Alaska's REACH Program Evaluation Summary
The Electrical Saving initiative (ESI) was designed by the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP) in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the LIHEAP grantee, to pursue lessons learned in Alaska's first REACH program. The ESI demonstration project was intended to decrease dependency on public assistance by measurably reducing the energy costs of rural households. Rural Alaskans have grown dependent upon electricity that is generated from high-cost fuels. Even with a state subsidy, rural residents' electricity costs far exceed the national average and are two to three times higher than energy costs in urban Alaska . There is a tremendous potential for electric energy conservation to benefit rural Alaskans.
$998,270 (2001 funds)
Three years: October 1, 2001 - September 30, 2004
The primary goal was to demonstrate that supplementing energy assistance payments with non-monetary benefits can increase the ability of eligible households to meet energy costs and help move them toward energy self-sufficiency over time.
Expected program outcomes and goals included:
- Significant increased awareness of energy conservation issues, strategies and solutions by individuals and community members;
- Reduced energy cost for participants over one or more years;
- Increased regularity of home energy bill payments;
- Increased energy vendor contributions towards reducing energy burdens of participating households; and
- Minimized health and safety risks.
Client Eligibility Criteria
Target population was LIHEAP recipients in rural communities with high energy burdens. The vast majority of the 8,332 individuals that participated in the program were Alaskan Natives and included 869 elderly. The 2,050 participating households had an average annual income of $13,004.
Services provided included :
- 2,050 households received client education and electrical energy conservation kits
- 11,540 compact fluorescent light bulbs were distributed
- 18 households received energy-efficient refrigerators
- 1,357 carbon monoxide detectors were distributed to participants
The REACH project was cost effective-a cost to benefit ratio of 2.74 was realized, that is, $2.74 were saved for every $1 spent. Compact fluorescent lights and power strips proved to be cost effective measures. Not all energy-efficiency measures could be analyzed for cost effectiveness because of incomplete data or data collection errors.
Energy burden was reduced for the majority of participating households with average electric use reduced by less than five percent. Although, some communities had a similar increase in average energy use.
It could not be determined if there was an increase in the regularity of bill payments since this data was not collected or not reported.
There was no attempt to increase energy vendor contributions towards reducing energy burdens of participating households.
Contact the LIHEAP Clearinghouse for the full-text evaluation report.