Michigan’s energy assistance programs support hundreds of thousands of low-income households each year. For many, these programs are the difference between heating their homes on the coldest of winter nights and having their services disconnected.
Recognizing the need for a sustainable energy assistance model, in 2013, the state’s legislature created the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). MEAP was designed to better coordinate the delivery of energy assistance among different departments and state agencies, and to assist low-income households in moving towards self-sufficiency. To achieve the program’s goals, MEAP—offered through a variety of public and private entities across Michigan—has adopted a new approach to energy assistance delivery. The Michigan Agency for Energy operates a competitive grant program for MEAP; each grantee designs and operates their own energy assistance program. Although each grantee’s program is different, all MEAP grantees must:
- Help eligible low-income households meet home energy costs for their primary residence through payment or partial payment of bills
- Enable participants to become or move toward becoming self-sufficient
Given the importance of energy assistance programs and the fact that the need for assistance has historically surpassed funding, it is vital to measure the impact of the program and determine areas where operations can be improved. To evaluate MEAP’s impact, PSC conducted stakeholder interviews with MEAP grantees and state program administrators, researched MEAP’s operations extensively, and examined the reach of energy assistance dollars and how well grantees have been able to measure the program’s impact on customers. This report presents the findings from our evaluation as well as recommendations for improving MEAP.
A copy of the full report is available below.