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Sample Grant Proposal: Low-Income Wind Energy Project
2
Target Population
The Project targets LIHEAP-eligible families heating with electricity.
According to a report prepared for DHHS by Roper ASW, there are 291,886 LIHEAP-eligible
households in Washington State.  Many of these households include members who are
particularly vulnerable to heat or cold:
89,482 include an elderly person
73,051 include a disabled person
70,281 include a child five years old or younger
These numbers are based on Washington’s LIHEAP income limit of 125% of the Federal
Poverty Guidelines.  Using a 150% FPG standard approximately doubles each of the numbers
above (663,034 households live below 150% FPG; of these 244,950 include an elderly person
etc.).
Last year, 57,300 households received LIHEAP, leaving 234,586 eligible households (80%)
unserved.  Because of historically low-priced hydro-electric power, most Washington low-
income homes (73%) heat with electricity rather than natural gas (17%), with the balance using
wood, oil, and other fuels. Although Washington once had some of the lowest priced electricity
in the nation, since 1980 rates have doubled, even after adjusting for inflation.  (See Figure 1.) 
And from 1999 to 2002, residential rates saw a rapid surge of 20%.  This understates the
problem, because the rate increases have been disproportionate acoss the state, with some areas
seeing significantly higher increases.  For example, from October 2000 to the present, the largest
public utility district in the state (Snohomish County PUD), increased residential rates by 50%.  
When rates move with such volatility, low-income families are likely to be left stranded . 
Middle and high-income families have been able to migrate to gas heat.  Of new single-family
residential construction, only 9% is all-electric, according to a June 11, 2003 article in the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer.  And
while 53% of
Washington’s homes heat
with electricity (2000 US
Census), fully 73% of
low-income homes have
electric heat.  As often
happens, low-income
families have been left
stranded in older housing
stock, equipped for the
energy markets of three
decades ago.
Converting electric-
heated households to gas
heat would seem to be a solution to electric rate volatility.  And in fact, several programs in the
state are taking this tack, including the state’s LIHEAP program which can perform conversions