MCE’s LIFT Program Demonstrates the Benefits of Tailored Energy Efficiency and Electrification Programs
Customers save money, reduce emissions, and increase home comfort and safety
August 5, 2021 -MCE is excited to share the results of a recent study conducted for its Low-Income Families and Tenants (LIFT) Pilot Program. The program, launched as a pilot in 2018, reduces energy burden and improves the quality of life of residents in income-qualified multifamily properties in MCE’s service area. The Program offers energy efficiency, electrification, and health, safety, and comfort upgrades through a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The first phase of the pilot ended on May 31, 2021, after distributing over $1 million in incentives to program participants. The 680 qualifying households received such upgrades as switching natural gas and propane heating equipment to high-efficiency electric heat pumps. Participants saved over 7,800 kilowatt-hours and decarbonized energy loads from space and water heating. MCE has received additional CPUC funding to continue the pilot through 2023 and expects to serve more than 450 additional households. Interested property owners should visit mceCleanEnergy.org/multifamily-savings to sign up and learn more.
MCE developed the LIFT Program to address large gaps in the energy efficiency market for income-qualified multifamily property owners and tenants. Residents of income-qualified multifamily housing face multiple barriers to participating in energy efficiency programs, including lack of control over any significant upgrades made to their units, concerns about sharing personal information, immigration enforcement actions, and financial constraints.
“The LIFT Program shows MCE’s mission in action by focusing on populations that have a great need for these services and that are often missed by existing programs,” said Shanelle Scales-Preston, MCE Board Vice Chair and City of Pittsburg councilmember. “A transition to an equitable energy future relies on agencies like MCE ensuring that all customers have access to programs like this that lower bills, increase the comfort and safety of their homes, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”
Energy efficiency programs for income-qualified customers have typically targeted CalEnviroScreen designated disadvantaged communities (DACs). MCE found that income-qualified residents living outside a CalEnviroScreen DAC are less likely to participate in energy saving programs and services. An assessment of the program participants showed that almost 95% of them were located outside a DAC. Over 40% of customers received information about the program in a language other than English. These metrics significantly exceed MCE’s goal for at least 40% of program participants to meet one or more of those criteria.
By replacing natural gas appliances with electric heat pumps for space and water heating, we electrified customers homes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the program showed that almost 80% of LIFT program participants also participated in MCE’s multifamily energy savings program, saving an average of $192 a year on their electric bill. These results demonstrate that electrification measures paired with energy efficiency can reduce customer bills and greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously.
About MCE: As California’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program, MCE is a groundbreaking, not-for-profit, public agency that has been setting the standard for energy innovation in our communities since 2010. MCE offers cleaner power at stable rates, significantly reducing energy-related greenhouse emissions and enabling millions of dollars of reinvestment in local energy programs. MCE is a load-serving entity supporting a 1,200 MW peak load. MCE provides electricity service to more than 540,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents and businesses in 36 member communities across four Bay Area counties: Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano. For more information about MCE, visit mceCleanEnergy.org, or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.