December, 2020
HWAP Reauthorized by Congress; Appropriations Increase
Interesting things happen at the end of a Congressional session. OPAE started working on a reauthorization of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in earnest six years ago, having conversations with legislative staffers and other interested parties. 

The bill was introduced and went through three Congresses without getting to the floor until this year. The WAP legislation was bundled into an energy package that roughly matched a similar Senate bill and was approved by the House in late Spring 2019. The intent was to lure the Senate into actually passing a bipartisan energy bill that had been around for 8 years but had never been brought to the floor. To be fair, the bill evolved quite a bit over the years and became much more substantive, authorizing a broad range of research and development as well as deployment efforts such as WAP.

HEAP Funding Finalized; No Additional Funding in the Pandemic Package
The Omnibus Appropriations Bill included a modest $10 million increase to $3.75 billion in the final 2021 appropriations package. The bill retains a hold-harmless formula, which will not affect Ohio’s allocation.

Advocates had been asking for between a $4.5 and a $10 billion increase to meet projected needs, either in the regular appropriations bill or in the pandemic relief package. The additional funds were not included in either provision.

Bipartisan Effort to Allow Carryover of Unspent AEP and DP&L Funds Fails

Chaos continued in the General Assembly at the end of the session. The leadership of the two chambers threw up their hands in the face of two high profile issues – Governor DeWine’s veto of the bill stripping the ability of the Department of Health to protect public health, and an expansion of the Ohio ‘stand your ground’ rule – and recessed for the year.

Client Letters Montage
Thank you to all of the members who sent us client letters of appreciation. Please enjoy this short montage with a handful of letters featured. This year, we received almost 150 letters of thanks and client stories. Keep the stories coming!

Client Story – Ashtabula County Community Action Agency Weatherization Program

I’ve never asked for help in my 70 plus years and felt much hesitation when I entered your office last summer. I had lots of anticipation regarding what to expect and concern over people coming into my home especially during these times of Covid. But I knew I could no longer manage on my own. I really didn’t have much choice other than to sell my home. At my age, that seemed like a very scary undertaking.

Energy justice is racial justice

Guest blog by Reverend Michael Malcom
Energy Efficiency: Ohio's Hospitals and Low-Income Residents

Featuring insights from Dave Rinebolt
How can we ensure equitable energy service?

Learn about what is needed to ensure equitable energy service for all Americans.
Stories, case studies and client letters are great ways to share how our role in Ohio communities positively impacts families.

Each month, we will reward the agency that submits the most content for sharing with a free office lunch. Winners will be announced in subsequent e-newsletters.