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Weatherization Assistance Program Allocation Formula

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program uses an allocation formula to calculate the weatherization grants to the states based on the amount of funding Congress appropriates to the program in a given year.

Background

In 1992, DOE commissioned a study through the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) to address the concerns of warm-climate states regarding the equitable distribution of funds under the Weatherization Assistance Program allocation formula. A panel of 10 state representatives studied the issues and made recommendations to DOE.

The recommendations provided greater equity for warm-climate states while minimizing the impact of a formula change on the capacity of cold-climate states to deliver services to their low-income clients. DOE acted on virtually all of the recommendations and issued a new revised formula in the Federal Register in 1995.

The revised Weatherization allocation formula utilizes an appropriation-level trigger before the full impact of the changes takes effect. When congressional appropriations for the DOE Weatherization Program for a given year exceed the trigger-level of $233.1 million, warm-climate states receive a greater share of the allocation than under the pre-1995 formula. Please note that this revised formula impacts only those funds allocated by Congress above the base level of $171,258,000.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided $5 billion to the Weatherization Assistance Program, assuring that the 1995 revised allocation formula is triggered. Other Recovery Act changes affect the amount of funding that individual states can expect to receive and how much can be spent to weatherize a home:

  • Income eligibility was raised from 150% to 200% of the poverty level. Initial estimates show a national average of 54% more low-income households eligible for WAP weatherization.
  • The average expenditure limit per home was increased from $2,500 to $6,500 to achieve greater energy savings. The Recovery Act did not specifically address the renewable energy measures average cost per home.
  • The allowable percentage DOE may permit WAP to use for Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) was raised to not exceed 20 percent of the funds. To effectively address the WAP network's needs, DOE will retain 3 percent of the T&TA for national training and technical assistance initiatives and transmit 17 percent to the Grantees for state and local T&TA.

The Weatherization Assistance Program Allocation Formula

Here is how the weatherization allocation formula works. From the total congressional appropriation, DOE reserves funds on a national level for national training and technical assistance (T&TA) activities that benefit all states. DOE also allocates specific funding to states for T&TA activities at both the state and local levels.

The remaining funds are distributed to states as program allocations, consisting of two parts: the first part is the base allocation, which is fixed for each state but differs from state to state. The sum of the base allocations for all the states totals $171,858,000. The second part is the formula allocation, which is computed by applying the revised formula to appropriated funds in excess of $171,858,000.

The revised Weatherization Program allocation formula is based on three factors for each state:

  1. Low-income population.

    This number reflects how many low-income households live in each state and is expressed as a percentage of the total for the country.

  2. Climatic conditions.

    These data are obtained from the heating and cooling degree-days for each state and deal proportionally with the energy needed for heating and cooling.

  3. Residential energy expenditures by low-income households.

    This number is an approximation of the financial burden that energy use places on low-income households in each state.

Example

The following is a hypothetical example of how the Weatherization allocation formula works for calculating the total funding for weatherization to the states in a given year.

Congressional appropriation $280,000,000
minus 20% for DOE/HQ, state, and local T&TA ($56,000,000)
---------------
$224,000,000
minus total base allocations ($171,858,000)
---------------
Total formula allocations $52,142,000