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Collaborating With Other Organizations


Drive $marter Challenge Campaign


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


The 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 years high gas prices. 


A unique feature of the campaigns 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 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 Cold Facts

The National Low Income Energy Consortium collaborated with the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association and the National Fuel Funds Network to produce a report on the effect of home energy costs on Low-income Americans in 2001-2002.  The report, titled
The Cold Facts, can be viewed online.  The full report is a  large file that includes graphics and may take a long time to download.  A smaller, text-only version, is also available. The report, which was produced with support from the Boston-based Citizens Energy Corporation, outlines:

  • The latest numbers on the profound financial and social impact high home energy costs are having on the working poor and senior citizens.

  • What is being done to address the problem and where the gaps remain.

  • The challenges we face ahead in a high-cost deregulated energy environment.

Both versions of this report are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader may be downloaded from the Adobe web site.


Working with Local Communities


Each year's national conference is developed with the assistance of a planning committee from the locale where the conference is to take place. This helps ensure the conference agenda will address the low-income energy issues of greatest importance to the local community. In recent years, the NLIEC has placed a greater emphasis in partnering with local organizations to assist them in reducing energy hardships experienced by their low-income residents:


St. Louis


In 2004, the National Low Income Energy Consortium commissioned a statewide energy poverty study in Missouri showing that unaffordable energy bills threaten families’ health, education and employment. The study was conducted by Roger Colton, a nationally known leader in energy cost research with the Massachusetts firm of Fisher, Sheehan and Colton.


The NLIEC chose to measure the extent and determine the consequences of energy poverty in Missouri because the lessons learned there can be applied throughout the nation. The state has both urban and rural areas, and it has energy hardships from both cold winters and hot summers. 


Among the study's key findings were that:

  • Households with incomes below 50 percent of the federal poverty level were paying a staggering 38 percent or more of their annual income for residential energy.

  • 46 percent of the households surveyed went without food in order to pay their residential energy bills.

  • 45 percent failed to take prescribed medicines in order to pay residential energy bills, and 93 percent of those who most often went without medicine also skipped medical appointments.


The complete report, titled Paid But Unaffordable: The Consequences of Energy Poverty in Missouri, was released in St. Louis at the NLIEC's 18th annual conference. 




The NLIEC sponsored a fundraising event for the local fuel fund that raised over $15,000 for energy assistance. As a result of a dollar-for-dollar match by a local utility company, this endeavor resulted in over $30,000 in fuel assistance funds for low-income consumers in the Pittsburgh area.




The NLIEC provided organizational development, training and technical support to community groups throughout the state, resulting in a statewide low-income energy collaborative called the Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE). The OPAE provided strong representation of low-income energy interests during discussions of state legislation to deregulate the electric utility industry and was successful in getting electricity deregulation legislation enacted that provides substantial protections and financial support for Ohio's low-income consumers.


New Orleans


The NLIEC helped a local weatherization organization secure a donation of fiberglass insulation.  It also fostered dialogue between grassroots organizations, local government and a utility provider, resulting in more open channels of communication and improved services for low-income residents.




NLIEC helped a budding, local nonprofit organization complete its first housing project, an energy-efficient row house, by assisting the group in locating donations of funding and materials. It also sponsored a small fundraising project for the local fuel fund.




NLIEC launched a community education and information exchange project which, through a grant from the Indianapolis Foundation, provided scholarships to 30 local energy and housing organizations. National experts who spoke at NLIEC conference workshops, made site visits to the local organizations' housing/energy rehabilitation projects, providing advice and stirring local interest.




National Low Income Energy Consortium


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

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

2012, National Low Income Energy Consortium

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