As the number of consumers who struggle to pay their energy bills has grown, utilities have expanded their services to assist their low-income customers. Additionally, several energy providers are developing programs to help customers who face financial hardships for the first time, Chartwell reports.
For many utilities, at least 13% of their customer base is classified as low-income, and that number likely is climbing because of the uncertainty of the current economic climate. Energy Assistance for Low-Income Customers - Programs and Services examines plans such as arrearage forgiveness, energy-efficient appliance upgrades and discounted rates utilities have to help their financially strapped customers.
"Most low-income customers are able to take advantage of their energy provider's payment arrangement and weatherization initiatives, but some utilities are being more progressive and offering solutions to transform consumption and paying habits among those in this customer segment," says Doris Yon, Chartwell research analyst.
Energy Assistance for Low-Income Customers - Programs and Services is the second installment in a series of reports Chartwell is publishing on what utilities are doing to help this customer segment. Topics addressed in this report include:
- program and service utility adoption rates.
- detailed examples of utility initiatives, including program guidelines and funding sources.
- six individual case studies on various utility programs.
- effects the economy has on utilities' revenue.
- impacts on customer satisfaction.