Each year, Congress appropriates funding to implement the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
From the total annual appropriation, DOE reserves funds for its national Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) activities that benefit all Weatherization Grantees. In addition, DOE specifically allocates funding to Grantees for T&TA activities at both the state and local levels. The total funds for national, state, and local T&TA cannot exceed 20% of the congressional appropriation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) (Public Law 111-5), increased the T&TA percentage from 10% to 20%.
The remaining funds comprise the total WAP Grantee program allocations, which are distributed according to an allocation formula that was revised in 1995.
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 WAP 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 WAP 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 $209,724,761 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 Weatherization allocation consists of two parts: the base allocation and the formula allocation.
The base allocation for each WAP Grantee is fixed, but differs for each Grantee. The base allocation is computed so the revised formula does not cause large swings from previous allocations, which could disrupt a Grantee’s program. The sum of the base allocations for all Grantees totals $171,858,000. The total formula allocations equal the total program allocations minus the base allocations.
The total formula allocations are distributed based on three factors for each Grantee:
- Low-Income Population Factor. The population factor is the share of the nation’s low-income households in each Grantee expressed as a percentage of all U.S. low-income households.
- Climate Factor. The climate factor is obtained from the heating and cooling degrees for each Grantee, treating the energy needed for heating and cooling proportionately.
- Residential Energy Expenditures Factor. The residential energy expenditure factor is an approximation of the financial burden that energy use places on low-income households. The approximation is necessary because of the lack of state-specific data on residential energy expenditures by low-income households.
The following is a hypothetical example of how the WAP allocation formula works for calculating the total funding for weatherization to the WAP Grantees in a given year.
|Minus 20% for DOE/HQ, state, and local T&TA||($56,000,000)|
|Minus total base allocations|
|Total formula allocations||$52,142,000|