EcoPinion No. 23 - Focusing on Truly Vulnerable Energy Consumers
EcoPinion No. 23 confirms there is much more that could be done to improve utility service for low-income households. Better coordination of services and an expanded number of service options would be a start.
There are missing linkages. For example, utility payment assistance is not linked to payment arrangements, and energy management (energy efficiency programs) is not linked to payment assistance or to payment arrangements. Customers do not necessarily see the need for these linkages. Utility management can, or should, see the need for a holistic, well-integrated approach to serve low-income customers.
The survey report asks whether by focusing on “the nut within the nut” (meaning the very poor and neediest Americans) we might change customer service and program delivery in a way that better serves all low-income customers.