[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 108 (Thursday, June 5, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32550-32552]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13031]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families


Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Performance 
Measures.
    OMB No.: New Collection.

Description

    The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant 
(42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq.) was established under Title XXVI of the 
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35. The Office 
of Community Services (OCS) within the U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) 
administers LIHEAP at the federal level.
    The LIHEAP statute requires HHS to develop performance measures and 
report to Congress annually on program impacts on recipient and 
eligible households. The primary program goals, as articulated in the 
statute, are to ensure that benefits are targeted to those households 
where the greatest program impacts are expected, and to assure that 
timely resources are available to households experiencing home energy 
crises.
    OCS is seeking authorization to collect data from all state 
grantees and the District of Columbia that will establish performance 
indicators of the impact of LIHEAP services on its recipients. Specific 
data elements OCS is seeking to collect are detailed below.
    Broken down by main heating fuel type, report for all households 
receiving any type of LIHEAP-funded energy bill assistance and for all 
high energy burden households receiving any type of LIHEAP-funded 
energy bill assistance (``high energy burden households'' is defined as 
the top 25% of all bill assistance households sorted by energy burden 
for that state):
     Total number of unduplicated households receiving LIHEAP-
funded energy bill assistance. Note that the total number of 
unduplicated households served with LIHEAP funds is a current reporting 
requirement for the LIHEAP Household Report--Long Form. This new 
requirement is in addition to that requirement and is a slight 
variation in that grantees will be asked to exclude households 
receiving only LIHEAP services that are not related to payment of 
energy bills (such as weatherization assistance or heating/cooling 
equipment repairs/replacements).
     Average household income.

[[Page 32551]]

     Average household benefit. Note that the average LIHEAP 
cash benefit is currently a required reporting element for the LIHEAP 
Grantee Survey. In the Grantee Survey, state grantees are required to 
report the average benefit, broken down by program component (heating 
assistance, cooling assistance, crisis assistance, etc.). This new 
reporting requirement would be in addition to and is a slight variation 
on the existing requirement, in that state grantees will be asked to 
add all the different component cash benefits together and report 
average benefits broken down by client fuel type, such as fuel oil, 
natural gas, electricity, etc.
     Annual cost of main heating fuel.
     Annual electricity cost.
     Annual consumption of main heating fuel (optional).
     Annual consumption of electricity (optional).
    For all households, by main heating fuel, report the:
     Number of households where utility service termination was 
prevented.
     Number of households where a fuel delivery prevented a 
loss of service.
     Number of households where heating or cooling equipment 
was repaired or replaced prior to failure.
     Number of households where utility service was restored
     Number of households where a fuel delivery was made to a 
home that was out of fuel
     Number of households where broken heating or cooling 
equipment was fixed due to being inoperable.
    Based on the data collected from grantees through the ACF On-Line 
Data Collection System (OLDC), OCS will calculate performance measures 
and report the results through the annual budget development process 
and in the annual LIHEAP Report to Congress. The data will help inform 
ACF and grantees about the impact LIHEAP has with respect to LIHEAP 
households' home energy burden (the proportion of their income spent 
towards their home heating and cooling bills), restoring home energy 
service, and preventing loss of home energy service. Once the data are 
published in the LIHEAP Report to Congress, grantees will be able to 
compare their own results to the results for other states, as well as 
to regional and national results, through the LIHEAP Performance 
Measurement Web site.

Respondents

    ACF published a Federal Register notice on June 6, 2013 soliciting 
60 days of public comment on requiring new LIHEAP performance measures. 
ACF received comments regarding the first Federal Register notice from 
LIHEAP grantees, LIHEAP sub-grantees, utility companies, national 
energy assistance associations, and individual low-income advocates. In 
response to the issues and concerns raised by the comments to the first 
Federal Register Notice, ACF has made several adjustments to its 
proposed data collection, as summarized below.

Previously Required Data Elements Will Be Optional

    In an effort to address concerns about the burden of reporting, 
some previously required data elements are now being proposed as 
optional. Specifically, household utility consumption data and 
supplemental fuel and air conditioning expenditure and consumption 
data, originally required for the energy burden reduction measure, will 
be optional for all grantees. Grantees will be encouraged to collect 
this information wherever possible so that OCS can identify best 
practices, strategies, and benefits associated with this information.

Burden Reduction Sampling Plans To Be Developed

    OCS also is developing best practice information to demonstrate to 
grantees how to collect the highest quality data with the lowest 
burden. As part of that effort, OCS is working collaboratively with 
state grantees that already collect the required data to develop an 
effective vendor and client sampling procedure that will furnish 
performance indicators within the targeted precision guidelines. ACF is 
planning to require that grantees obtain data the largest five electric 
and natural gas companies (by numbers of LIHEAP households served) and 
the largest ten fuel oil vendors (if applicable), largest ten propane 
vendors (if applicable), and largest ten other vendors that have 
automated information systems.
    In addition to the revisions made in response to public comments, 
ACF has also decided to merge this proposed data form with the LIHEAP 
Grantee Survey form. The Grantee Survey is a form that is required of 
all state grantees and the District of Columbia. The form has been used 
by ACF since the early 1980's. It last received OMB clearance for 
fiscal years 2011-2014, under OMB clearance number 0970-0076. ACF 
proposes adding the previously cleared content with only two minor 
adjustments--a clarification to the instructions to grantees about the 
average household benefit amounts calculation and the addition of data 
fields needed for the performance impact data relating to the average 
household benefit by fuel type. This data will then be prepopulated 
into the performance impact section of the form to allow ACF to make 
the necessary calculations for the performance data. Grantees will 
submit this combine LIHEAP Performance Data Form to ACF by January 15th 
of each year. The grantee survey section of the form will be due 
beginning January 15, 2015 (same data as normally required annually), 
and the remaining sections of the form (performance impact data) will 
begin to be due annually starting January 15, 2016 regarding the prior 
federal fiscal year.

Annual Burden Estimates

    The incremental burden associated with collecting the required data 
elements and furnishing reports to ACF through OLDC will be different 
for each grantee. Preliminary information from grantees has shown that 
some already collect extensive data on client energy expenditures and 
client service disruptions, while others have little or no data 
available to support the proposed reports. ACF is using the information 
collected on all state grantees capacity for this data collection 
requirement to develop individualized technical assistance to states to 
build their capacity for successfully providing valid and reliable 
data. ACF has already begun implementing technical assistance and 
training to state grantees regarding the proposed data.
    ACF conducted in-depth interviews with a small number of Best 
Practice grantees to learn more about their system development 
procedures and the annual burden hours required to implement their data 
collection and reporting systems. ACF found that some systems were 
designed to address both program administration and performance 
measurement goals, while others were mainly focused on performance 
measurement goals. The lowest burden systems are those that are focused 
on performance measurement goals. The burden estimates listed below 
assume that the required incremental burden should be limited to the 
incremental burden associated with performance measurement data 
collection and reporting only.
    The table below shows the estimated data collection and reporting 
burden for the performance impact data. These estimates are based on a 
small number of interviews with grantees, sub-grantees, and energy 
vendors that are currently reporting data in that way.

[[Page 32552]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Number of        Average
                   Instrument                        Number of     responses per   burden hours    Total burden
                                                    respondents     respondent     per response        hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grantees........................................              51               1             100           5,100
Sub-Grantees (in states with sub-grantee managed         \1\ 200               1              80          16,000
 systems).......................................
Large Energy Vendors (largest 5 electric, 5 gas,       \1\ 1,530               1              40          61,200
 10 fuel oil, and 10 propane vendors per state--
 average).......................................
Small Energy Vendors (excluded except in special             200               1              10           2,000
 circumstances).................................
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Annual Burden Hours...................           1,981               1           (\2\)          84,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Estimate.
\2\ Varies.

    The following burden estimates pertain to the grantee survey 
section of the form:

             Annual Burden Estimates for LIHEAP Performance Data Form: Part I--LIHEAP Grantee Survey
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Number of      Average  hour
                                                 Number of      responses per     burden  per     Total  burden
                                                respondents       respondent        response          hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grantees....................................              51                1              3.5           178.50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional Information

    Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the 
Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research 
and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: 
ACF Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the 
title of the information collection. Email address: 
infocollection@acf.hhs.gov.
    OMB Comment:
    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of 
information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document 
in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having 
its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. 
Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information 
collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of 
Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: OIRA_SUBMISSION@OMB.EOP.GOV Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for 
Children and Families.

 Robert Sargis,
Reports Clearance Officer.
[FR Doc. 2014-13031 Filed 6-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4184-01-P