The award was presented on June 6 during the 21st Annual National Low Income Energy Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.


“For low-income Americans, today’s consumer marketplace is complex and at times treacherous. Even the smallest misstep can lead to financial ruin and a sense of hopelessness that paralyzes individual progress,” said NLIEC Chair Cindy Datig, executive director of the Dollar Energy Fund in Pittsburgh.


“The National Consumer Law Center has been one of the champions of low-income and vulnerable Americans, particularly seniors, homeowners, former welfare recipients and the working poor, through targeted consumer rights initiatives," she said. "Its knowledge of low-income consumer issues, federal and state consumer protection laws has helped to predict and shape the effect of proposed statutes and policies on low-income consumers. Through the tireless efforts of the NCLC, our nation’s most vulnerable energy consumers are ensured of having a positive voice speaking up on their behalf.”


Just a few of the issues on which NCLC has had a significant impact are the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act of 1994 and the development of state unfair and deceptive acts and practices legislation. A top priority for NCLC is providing support on issues involving consumer fraud, debt collection, consumer finance, energy assistance programs, predatory lending and sustainable home ownership programs.


In accepting the award on behalf of the NCLC, energy analyst John Howat asked his colleague Olivia Wein -- an NCLC staff attorney in Washington and member of the NLIEC Board of Directors -- to join him on stage. "This is really a recognition of all of her work," Howat said. "No one is more deserving than Olivia ... and I'm honored to work with her."

  • AARP Receives 2006 NLIEC Award

June 14, 2006 The National Low Income Energy Consortium presented its 2006 NLIEC Achievement Award to AARP in recognition of the organization's commitment to helping low-income families -- particularly older Americans.


"Each year, NLIEC recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated consistent leadership in championing low-income issues," NLIEC Chair Cindy Datig said in presenting the award. "This year, we are pleased to present the award to AARP ... in recognition of its long record of advocacy, service and commitment to improving the lives of our nation's  low-income energy consumers ... and its dedication to reducing energy poverty."


John Rother, AARP's group executive officer of policy and strategy, accepted the award from Ms. Datig on the organization's behalf.  It was presented June 14 during NLIEC's 20th Annual National Low Income Energy Conference in Washington, DC.


Ms. Datig also presented certificates of appreciation to Al Guyant — one of NLIEC's founding board members, who gave a presentation at the annual awards ceremony reflecting on the organization's first 20 years — and to Sue Present, the first executive director of NLIEC. 



National Low Income Energy Consortium


Headquarters:  6324 Beryl Road, Alexandria, VA 22312  Ÿ  Phone 703-642-9070  Fax 703-916-7850

Conference Office: 226 Paul Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15211  Ÿ  Phone 412-431-5087  Fax 412.431.5214  Ÿ  conference@neuac.org

© 2013, National Low Income Energy Consortium

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