Clean Energy for Low Income Communities: Metrics and Indicators

Identifying specific metrics (measurements to record progress over time) and indicators (variables typically used to measure program performance) can help ensure a low-income energy program achieves its goals. Metrics that are available and chosen for a community assessment can also be used in program evaluation to track progress. When selecting metrics based on program goals, program administrators need to consider the availability of data and the policies governing the release of data. For example, financial, health, and utility data is heavily protected and may not be accessible. Also, the cost and ability to process, analyze, and report data may be prohibitive. Some CELICA Partners, like the State of California, developed a low-income energy equity indicators framework as part of reporting to key stakeholders.

To learn more about developing metrics and indicators for low-income energy programs, see the CELICA Issue Brief: Using Data to Set Priorities and Track Success of Low-Income Energy Programs.

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What Metrics Do CELICA Partners Use?

The chart below represents the metrics explored by CELICA partners:

Indicator Metrics
Energy Efficiency Savings Energy (MWh, MCF, MMBtu) and cost savings ($) for customers in aggregate or by low-income household served
Low-Income Parity Savings across low-income and market rate programs (% of total savings)
Market penetration rate by income band (% AMI, % FPL) statewide and in each census tract
Participation Number of households served (#) or percent of eligible households served (%)
Percent of participants at various income levels (% AMI, % FPL)
Housing Type Percent participation by housing type (#’s by single family, mobile and multifamily housing of different sizes and types e.g., restricted, naturally affordable and market rate multifamily)
Program Resources Total funding leveraged for energy efficiency, health and safety, and solar ($ by source and purpose)
Amount of investment financed -- housing tax credit projects, on-bill programs, etc. ($)
Energy Burden Amount that energy burden decreased (% reduction in % of income paid for energy bills) for participating low-income households
Health & Safety Number of homes not served due to health and safety issues and percentage that receive referrals and ultimately return for service (% homes and % frequency of health and safety issues cited)
Health and safety issues abated (# of homes with % frequency issues abated)
Workforce Development Number of jobs created (# by job type)

Participation of low-income residents in the energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce (# of local workers trained and # placed into energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs)