July 27, 2022

HUD: New Steps Announced to Lower Electricity Bills for Residents in HUD Programs

New HUD Actions to Connect HUD-Assisted Residents and Homeowners to Solar Power and Lower Energy Costs

The Biden Administration, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced today new measures to connect families served by HUD programs to solar power and help lower their electricity bills. Over 4.5 million low-income families are currently served by HUD programs. In addition to today’s announcement, HUD will continue to connect and convene stakeholders in regional and local offices to highlight federal funding sources – including funding streams from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and HUD programs such as Home Investment Partnerships Program and Community Development Block Grant HOME and CDBG that can be used to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs for communities including HUD-assisted properties and residents.

“The combination of extreme heat and rising utility prices creates a perfect storm, and HUD-assisted families and communities are some of the most vulnerable,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The steps announced today by the Biden Administration will not only help families reduce utility costs, but also provide an opportunity for HUD-assisted residents to participate in the clean energy economy through local community solar programs.”

Below is information about how HUD will leverage specific programs and take new steps to help ease energy cost burdens through Community Solar, HUD’s Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base Utility Program, FHA’s 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program, FHA’s Financing and Energy Efficient and Climate Mitigation Home Improvements, and FHA Education and Outreach.

New Guidance to Connect Families to Solar Power

HUD is issuing national guidance to help ensure that residents of assisted housing can access cost-saving community solar subscriptions. With this guidance, HUD sets the stage for 4.5 million families to reap the benefits of community solar which, on average, can save families 10% per year on their electric bills. In some programs, such as the Washington, DC Solar for All program, savings from subscribing to local community solar can reach up to 50% per year. This national guidance builds on recent state-specific guidance that HUD has provided to Illinois, Washington, DC and New York, that determined community-net-metering (CNM) credits would be excluded from household income and utility allowance calculations and therefore not increase housing costs for residents in properties participating in HUD Multifamily, Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance programs.

Guidance can be found HERE.

Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base Utility Program

Last year, HUD implemented new statutory changes creating a new energy and water savings incentive program for Small Rural housing authorities. The Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base program enables small rural housing authorities to retain utility cost savings from efficiency or capital investments from conservation measures. Now, HUD is launching an educational campaign and partnership to encourage broader usage of the incentive, and help housing authorities partner with Weatherization providers to access low-cost energy efficiency measures. HUD will make public a list of eligible Rural housing authorities, as well as a list of buildings owned or operated by those Housing Authorities that meet the new categorical income eligibility requirements for the Department of Energy Weatherization program. Leading up to the September deadline for new applicants for the Frozen Rolling Base program, HUD will maximize outreach efforts to ensure eligible housing authorities are aware of the savings opportunities.

Read more about the Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base program here and see list of Eligible Public Housing Authorities here. The list of properties meeting income eligibility requirements for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization program is available here.

FHA’s 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program

Given the urgent need for utility cost savings, HUD is working to educate lenders and homebuyers about the products the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers for energy-related improvements that may help homeowners reduce their utility costs.

This post was originally published here.