Dear TEPRI Community,
We hope this note finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. As we watch our daily news feed, the sobering realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming starker and more alarmingly clear, while its long-term effects feel less certain and increasingly troubling. We are acutely aware that as the pandemic spreads, our most vulnerable neighbors will likely be the hardest hit by its unmerciful health and economic effects.
During these last few overwhelming weeks, our team here at TEPRI has been carefully considering a simple question, one that many of you may have asked yourselves: How can we help?
We appreciate and salute the extraordinary efforts by our brave frontline healthcare and critical service providers, food supply chain and delivery workers, and local leaders working to keep our communities safe. We are encouraged by the positive stories throughout our communities of humanity, kindness, and generosity surfacing in these challenge times. We anticipate that as more and more families are forced into a position of financial insecurity because of disruptions to their livelihood, caring for loved ones, or being sick, the need for immediate, responsive solutions that help families meet basic energy needs are growing substantially.
In thinking about how TEPRI can help, we want to leverage our strengths and the core principle on which we were founded — to deliver relevant, evidence-based, and accurate research that informs stakeholders serving the energy needs of vulnerable Texans. We believe that our work is as important as ever. We are here to provide data-driven insights to inform imperative decisions about how to support vulnerable communities in this unprecedented time.
Our team is working to leverage our data and research into actionable insights that you can use to inform your responses to COVID-19. Below are some helpful reminders for today, with more to come:
With so many people forced to remain home, access to reliable and affordable energy is critical for health and safety. We know from our research that households across Texas make difficult trade-offs to afford their energy bills — forgoing food, clothing, and medicine and potentially enduring dangerous energy deprivation.
As summer approaches, these choices will be all the more pressing. More people will be turning to utilities and social service providers for help. Many people who need help will not know where to turn. We’ve learned in our research that assistance program awareness is low, especially among younger people.
We believe that accurate information is critical to effective response programs. We are committed to working side-by-side with our network of utility and energy partners, social service providers, housing providers, and community organizations to deliver timely and relevant information to support their good work. If you see an opportunity for TEPRI to help you, conduct specific research, or partner with you in these challenging times, please let us know. We are here to help.
Thank you for all you do to support our communities. Let’s continue to inspire each other and rise above these challenging times with grace, compassion, resilience, and creativity.
Stay safe and strong,
The TEPRI Team
Dana, Sam, Jacquie, Alexa, Gaby, and Erick