Utility Connect

Help individuals who qualify for low-income energy assistance programs receive benefits.

Problem

In 2018, the federal government allocated over three billion dollars for LIHEAP to help low-income individuals cover essential utility costs. California alone has allocated over $1M to its California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. Despite this influx of support, 31% of U.S. households have trouble paying their utility bills.

Solution

Nonprofits providing bill payment assistance, weatherization, repairs, and other energy assistance for low-income populations can educate, screen, and enroll qualified individuals into their programs through CommunityConnect Lab’s Utility Connect solution.

Challenges

  • Low-income communities are often unaware of energy assistance programs available to them
  • Eligible clients struggle to complete the enrollment process
  • Program staff are overloaded, having to perform outreach, send reminders to, follow-up with and oftentimes re-enroll clients
  • If clients default on a bill payment, they can become ineligible for future benefits

Benefits

  • Reach low-income beneficiaries at scale via  a multilingual outreach campaign that surveys one’s eligibility  for utilities assistance
  • Streamline intake by automatically scheduling over-the-phone or in-person assistance
  • Easily recertify existing program participants through automated re-enrollment campaigns and photo-based document verification
  • Provide engaging communications such as educational messages and automated bill payment reminders

How It Works

  1. Upload phone number contacts or opt-in numbers from outreach like social media, newsletters, events, etc.
  2. Recipients automatically receive a series of informational messages about available utilities assistance programs
  3. Recipients are automatically pre-screened for eligibility (or re-screened for re-enrollment)
  4. Recipients schedule phone calls and intake meetings via text to complete the enrollment process
  5. Recipients text follow-up information such as photos of documents for income verification

Watch this brief video overview of Utility Connect’s features