A better life begins at home.
The power to
Between unemployment, shrinking paychecks and
EmPower New York provides free energy efficiency
rising energy costs, residents with low incomes are the
upgrades at no cost to income-eligible households.
make a difference
hardest hit by the struggling economy—leaving many to choose between utilities and necessities more often than not. EmPower New York works to ease that burden by supplying residents no-cost energy services and in-home energy education. Energy upgrades and education can reduce their energy
To learn more about EmPower New York and other NYSERDA programs, call 1-800-263-0960 or visit nyserda.ny.gov/empower
NYSERDA’s EmPower New York program offers no-cost energy efficiency services to low-income (i.e., HEAP-eligible) homeowners and renters. These services include electricity use reduction and home performance measures. On-site energy education offers customers additional strategies for managing their energy costs. The services are provided by contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI).
•H ome performance upgrades, including insulation and air sealing to reduce drafts • Ideas on how to save energy on their own
matter most and make their homes healthier and more
situations, several upgrades are offered at no cost to the
comfortable for the people who live there—all by reducing
landlord, but landlord permission is required.
talk to residents about the program. With your help, more
EmPower New York Program
lighting and refrigerators as needed
Both homeowners and renters are eligible. In rental
This guide contains important insights that will help you
An advocate’s guide to the
• Electric efficiency upgrades, including ENERGY STAR®
costs, keep more money in their pockets for things that
wasted energy. About NYSERDA’s EmPower New York Program
EmPower New York?
New Yorkers in need can make changes in the energy efficiency of their homes and their energy usage habits. As a result, you’ll be making a huge difference in the lives of each and every resident you EmPower. »
» Advice from the field: People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.
How EmPower New York
If you have a household that you think may be eligible for the
program, you’ll need to know a few things before you refer them to EmPower:
1. Are they HEAP eligible? Or are they currently receiving payment assistance from their utility company? If not, they may still be eligible if their household income is below 60% of the state median income.
2. If you don’t have the opportunity to assist with the application process, provide the household with an application, mailing envelopes and instructions. These can be provided to you by EmPower. 3. Or simply invite them to call EmPower at 800-263-0960 and a representative will take it from there. Upon request, EmPower will provide a list of the households referred by your organization and served by EmPower New York.
What happens next? In 2 – 4 weeks they will receive a letter letting them know if they are eligible for assistance. If they are, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) accredited contractor will call them within 30 days to schedule an inhome assessment.
2. Do they live in a home or building with less than 100 units?
What if they’re not income eligible?
3. Do they have moderate to high energy bills, and are the bills in the name of a member of the household?
NYSERDA offers several programs to help homeowners at all income levels make energy efficiency improvements. If someone is not eligible for EmPower, they likely can take advantage of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, which also offers additional assistance for homeowners below 80% of the median income in their region. For more info: nyserda. ny.gov/home-performance or 1-877-NY-SMART.
If the answer is yes to the above, they are most likely eligible and should apply!
How can I help? Here are three ways to connect: 1. If you are assisting them in person, help fill out the energy services application. Please be sure that the resident signs the form. Clearly note the name of your organization, verify the resident’s HEAP eligibility, and sign the application. If your agency has approval from EmPower to document eligibility, no additional income documentation is required. (Contact EmPower for details.) Applications can be sent to EmPower either by:
• Mail: EmPower New York, PO Box 2489, Syracuse, NY 13220
• Fax: 315-463-7393
•E mail: send scanned applications to: ACSempower.email@example.com
insights Share, don’t sell
Never try to sell the program to homeowners or renters—they can see a pitch coming from a mile away. Take a less authoritative stance and simply share the details and benefits of the program—like the fact it’s free and will reduce their energy bills. They’ll be much more receptive to the information and able to make the decision themselves—on their own terms.
Need? What need?
Many of the people you’ll talk to don’t think of themselves as needy or low-income. They need to be shown that they have a true need and that it’s okay to take advantage of the assistance. You can explain that the EmPower program was developed specifically for people like them, and that by participating, they are helping ensure that the word gets out to others that need assistance too.
Life is extremely difficult right now for those living on a low income. So, when you’re speaking with them, you have to show them that you care— that you are there because you want to help, not just do your job.
Get the bigger picture
» Advice from the field: Remember, the small improvements and help you’re offering make a huge difference in the life of every household you touch.
A single month’s energy costs may not give a full picture of the need. Look for other clues, such as: high utility bills compared to similar homes in the area; a winter payment plan with the utility; use of a stove or space heater to heat a room; rooms that are closed off due to the cost of heating the home.
It’s not about savings
Residents don’t respond to statements about increasing their savings all that much. Because of their reliance on every dollar they make, saving money is something that they have come to believe doesn’t really apply to them. Instead, position the program as a way to reduce energy usage and pay less on their energy bills. That’s something they can rally around.