Skip to main content

tv   Discussion on Energy Access Affordability  CSPAN  May 20, 2019 2:04pm-3:40pm EDT

2:04 pm
time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. madam, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of e senate on may 20, 2019, at 9:10 a.m. that the senate passed senate 744, senate 820, senate 998, and senate 1379. signed, sincerely, cheryl l. johnson. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess
2:05 pm
since 1998, chris has worked for the national association of
2:06 pm
regulatory commissioners and is now the legislative director for energy. he's responsible for the legislative advocacy regarding energy and transportation issues in washington, d.c. nina works for the american gas association. she's told me she's passionate about advocacy and politics. while she was in law school and learning about the lasting impact that the law can have on history. she's currently legislative analyst for a.g.a. of the american gas association. she represents one of 200 natural gas companies across the united states. jessica franks will be the following speaker. she's director of government relations for the edison electric institute or e.e.i. the trade association for investor owned electric power companies. jessica covers appropriations, education and work force issues for e.e.i. before that she was a government affairs representative at hallucinate perton and she worked for speaker john boehner and speaker paul ryan.
2:07 pm
our last speaker is kennelly farmer. she's the associate director for the affordability and energy efficiency division for the district of columbia. she's responsible for the management of the district's property sessed clean energy program, the weatherization assistance program and another program. we have a terrific panel and -- but the intent is to provide you with a perspective on energy poverty in the united states and how it's being addressed. not just through one program but through a partnership of states, utilities and local governments all working together to help low-income families pay their energy bills. a couple of things when thinking about energy affordability and energy poverty, what does it really mean? is it just some broad topic? we hear a lot about poverty in the united states, affordability, but what
2:08 pm
specific do we mean by energy poverty? for lower income families, it's about 10% of income is what their energy bill represents. almost four times the rate for nonlow-income households. so thave goes you some per -- so that gives you some perspective. energy, because it's a base need, like food, like clothing, it doesn't rise proporpgsly with income. -- proportionly with income. a middle income family is paying a little bit more for energy than a low income family because they have a bigger house but at the end of the day it's pretty close. so middle income family might earn twice as much as a low income family, their energy bill isn't twice the rate of a low income family. so when we say that a middle income family will pay about 2.4% of their income for energy, it primarily reflects that they have more income. the other thing to keep in mind about this that i think makes this very interesting is that energy bills peak. they peak in the winter and the summer months. if i say that statistics show
2:09 pm
about 10% of a family's income goes for home energy for a low-income family, during the winter months and the summer months, that can be 20% to 25% of their income. you can see how this becomes unaffordable and a very extreme urden on families. the average cost of heating this winter was about $1,000. but like any other thing, these re averages. for families with propane, it's about $1,600. an eauthorize mouse burden when you think of a familying earning 25ds,000 a yeemplet electricity was $11,-- $1,174. low-income families face agenigse choices every day when they have to buy energy. we surveyed families receiving energy assistance under the
2:10 pm
low-income house energy program and what we found, while not surprising, reflects how tight their budgets are. when energy prices go up because of a variety of factors, for a low-income family, they don't really have much choice to substitute. they can't go from saying, look, we won't go out to dinner, instead we'll pay our gas bill. middle-income families can make those kind of choices. so energy for them is just more affordable for that reason. but families told us 37% had closed off part of their home to save utility costs. 25% said they kept temperature at a level they felt was unsafe. 17% moved out of their house. they couldn't afford to pay their energy bill that winter. 36% said they went without food for at least a day. and i think for those families it's probably because they had to pay the heating oil bill. for natural gas and electricity, there are rules in place in terms of shutoff provisions so it's not quite as dire. for those using heating oil and propane, the bill has to be
2:11 pm
aid when the oil dealer comes. these aren't surprising, but these are families making tough choices had they have to pay their energy bill. -- when they have to pay their energy bill. and the last point i'd like to as about affordability, people move -- in the hospital for a short-term period, they come home and they need often equipment that needs to be plugged into the wall. they have to have access to affordable energy. 52% of the people get energy assistance told us they have a disabled member in their family, many of whom rely on electricity for breathing machines or refrigerated medicine. so they have to have access to affordable energy. there's no choice. it's a life or death situation for them. not only is energy expensive, but the cost of home heating, including depends on factors outside of the family's control. so an argument can be made that
2:12 pm
a family should save up for the winter but you can't do that when you don't know how cold it's going to be. that's going to drive the cost of energy for you. or the amount you need. you can't control pricing. you could have a peak in the economy and industrial demand will drive up the price or you could have geopolitical factors. issues in iraq or iran or venezuela. that drive up the price of oil. so all those things make it very difficult for a family to plan for their energy costs. lastly i'd like to talk about the low-income home energy assistance program which in some ways may be the first thing i should be talking about. that's the main federal program that helps families pay their home energy bills. it's a block grant program providing grants to states which are then usually redistributed to local energies to help sign up people to give them grants to help pay their home energy bills during the winter. and the cooling bill in the summer. the program is not adequately funded at all. we received $3.6 billion last year. that sounds like a lot of money. but close to 28% of the u.s.
2:13 pm
population sell simply. we can only reach about 20%, one out of five of the eligible population. that's the limit of what you can do with 3.6 billion. so what the states have done is target the funds of the neediest of the needy families so 80% of the families that receive energy assistance have a family member who is either disabled, elderly or have a young child under the age of 6. that really kind of reflects the limitations of the funding we have. congress added $150 million in the house for liheap for this next year. that might not sound like a lot, but we can use $150 million to serve another 500,000 families. so that's really the situation. we have a program, it's not adequately funded but it does reach a lot of families, it does make a difference. i'd like to just give you a few examples of how liheap helps families. in california, give you a
2:14 pm
context, it's not just a bunch of numbers. california, a young mother of three lived in an older all-electric home and had electricity shut off due to a pass due bill of about $800. she worked full time making minimum wage and her husband worked as a seasonal labor. so a very poor family. with no electricity they could not heat their home, access hot water or operate appliances. the liheap program in california was able to assist the family by both paying their past due bill to get the electricity turned on, they also referred her to the county's weatherization program to help increase the efficiency of her home to reduce her bill going forward. another example, in connecticut a single mother of two facing the challenges of being homeless came into the state for help. because if you don't pay your energy bill, you can lose your apartment, your lease. she received a housing subsidy and $500 in liheap funds which allowed her to become current on her energy bill. $500 doesn't sound like a lot
2:15 pm
of money but if you don't have resources and you're facing eviction, that can mean the -- mean the difference between staying in your home and being evict. one last example, a mother of three raising her children on her own because her husband had a stroke and was confined to a care facility. her car was repossessed so she couldn't report to work. she couldn't allow her children to suffer in the cold. she reached out to the state liheap program and received assistance that allowed her to turn her energy back on. again, these are all -- these don't solve the problems of poverty but allows families to continue and stay safe. with that, i'll turn it over to haly, our next speaker. one thing i'd like to do is have our speakers provide their talks and then open up to questions. thank you. haly: hi. i guess mark really said everything -- no, thank you.
2:16 pm
[laughter] mark said everything that was very, very important and most of it, what i was wanting to say also. however, i would like to bring to attention some things here. for example, a couple areas, how this entire journey started was a couple of years ago when i started to shift my research more towards energy access. i noticed that all the quantitative indicators diverged greatly from experiences. for example, global reports might note that developed countries have 100% energy access. while the people on the field and energy vernlsd, researchers and everybody else was conveying to us at least at the state level totally different story. we had thousands of disconnections, numerous -- [inaudible] -- and even in the united states people use candles and lanterns for evening activities. they use various unsafe energy sources for cooking and heating. they don't have sufficient capabilities for sanitation or personal hygiene because their
2:17 pm
electricity has been disconnected. they have moldy dwellings. households are below thermal standards of 65 degrees or maximum of 86. so the question started, why don't these reports reflect so poorly what is actually happening on the field? and the reason is because energy system is extremely complex system. and the issues with the reports, they try to kind of minimize all those indicators down into very simple ways to look at the world. meanwhile, even though energy is a hybrid system. so energy actually does support and it is important because energy supports all the provisions of basic needs. for example, it supports all the cooking, lighting, heating, cooling, sanitation, medical care, education, accessing
2:18 pm
information and communication services. and in some reason in our society it has become an implicit expectation that energy exists out there somehow magically and we really don't have to worry about it, even though it's a huge support from nfrastructure. england has estimated that cold homes cost england alone around $850 million to $1.3 billion pounds annually. which is a huge cost on society. and that does not even count the economic costs like lost production and lost productivity from people who stay home sick. so what are the questions that i think we sometimes don't think about it. for example, as a community we
2:19 pm
need to discuss what does energy access truly mean to us. does it mean that everybody who needs energy services, irrelevant of the cost, can access them? or does it mean that everybody who needs energy can afford reliable, sustainable and modern energy? do our energy strategies include all the aspects of energy access, availability, affordability, reliability and sustainability? or do our strategies developed without realizing that we are overlooking some of those important aspects because we don't share our objectives with other stakeholders? for example, when we are developing energy efficiency programs, do we consider their affordability equally across the population? do we include scenarios of human behavior into our energy efficiency outcomes? and how they might materialize in the empirical world? do we exrehenled the causes of our ability in energy consumption? do we understand the complexity of household income and how it
2:20 pm
can influence affordability of energy? do we consider the availability of different energy sources and how they affect household capability of forward energy services and do we comprehend sufficiently the budget constraints and differentiate between disposable and cross-income? do we consider human behavior a prioritization of the expanses? energy poverty is also a little bit distinct from an income poverty because most of the research shows that energy poverty really does not fully overlap with income poverty. for example, the studies show that between energy and income poverty, even though there is a strong relationship between income poverty and fuel poverty, there are more people fuel poor who are not income poor than there are people who are fuel and income poor and not all the people who are income poor are fuel poor. so obviously it also includes a huge portion of the modern income -- moderate income
2:21 pm
households. so that is basically the reason why we think that these kind of discussions are important. so we all can get together and start discussing exactly when we do strategies that we do include as much affordability and availability and reliability and sustainability into. because i think often when we do strategies we don't think down all the intricacies of the strategy and how it trickles down effects to the household level. so i think that's it for me. hris: thank you, mark. we represent the public utility commissioners throughout the 50 tates and territories. my comment here's are pry own and not necessarily the views of -- my own and not necessarily the views of any of my members or state agencies. our primary focus, our primary
2:22 pm
job is to ensure that citizens of the states and territories have safe, reliable and affordable service. my members are by and large economic regulators. and when you look at the scope , addressing the energy poverty is kind of the small end of the scale. mark and i were talking a couple of days ago and i kind of alluded to the fact that i feel like i'm going to be the skunk in the guard -- garden party at this one. but i think some of these things need to be addressed. being an advocate, i look for message. one of the issues when you're dealing with it, be it federal dollars, utility dollars, state
2:23 pm
dollars, is the perception of what happens to it, where it goes and what it's for. that perception ebbs and flows. right now we're in what i think everybody would agree is a pretty good economic time and these are -- i'm dealing in generalizations here. , an there's a point outlying point, i will accept that criticism. but in general, we're looking at a good economic system, an economic time, rather, and that doesn't help us with the message on the need for both weatherization and liheap. weatherization is a exee component, i might add -- is a key component, i might add. congress will be marking up in the house anyway, will be marking up a bill tomorrow which increases weatherization
2:24 pm
i think by $36 million and liheap by $150 million. if my memory serves. and both of those are key components. and i would submit to everyone n this room that, yes, the affordability, the payment of the bills is important. but also ensuring that folks have a home or apartment, what has the that necessary weatherization so that the actual bill comes down. and that's, i think, a first step. and i think it's a big step. my members do not regulate, for instance, oil, propane, wood or coal. e are strictly looking at this
2:25 pm
problem through the lens of electric and natural gas systems. and i mentioned we have a perception issue. mark also mentioned most of the liheap recipients are elderly, children, disabled. if you look at the perception either on capitol hill or in the population in general, i 70%, 80% of the public would never think that elderly make up the lion share and children and disabled of hose recipients of this. it's, as an now if advocate, you know, advocates'
2:26 pm
fault for not getting that out there, but i think that is one piece of information that has to be put forward in order to start addressing the problem, is to allow the general population, you know, where the problem lies. who are we helping? who are we trying to help? some would say that's not a very big deal. wib submit that having -- i would submit that having wandered capitol hill for over 30 years, when you're talking to legislators, be they state or federal, they want to know why does this money need to be spent anyway? and we have the gamut, even in my own organization, that runs from the one side, where liheap is a corps rat welfare program, to the other -- corps rat welfare program, to the -- corporate welfare program, to the other side. the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle and it's our job to inform legislators,
2:27 pm
policymakers and the general public where that sweet spot is. the other perception problem that we see, and they're all kind of wrapped around the same el, if you will, is that electric and gas prices over the course of the last -- oh, i want to say 10 years, maybe a little more, in real dollars have been kind of flat. a little bit up here, a little bit up there. but generally, when you look at all energy out there, they've been flat. i'm not saying they haven't increased, of course they've moved up. but generally it's been flat. so when you're dealing with folks that are making the policy, be they state or federal, the question comes, well, why do we have to when in the assistance
2:28 pm
real dollars we're not seeing that? well, you're not looking at the price of oil or propane or wood. so you have that component that's in there. the other -- and i think final thing i want to bring up is , t we've had as high as mark, check me if i'm wrong, i think the high water mark for liheap funding was $5 billion for this that neighborhood. -- or in that neighborhood. $5.1 billion. now it's down to $3.6 billion. one of the issues that occurs, and i think you were talking to mark about it earlier, no, no, this is good. you have a situation between
2:29 pm
the cold weather states and the warm weather states. and the warm weather states are obviously saying, you know, my taxpayer's paying for this but i'm not receiving the benefit because it's all going to the cold weather states and the cold weather states are saying, my taxpayers are paying for this, and we're not going gething as much as how cold we are. so we can't -- we don't want to have a situation where the warm weather states and the cold weather states are fighting for the same resource. that doesn't heb anybody. so we have to kind of, again, this is all message and perception. we have to be on the same team, we have to be on the same playing field. here i am sitting up here, i'm offering more challenges than solutions s far as and unfortunately i think that's the way the panel's going to go.
2:30 pm
we have more challenges than we have solutions. again, skunk at the garden party, right here. [laughter] economic times are see, n general you will and i'm talking about -- you can call them joe six pack and sali sweat sock or mom and pop or grandma and grandpa, whatever you want to call them. it's really funny because when the economy's good, then they're looking at, we got to cut all this welfare programs out because nobody needs them, the economy's so good. and then when the economy goes bad, the same folks are saying, i can't afford to pay for somebody else because i can barely put food on my table. it's sort of like there's never a happy medium. and this again goes back to what i started with and i'll end it with, in my humble opinion, we have a perception
2:31 pm
within -- i'll use the big term advocacy side, and i hurts our etimes message. what's the solution to that? i'll let the smart folks at the table figure it out. but i'll throw that out there for discussion purposes. mark: thank you, chris. our next speaker is nina moussavi. she works with the american gas association. nina, as well as jessica franks, will be speaking after her. works for the edison electric institute. will give you a corporate side. how do the utilities think about energy affordability? at the end of the day they're the ones serving low-income families and providing electricity. our programs are the ones that are designed to help provide them with funding to keep the -- keep families connected. so they can give you a
2:32 pm
perspective on just how good these programs are and how well they're working from their perspective. nina: all right. i will start with the disclaim that are these comments and remarks are my own, they don't represent that of our member companies. the american gas association, like mark said, we represent over 200 natural gas utilities across america. those utilities serve about 71 million americans. so you can imagine that this is a program that we are passionately in favor of. liheap comes as a top 10 priority for our member companies every single year. that is kind of where i come in and, partnering with jessica franks with e.e.i., our role is to make sure that that program is protected in congress. and the challenges that we face are going to be a little bit different than the ones that chris laid out. because the challenges -- challenges we face are in the appropriations cycle every single year.
2:33 pm
we have seen the program be zeroed out in the budget request from the administration for the last four years, three years? four years. and so when that happens, it's then on jessica and myself, along with mark and with our other grassroots advocates over at the national energy and utility affordability coalition to go up onto the hill and make sure that we're taking the information that haly and mark laid out and we're able to show our members in congress that it is a program that needs to be protected. and not only does it need to be protected, but there needs to e robust funding for it. it's always going to be a hurdle when you're talking about numbers. it's the most sensitive topic that you have across the nation and it's hard to be able to say that this program deserves more money than another program that also helps hardworking american families. but we're able to take the information that we have and
2:34 pm
show that energy is a necessity. it is a right and to be able to pay your utility bill is something that you should never have to be deciding between taking your medication or putting food on the table and paying your utility bill. and when you frame it that way, it's kind of hard to be against the program. it really comes -- the part that comes into play is how much can we get? and how much can we, you know, move the numbers around to make sure that we're helping the most americans possible. chris mentioned the question of, you know, why does this money need to be spent in this way? and mark laid out all of the facts. you have the most vulnerable parts of our population in america who are the ones who are the recipients of this program. and that is the reason why this money needs to be spent that way. and we're luckily talking about
2:35 pm
a topic that brings everybody together. you would rarely have an electric utility association and a natural gas utility association working side by side, but i don't go to any meetings with lie peep without jessica and -- liheap without jessica and vice versa. that shows that this sst a pant issue -- partisan -- this isn't a partisan issue or an issue that see necessary sort of divide. we're really tasked with making sure that our members are able to see that. i'll keep mine short and sweet so we can have questions. as if off to jessica. jessica: hi, everyone. thank you, mark, for inviting e. so i would also like to have the disclaimer of my comments are my own, my opinions are my own. but i do work for the edison electric institute which represents the investor-owned utilities. d i would say that something that most people don't know about me is that i buy my
2:36 pm
iphone chargers in bulk and i always have a portable charger on me. because i just hate the feeling of when your phone is about to die, you know, like all of a sudden you feel like you're disconnected from the whole world. it's just coming done to on you. i like to keep my -- down on you. i like to keep my phone charged at all times so i'm not mildly inconvenienced. but when we're talking about liheap recipients, we're talking about people that are truly the most poor in our society, who have to decide between whether or not they can pay for their electricist trifert -- electricity or pay for their medicine that's going keep them alive. i'm very fortunate to be in the position that i'm in and that i can lobby to help people that truly, truly need it. along with nina, i work with the national energy utility affordability coalition. it's so wordy. it's so much fun to say. and together we promote liheap
2:37 pm
on capitol hill. annually we host the liheap action day where we bring in liheap recipients, liheap directors, liheap program coordinators from all across the country to come in and lobby congress. because, frankly congress gets sick of talking to me and nina. so they like to talk to people who are truly recipients of the program, who are truly on the ground, who can give those personal stories and put a face to this problem. so we bring them in and we take them all around capitol hill. they get their steps in as they walk around and they share their stories. it's a really, really great event that our member companies will help bring everyone in together to talk about and when we're in those rooms, it we really do let the people that are on the ground kind of
2:38 pm
dominate the conversation because these members need to, you know, understand the problem from a national perspective, but also from right in their backyard and that's really where you can get their attention. so just, -- so just for example, i happen to be from connecticut. 63% of households that are eligible for liheap do not receive it. and connecticut receives $78.7 million in 2017. but still couldn't service most people who needed it. of those people who received it, 69.4% were vulnerable populations. so 35% were over 60, 18% were under 6, 33% were disabled. these are the people who need the assistance the most. when we talk about liheap, as mark said, most it's block grants and then there's also emergency funding. so, for instance, if there's a
2:39 pm
really big storm in some part of the country, we really need to help out the people who have been hurt there, liheap can take care of that too. 49% of it is for heating and 51% is split up between cooling, weatherization, which is improving the systems, and crisis assistance. the eligibility is for these are 150% below the federal poverty rate. very, very, very low. so when you think about the fact that in 2015 the federal reserve said that half of americans can't pay for a $400 emergency cost right now, it's overwhelming how many people need this aid. and so what nina and i do is we go to congress and we explain this to them and for the most part members of congress understand and they listen to the stories and they say, ok, yeah, this is a real need.
2:40 pm
this is something that government is here to do. but one of the difficulties with liheap is that it is not an entitlement. so it has to be appropriated every year. o in situations where congress is squabbling over some issue and it holds up the government from being funded, liheap gets hurt. if there's a continuing resolution where everything's kept the same, you would think that liheap would be kept the same but it's actually not. because it's one of those few programs that's actually paid out in front mostly and there's this little line in c.r.'s that say, if that's the case, you shouldn't dump it all out. so these are things we try to explain on the hill every day to make sure that people are thinking about the people who really just need this help. thanks. mark: thank you, gentlemen's cafment our last speaker -- jessica. our last speaker is kennley
2:41 pm
farmer. we asked her to speak because she runs the energy assistance program for the district of columbia. now that you've heard sort of broad discussions about how the program work, funding issue the kind of people, the characteristics of the people we're serving, it would be helpful to give you a perspective of how does a state program actually work at the ground level? and d.c.'s a good example of a program that integrates both federal money with state and local funds. and just for the record i am speaking for my organization. [laughter] my comments are on the record. thank you. kenley. kenley: thank you, mark, thanks, everyone. as mark mentioned, i am the associate director for the affordability division of the district of columbia. so i am tasked with managing both of our liheap programs, as well as our weatherization programs.
2:42 pm
and along with a new program tied to water affordability. so in the district we actually think of this in terms of utility affordability. while we're focusing on energy today, we're also seeing that water is also a crucial issue for a lot of cities, including the district of columbia. our programs have been designed with a goal toward mitigating utility costs, including those homes with the highest utility needs and the greatest utility burdens. as well as the least amount of available resources. and we see every day people who are making the decisions that mark is talking about. so they are trying to decide how much do i pay towards my electric bill, how much do i pay toward my gas bill, water bill, medicine, food, transportation, you know, it's something that is very real to us and so we're dedicated to that effort. in the district of columbia we
2:43 pm
not only receive the federal liheap grant, but since mayor bowser has been in office, she's been dedicated to ensuring that we don't have to close our doors. so in previous years if the federal grant ran out, we would literally close down our offices, lock the door and we couldn't assist people. in the last five years we've been able to keep our doors open, which i think has been a great benefit to our constituents. it means that we are now not dealing with as many households who are in a state of crisis for a long period of time. which has been i think a great benefit to the city as a whole. just to give you a sense in the district. the district recently surpassed about 700,000 residents. about 1/4 of those or 27% sell simply for liheap assistance. -- is eligible for liheap assistance. most of you knee liheap assistance, the maximum income level you can go to is 60%
2:44 pm
state median income and the district aheres to that maximum level. again, in the district you do have to be responsible for utility bill in some way in order to receive assistance. in fiscal year 2017, we served about 40% of the households who were gel able to -- who were eligible to receive benefits. we are meeting the demand but at the same time we're trying to balance that with conducting additional outreach and even driving that demand. so it's definitely a balancing act. even from a day to day level, much less a week to week level. we also tried to maximize the amount that we can give toward weatherization. so the rule is you can give up to 15% of your liheap grant to weatherization, and we aim to meet that full level of funding each year. but again, it's a balancing act. so if you're moving money over toward weatherization, that
2:45 pm
could hit your benefits funding level. so we're looking at that on almost a week to week level. i wanted to mention too, i think mark was especially interested in the district's program, not only because we dedicate additional local funding toward energy assistance, but also because we have been trying to create a program that is holistic in many ways. we also have a utility discount program, that has to do with decreasing your rates once you're enrolled. so there is an electric utility discount program, gas, as well as water. so that means that now those households have a lower rate on an ongoing basis once they've been enrolled. the other thing i mentioned is the water affordability program. in the district we also have another program called solar for all. and that has to do with tying
2:46 pm
the district's clean energy goals, so we have very aggressive goals, including trying to be carbon-neutral by 2050. but at the same time having a lens towards equity and ensuring that we're not leaving anybody behind as we strive towards those climate goals. so solar for all is dedicated to providing the benefits of solar power to 100,000 low-income households in the district. and that income guideline is actually a little bit higher than the one i mentioned before. so we're now trying to get to an even higher level of potential households because we recognize that like a lot of american cities, affordability is an issue. housing costs, just general costs in urban areas like this can be higher. so we see all these programs as being tied towards affordability at large. the last one i'll mention is the kind of last program mark talked about which is pace.
2:47 pm
so we're also trying to use innovative financing solutions for affordable housing in the district. so that's tying clean energy finance to energy efficiency to bring down utility usage for affordable housing properties. so i've been tasked in this role to try to bring all these programs together so that we're providing comprehensive solutions to these challenges. thank you. mark: thank you. as we said, we'd like to see this not just as presentations, but also as a dialogue among ourselves and with the audience on the issue of energy poverty in the united states. just to kick it off, i'll ask one question just to get the discussion going. as i said, about 20% of the i'll stand up, about 20% of the eligible population receives energy assistance, yet we've made i
2:48 pm
think pretty compelling arguments why this is an important need. why do you think that we don't go beyond 20%? why do you think we're stuck at that level and why -- in light of the importance of energy assistance? nina: why are we stuck at only being -- mark: yeah, why can't we go beyond 20%? what's holding us back? why won't congress increase funding? is there some problem there that we can't seem to get across when we make the case for energy assistance? the so, i think that problem is -- has multiple branches. and i think the biggest one is, like i said earlier, there are so many programs and so many worthy programs that need funding that when we are looking at liheap, it already
2:49 pm
receives a lot more than a lot of other programs. not to say it doesn't need more. i think it should have $10 billion, $11 billion allocated to it because that's only way we'd be able to serve all people that need funding. but i think when you're pushing for these large scale changes, there are going to be other advocates coming and pushing right back for their programs. so our approach has been to continue to show the need for it, to continue to bring real-life stories to the member offices so that they know how this impacts their constituents and i think that's why we've been seeing incremental increases. i think that that's going to be the most realistic way to get to where we need to be, is small incremental changes. because i think politically there isn't a dem or a republican on the hill who is willing to say that it needs to
2:50 pm
jump $2 billion, $3 billion. because there are so many different interests that are going to be pulling al at them and when we're looking -- pulling at them and when we're looking at the house going for re-election every two years, there are very few members who are in a position where they can take a stance that pushes for one program over another. i think that's kind of the ssue that we run into. jessica: i'd also like to say that it's important to remember that every year we're starting from zero. the president said no more money for liheap. so every dollar that we get we are very grateful for. mark: other comments? questions from the audience, i think we'd like to open this up for questions. we'd certainly like to hear your questions or comments. and introduce yourself when you speak, if you could. questioner: hi, my name is
2:51 pm
alex, i'm from usca. i guess two questions. the first one is what percentage of utilities have ind of, i guess, subsidy programs to support their liheap programs? so, you know, adding an extra dollar or two to my utility bills to subsidize liheap programs. and then the second question is , how much coordination is there between liheap programs and litech programs, so low income housing programs, encouraging the litech programs to have more stringent sustainability or energy efficiency measures? because the little bit that i've looked at it, a lot of the poorest states seem to have the less stringent or least stringent efficiency measures in their litech programs and at least moving forward that seems like a good way to help take
2:52 pm
are of this problem. nina: i'll jump in for the utility one. unfortunately i don't know if jessica has an exact percentage of their member companies, and there are a lot of like municipal, locally-run utility companies as well. but i will say that a lot of our companies have their own programs, in addition to liheap, they have their own programs to help make sure that their customers are not at risk of shutoff. off the top of my head, companies like atmas in texas. they have a program that, like you said, tacks on an extra couple of cents on to other customers to help subsidize the low-income folks. it really is a team effort, i guess, for lack of a better word. the utilities are working on it, the assistance from the federal government is absolutely necessary.
2:53 pm
and then i know the states will have a lot of their own programs as well. in terms of the coordination between liheap and litech, because liheap is run individually by each state, i think that's a question that is -- directed at mark: there is no connection between litech and liheap. the programs are not coordinated at all. what there is in litech is sometimes states will put in stringent energy efficiency requirements in order to win the litech credits which can help reduce the need for energy assistance. they're two separate activities. litech is tied toward building construction and renovation whereas energy assistance is tied toward immediate bills. in a sense, if we thought holistically about how programs go together, which we don't in the united states. the united states tends to think of things separately. so we have a separate health
2:54 pm
care program like medicaid, we have a separate food program, snap, we have a separate energy assistance program. but rarely do you see all the programs put together in a holistic box and thinking about it, you know, how does this help a family and community, it's really not how we do things in the united states. in europe you see more of an integration of resources, people think more in terms of public health than energy. different type of discussion, different type of approach. chris: you just answered your own first question and that was why is there not the money there? competition from these various other programs. mark: there you go. holistic approach. chris: right. i was very glad that kenley brought up the water issue. this is something you don't think about. if you're in a rural part of the country, you lose your electricity, you've lost your water and sewage.
2:55 pm
because you're drawing off of a well. that's why it's even that much more important to rural poverty . mark: one of the issues in energy assistance and energy affordability and energy poverty, there's no firm definition like this is it. this is what it is. like someone has cancer or heart disease, we know what that is. and medicaid knows how to treat it and there's a formula for paying for it. so it's fairly black and white. in our case, the numbers depend a lot on where you sit. but i thought maybe i'd open it up to our panel. when you think of energy assistance and energy poverty, how should we define it? all we have right now is a federal definition. is that sufficient, does that target funds sufficiently? haly has thought a lot about this question so i thought maybe we'd start with her. haly: well, maybe i overthought bout this.
2:56 pm
the world i've looked at, there are several things that kind of have bothered me in general. i know energy poverty falls under energy access. energy access is a really wide area. like i said, it includes reliability, availability, sustainability. and other areas. and when we start talking about energy poverty, we sometimes forget those other areas. like, well, what if i have money to afford energy, but i really have disconnections all the time because i happen to live in a rural area, i mean, am i still energy poor? or, yes, i can somewhat afford all my energy, but, wait a minute, i would like to afford gas because gas is one of the cheapest ones, but there's no gas lines in my neighborhood. and that is quite a big
2:57 pm
reality. there's also no gans gas lines, even though -- no gas lines, even though that is one of the cheapest ways to heat your house. from an energy access point of view, do you have access if you don't have steeks that most affordable energy -- have access if you don't have access to that most affordable energy out there? definitely energy poverty would have to include all the areas of energy access. and if we start solving them like piece by piece, then it might end up the same way that we look at in the global reports and it says, you have 100% energy access because some areas might have electricity, but in reality electricity is not the entire energy sector alone. there is also gas, fuel oil, kerosene, propane and other areas the same way. on the other side, like i said, about energy poverty, energy poverty's very, very distinct poverty area because, as i said
2:58 pm
before, it does not always overlap with income poverty. so it's not like all the people who are income-poor are also energy-poor. or other way around, there are very, very huge proportion of moderate income people who are also energy poor because they simply cannot afford it because the difference between gas income and disposable income is very huge. whereas that's the reason when chris said this while people always ask, the energy prices have been kind of flat, so what's the issue, why do we want more money? but if you look at the household budget and budget constraints, you can only divide i had -- divide that pie or budget so many ways. so, ok, energy prices have been flat, but have also medications been sflat has medical care
2:59 pm
been flat? have all those other costs of household been flat? if they're not and they keep increasing, then it doesn't matter the amount of money we contribute to energy poverty if the household prioritizes their medical care first because they'll put that money first and they still end up being energy poor in the end. so it is more comprehensive society issue that we have to solve, how to make sure that all those things that are so necessary for households are affordable, so people are -- whatever we do, people still don't end up being energy poor because they only have so much of disposable income to spend. anybody else? kenley: i can answer that too. i think in terms of what haly's saying about a comprehensive viewpoint, i think that's something we've been very focused on in the district and especially in terms of something jessica mentioned, like our portable chargers and how energy now is related to
3:00 pm
access to information. and so something we've been looking at and there's a new affordable housing property where we installed -- it will be the largest solar installation in the district. it also includes a battery backup storage for a community room so that there's a refrigerator that can be powered for medicine. there's places people can charge their phones because we now live in a modern society where information technology is just a part of day to day life. so i think we see not only just access to energy within your home, but in the event of a storm or some emergency event where you're disconnected from energy, despite your ability to pay for it, those of us with more resources are able to find somewhere to go to obtain what we need, whereas many people do not have that same access to resources for their phones, for medicine, for other things like that. . i think wore' also trying to
3:01 pm
tie this idea of energy poverty with resilience which is a word that kind of gets overused a lot. in this aspect we're thinking of, particularly like a poststorm or postemergency event. >> just back to your main question. i don't think a federal definition is sufficient. i think, like chris was saying, there are factors in rural communities that you wouldn't face in urban setting and i think a federal definition oversimplifies the issue and it makes it so there are marginalized populations who are being completely left out of the definition. >> i would agree and i think sometimes it's just one event that really pushes someone into energy poverty. someone gets sick, they lose their spouse or something happens and maybe, you know, who holistically that person
3:02 pm
isn't, you know, the poorest of the poor but when they are in that situation they're running out of options and that's why government assistance is really helpful. mark: the other issue related to this is poverty is not evenly distributed across the united states. you could have some utilities that would have 20%, 30% of their rate base be below and some 10%. utilities view the need for energy assistance depending what the rate base looks like and i think we have states where we have large numbers of very low-income people and there is a limitation what that state can do to raise funds. sometimes when you look at the kinds of partnerships that reflects the kind of resources available because energy assistance is a farrell straightforward issue. you have a bill that needs to be paid. it's not like, what do you do about gangs, immigration, health care issues, your
3:03 pm
complicated issues that have many, many social implications? energy assistance is farrell straightforward and easy to address in that sense. but jessica, do you see an issue among your members the difference in response depending on what their rate base looks like and how the program works with them? is there a difference that you see? >> not really. i think liheap is a priority for all our companies. i will say that definitively because it is. jessica: they are tasked, what are their top priorities or something and they come back and they talk about liheap. i think utilities, you know, they serve a lot of different people and they kind of -- i on't want to say responsible with with a lot of people but they end up being in contact
3:04 pm
with a lot of people. because of that, they can be in position where they're watching the ground, let's say. yes, certain states look very different. i think ultimately -- even if it's a very, very wealthy state, they still have a significant poor population and a very poor population. so our utilities, they go home, they see that, they come back as much as the utilities who have mostly poor and they fight for it just as hard. nina: yeah. i would agree. our board of directors list priorities every single year and liheap is at the top of it and our board is made up of ue tilt companies. it's regardless you're in the north or the south, it's extremely important for all of our utility companies. i also think, though, when you are looking at southern states, which oftentimes have higher poverty levels than the northern states, the issue is just different.
3:05 pm
yes, you have a higher percentage of folks who are eligible for it but the eligibility levels in terms of the dollar amount might be less per person versus in the northern states where it's colder and costs are expensive so i think it evens out. mark: chris, do you see public -- you were saying earlier too me, they have a wide range of responsibilities. how does energy assistance fit within those concerns? chris: you can't put a one-size-fits-all answer on hat one, mark. i think it's as diverse and divergent as the states and population are. as i said earlier, i don't think there's much difference between my folks in congress or
3:06 pm
a state legislature or even the population in general as to their views. some take the view that we have to make it as easy and to get the aid, not only get the money in but put the money out. so there's some that would look at socializing all of these costs. then on the other side of the spectrum, there are some that would say we've already have too much. you don't think i can give a singular answer. many states have been very proactive in their programs with the utilities. maybe i'm just too old for myself here but i remember when the roundup program was first coming out in pennsylvania. that's where you round up -- i
3:07 pm
think it was mentioned you round up your bill from $102.of 60 to $103 or whatever. a lot of times my folks are in a position where they have to be the reactive as opposed to the active and that is through a rate base. when the utility comes up with a pilot or an idea how to do this, the commission looks at it. and they try to determine whether or not that goes in the rate base. so it's really hard to give a singular answer. mark: it reflects diversity in states. chris: what's going to work in new jersey isn't necessarily going to work in new mexico. mark: i think we have a question over here. >> hello. my name is ariel. i work for the american council
3:08 pm
for a an energy efficient economy. the panel is talking about how to focus on energy poverty and liheap a main way to do that. i'm wondering if any of you have thoughts on some of these holistic solutions that mark has alluded to. chris and kenley mentioned energy efficiency as a way to also achieve long-term affordability for individuals. so i'd love to hear any thoughts you have on ways bill assistance can be combined with other programs or more holistic solution to energy poverty. mark: boy, if i had that nswer. jessica: part of liheap is set aside for weatherization, for making homes for energy efficient and it's funded through d.o.e. through its appropriation. that's one of the big priorities for the energy subcommittee and energy commerce this year is making
3:09 pm
sure that's authorized as well as taken care of so ultimately what ends up happening is that the poor have systems that are more likely to break down, right? and so addressing that will kind of hopefully put everybody on the same starting point so that, you know, we can move forward together. chris: jessica makes a really good point. this may sound like a stupid example. i can tell you from life experience, in my younger days, you have a situation where a low-income family or an elderly individual, their refrigerator breaks. well, they have a lot invested in that machine. not in the machine itself. i mean what's inside it. that's their food. well, chances are, they're not going out buying the most efficient refrigerator. they're getting the one that can get there that day that they can afford because they
3:10 pm
can't afford $200 worth of food spoilage. how do you wrap those in the same program? i don't think you can under the system we have. should we be able to? yeah. but -- kenley: and i think the weatherization programs that are in place both federally and on the state level do a really good job trying to be proactive about the situation. so rather than having it be once the person's refrigerator breaks down -- nina: they need a replacement. going in and assessing, you know, their low-income customers and seeing what they can do and what they can invest in in their home now to prevent any sort of issue from happening. i mean, i think we -- i am not going to speak for everybody, but energy efficiency is a goal for most everybody in the utility sector and the environment advocacy community
3:11 pm
and it would only benefit our low-income communities as well because they are going to have a lower bill all around. so i think they just address two very different things. as mark said, liheap is being able to pay your bill now. weatherization, energy efficiency, those topics are ll more long-term solutions. >> so just for example, in the district, 80% of the households we serve are renters. then 75% of the households we be serve are -- they live in multifamily buildings. so you're looking at in order to solve this problem you really have to address the multifamily rental sector. kenley: which is challenging. the other piece of this, as we try to be holistic in our approach, i mentioned the solar for all program. the solar for all allows for the installation of large-scale community renewable energy facilities and then credits or
3:12 pm
energy from those large-scale solar installations can be applied to low-income households' energy bills. but you are not truly maximizing that effort if you aren't also accounting for energy efficiency. so we are definitely focused, like laser focused on trying to align those three things in particular. direct bill assistance, energy efficiency, and then even the addition of clean energy resources. [indiscernible] >> is there an audit of the home? kenley: not at this time. but what we're doing is try to take all of those homes who received solar power in some way and feed them through our weatherization program. so that's how it's working right now. we're trying to make sure all three of those programs are talking to each other. mark: the amount of money available is not enough.
3:13 pm
we survey every few years families who is receiving energy assistance. we did the survey, we had $5 billion. about 10% of the recipients said their furnace was broken. when we surveyed recipients last year when we had about $1.5 billion less, the number of people reporting broken or furnaces in need of repair or replacement had doubled. and so what it showed that states are making tough choices with reduced funding and one thing that's gone is our ability to repair furnaces and replace them. so, again, part of the issue is resources. efficiency is, of course, extremely important. and we spend about 10% or about $350 million a year of the funds we use for efficiency, we could spend a lot more, there's no question. yes.
3:14 pm
>> thanks very much for the comments today. and we an institute know we can dramatically reduce the load of buildings. one by retrofitting or weatherization. the district is looking at putting passive houses one of the standards for the future building. and the alliance is about bringing back direct current inside the house. solar produces direct current. batteries uses direct current. any appliances uses direct current but we have to go through this conversion. if we had an energy efficient envelope and direct current, we'd dramatically reduce the load of each house. and then if we thought in terms of a city block, with a direct current microgrid that could aggregate all those houses,
3:15 pm
then we've really got something that changes the nature of the grid and really impacts this. that's a long trm thing, right? is anybody -- this is -- i don't know how many presentations i've been to in the last 10 years here in d.c. on this issue. is anybody taking a clean slate approach and looking at it holistically as how we can move forward, let's say, 10 years down the track? jessica: i would say there is an appropriation under the department of energy that congress will appropriate for building technologies which is for residential and commercial buildings and making them more energy efficient and one of the things that the government is able to do with these partnerships with universities is use the best and the brightest around the country to come up with the technologies that are going to make things more efficient and just better
3:16 pm
for everyone overall. and so that's something that e.e.i. is very supportive of because our companies don't take customer dollars and then spend it on things that may or may not work. when the government can partner with universities and say, how can we make it work, how can we make it better, that's something that we are very supportive of. i don't know the national labs, if they start from a clean slate or not. i'm sure they do reach out. mark: comments? kenley: from the district perspective, we have a coalition of kind of local leaders who actually went to belgium to study the passive house standard so i think we're always trying to seek out all potential solutions. the d.c. current issue is one of my personal favorites. so i would love to see more activity in that regard. but, yeah, as a district we're
3:17 pm
always trying to drive towards he best solutions. ris: i am not sure this is directly on this. i like the kiss philosophy. keep it simple stupid. mark: if you look at what's using the -- chris: if you look at what's sing the energy, furnaces, air conditioning, specifically in hot water and keaching your -- keeping your food cold, focus on those four appliances. >> the trouble is -- chris: i know the trouble. >> they see no market for direct current. and yet there are four billion
3:18 pm
people in the world that either have no electricity, poor electricity connection, still cooking with fossil fuels or no internet access. that's four billion. there are 380 million in this country. the u.s. could pull its resources together and it's a huge market out there that would retroactively impact. the other thing that's not being talked about is the vulnerability of the grid to attack. and we need to break it up soon. and that should also be part of the discussion. jessica: it certainly is. under d.o.e., they have the caesar office. d.h.s. they have phisa. they are making sure the grid is safe which is a top priority for utility companies.
3:19 pm
we can't imagine if the grid isn't secure. nina: ditto. it's just not being talked about. but i think a lot of that has do with the -- again, everything reinvolves around money, -- revolves around money. liheap is coming out of the labor-h.h.s. appropriations bill so we are not looking at it the way the caesar office would be looking at funding. there is definite coordination going on but i think they face a lot of different issues. >> thank you so much. my name is elise. united states energy association. work primarily for sub-saharan africa. many of those ue tilts are looking at decentralized
3:20 pm
electricity because they don't have the funds to build a whole new grid system. and so such as like solar home systems and that sort of thing. are we looking at energy poverty in america too much in the lens of the traditional ue tilt model instead of alternative solution it's and developing similar to the work we're doing in developing countries? mark: can you specific? >> solar home providing the means instead of energy efficiency, providing the means for these homes don't necessarily need to be linked up to a ue tilt, be connected to the grid and pay those bills so that would mean we would have to find a way to provide them with electricity, solar panels on their house i think kenley farmer was speaking on
3:21 pm
that and energy storage solutions. so -- mark: well, who would like to go first? [laughter] kenley: i think when you're looking at the population of people who are at risk of having their service cut off, you're not looking at people who are necessarily in a position where they built their home and so they were able to make the decision to have their home be entirely on solar panels. nina: when you are looking at affordability of energy, the more traditional energy resources are going to be the ones that are most affordable for folks. so i think that's just not a conversation that a family who is a liheap recipient is going to be having when they're trying to decide whether they're able to pay their bill or not is, well, maybe we can
3:22 pm
turn our whole house solar and not be connected to any ue tilt and that would help solve our problem. so i think that's just a little bit more like a separate issue and looks more at when new developments are being built can these houses be built with solar and not necessarily need to be connected to a utility line. yeah, i think it might not be a conversation that is even in the realm of the same conversations as they're having when they're trying to decide whether to pay their utility bill or buy groceries that day. kenley: so in the district, we do a lot of direct installations for low-income households. but, you know, typical district house is kind of a federal style row house. you can't put enough panels on that house to fully power the home. and so then in terms of reliability for that home, it needs to be connected to the grid. so that's ensuring everyone in
3:23 pm
that household has access to power at all times. so that's kind of more specific to an urban environment. i think in terms of what we were discussing about energy poverty, we would not want to pursue kind of a policy where people would at certain points in time due to weather or other circumstances not have access to power. haly: i think that's what we do in general. i notice what we do, even if the household has a way to get energy from a solar farm or anywhere else, we still keep them connected to the grid and try to help them pay the electric just in case because that seems to be -- the ue tilt side seems to be more reliable, at least at this moment, technological developments i guess hasn't got so far to catch up. ark: ok.
3:24 pm
issue e was an article this morning and talking about how the navajo nation has a huge problem with people who are not connected to the grid at all. i was wondering, does anybody have any data or feeling or looked into in this country how many people do not have energy access or not connected to the grid or in your individual states or industries? haly: see, that's exactly my point. that really bothers me that the united states doesn't have 100% energy access. i don't think we do. part of the reason is we really don't collect that data. very likely what we also don't do is probably fuel type mapping to find exactly how to do all the areas, get lectricity to gas lines.
3:25 pm
people are forced to take the ore expensive, kerosene, propane. the previous comments, there was something real important i wanted to mention. when we were talking about energy efficiency, utilities are doing a really good job about energy efficiency. we've gone a really long way. but i think we sometimes don't think about how the energy efficiency materializes in the reporting world. for example -- and we only look at how much quantity the household is using on the energy and we're thinking if the household is really using low quantity. 2,000, 3,000 annually, they must be really efficient. the household is not energy efficient even though they get the report, you are very energy
3:26 pm
efficient, the best in the neighborhood, actually it's really poor. they cannot afford energy. it's like we have really not thought through all the way when we design those kind of indicators. what those indicators really mean. so that's why these talks are important when you do the strategies when you talk to the stakeholders and see how your indicators is in the real world. ark: question in the back. >> hi. united states energy association. our central mission here is to increase energy access around the world. kudos to the entire panel for bringing this to light. this question is probably better suited to jessica or nina. have you guys changed anything you're saying on the hill, structured your comments in the context of climate change to maybe get attention of the lawmakers?
3:27 pm
jessica: i haven't. nina, have you? nina: i have not either. the simple reasoning being it is -- climate change is a very controversial topic and we are trying to convince every member that they need to be in favor of this program and they need to protect it. so in terms of oured a vow cass canny efforts, it's not worth it to bring in that topic. it also doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with making sure that every american has access to energy. i think it's definitely an issue. the avenue i normally take is highlighting how many people in their district are eligible, how many in their district are not receiving funds. the choices that folks are having to make in their day-to-day lives because i also think somebody receiving liheap funds and somebody who's having to make that choice between
3:28 pm
paying their utility bill or buying groceries is also not necessarily thinking about climate change as their number one issue they're worried about. they're thinking, can i put food on the table for my kids and heat our home when it's negative 25 degrees fahrenheit outside? it's not a topic that quoms up in our meetings. -- comes up in our meetings. chris: we don't specifically address climate change but we're concerned whether conditions becoming hotter. we're seeing cooling being used more in the midwest now, in the northeast than the past. our basic approach, as congress considers adaptation bills, for lack of a better phrase, green for all, those kind of things, that energy efficiency should be included -- mark: low-income families are the least able to adapt to hotter temperatures and more extreme weather. it's not just a problem, of course, in the united states. you see poor countries being in
3:29 pm
the same situation. we want to make the point that climate change and climate change adaptation should include provisions to help low-income families adapt, whether it's installing cooling systems in their home, having just more funds available to pay for cooling. that's just a very real problem. because liheap tends to think just next week, we don't have a 10-year perspective, it's very important to start thinking about that, especially as congress, even though my guess is nothing is going to go anywhere this year, but as congress considers strategies, think how m to low-income families can adapt to climate change. over there. >> major ison. the high cost of fuel has come up a couple times. is conversion from delivered fuels to high efficient
3:30 pm
electric appliances and equipment part of the conversation here? mark: any comments from the group? chris: it should be. [laughter] mark: there you go. it is part of the conversation. you see some states that focus on conversion. liheap funds cannot be used for conversion. when we do do efficiency we do focus on high efficiency energy star appliances, installation. there is an effort to help increase efficiency of homes because that does reduce demand for energy assistance and the need for assistance. we have time, i think, for one last question. yes, sir. >> recently there was an article on the hill on houses as part of infrastructure. have you thought about how you could include your issue as part of infrastructure?
3:31 pm
mark: our funds cannot -- weatherization funds cannot be used for new construction. that's part of the law. but again, in terms of infrastructure for affordable housing, you know, the most efficient construction makes the biggest difference in terms of what drives the need for assistance. any last comment from our audience -- sorry -- from our panel? haly: i wanted to add to that. i know even though our funds, liheap funds cannot be used for those kind of things, often we do work liheap in cooperation with other programs who do like healthy homes and to help -- a portion we can help is weatherization to make homes energy firblet. that's more the quality of the well-being for the household, from the public point of view. so healthy homes is mostly the one that helps us assess to get a better dwelling.
3:32 pm
mark: ok. i'd like to thank our panelists. aly chiss chris, nina, jessica and kenley. thank you. >> mark, thank you very much for organizing this session on this critically important topic. as i said in the beginning, this is kind of a new conversation for the united states energy association but it's a conversation that we very much want to be a part of. we look forward to helping continue the conversation and helping to cast a little bit of light on the challenges and issues that we -- that we all face. you know, as an industry, we're very proud of the fact that we think we've been keeping bills low. as one of the recent meetings it was commented that the average home today is paying $1,100 less for all energy. not just natural gas and electricity but gasoline and
3:33 pm
other derivative products and we're very proud of prices being moderate. what the average prices are doesn't mean much if you can't pay your bill, as it is. again, mark, thank you for organizing this. let me thank each of the panelists for participating. and let's continue the conversation. if you would join me one last time in thanking our panelists and mark. [applause] thank you very much and we're adjourned. thank you for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
3:34 pm
3:35 pm
>> the house meets at 4:00 eastern to promote energy access in developing country and ensuring sanitation facilities that get u.s. money. any votes requested will start at 6:30 eastern. watch house coverage here on c-span and also online at or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> president trump will be in pennsylvania later today for a campaign rally. live coverage starts at 7:00 eastern on c-span2, online at or listen live with the free c-span radio app. and tonight here on c-span, the
3:36 pm
house oversight and government reform committee hearing on the cost of the h.i.v. prevention drug truvada. the c.e.o. of the company that makes the drug testified on why the price for the pill is higher in the u.s. than in other countries. here's a look at some of what you'll see tonight. >> just let me get this straight. over a decade of research. over a billion dollars into that research. you develop a drug that saved millions of people. now can be used as prior to, not just something after the fact when people have been diagnosed with h.i.v., the profits you made from that you are now working on developing a cure and just last week you announced folks who can't get access to the medication right now, you are going to give it to them free? mr. o'day: yes, congressman. mr. jordan: but you're a bad guy. that's what we hear from the other side. mr. ezell, isn't that exactly how it's supposed to work under the constitution, people come up with a great idea, they go to the patent and tradeoffs, they get a patent for it, they get that patent for andersen
3:37 pm
length of time to recoup the billions of dollars it cost to make the product or idea or whatever they did that's helped millions of people, that's been great for a -- that's one thing that makes america the greatest place, and that's how it's supposed to work? >> that's exactly right, representative jordan. you know, it's interesting to hear the questions about it's cheaper in other countries. the other problem is other countries are not effective -- mr. jordan: they didn't make it. these guys made it. i forgot another thing. they will go off patent a year early, isn't that right, mr. o'day? mr. o'day: yes. mr. jordan: one year early, it will go to a lower cost. they don't have to do that. but somehow they're the bad guy. right? i just -- i appreciate what you've done and the thousands of people that are being impacted as we speak, the millions of people whose lives have been impacted, the folks
3:38 pm
who are alive today because of the work you've done and we're going to beat you up. so mr. chairman, i appreciate -- i appreciate -- i appreciate this hearing and i yield back my time. >> i appreciate you. let me say something. mr. come cannings: let me make this clear. nobody has come in here to beat you up. i want to make that clear. i applaud you but it's nothing like holding the hand of somebody who is dying from aids. i'm sorry. and all we're trying to do is represent our constituents and help them stay alive. when you're dead you're dead.
3:39 pm
>> others who testified included physicians and hiv-aids advocates. watch the hearing tonight here on c-span starting at 9:00 eastern. you can also watch online at or listen with the free c-span radio app. at the tk about a busy week here in washington prior to the memorial break for congress is katherine tully-mcmanus, a staff writer for roll call. we are also joined by jordan fabian, white house correspondent for "the hill." let's start with iran, because we know there is an all members briefing for the house and senate on iran tomorrow. who is actually doing this briefing? where will it be and how will it work? guest: it will happen in the secure area in the capitol.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on