Newsletter – Wrapping Up Summer

Dear Friends of TEPRI,

As kids are returning to school and we begin to close out the summer, it means more routine for many of us. With more routine often come more demands on our time and attention. Thank you for continuing to think of our vulnerable neighbors as you make progress with your work this fall.

We’ve released a lot of content here at TEPRI recently. Our webinar last week promoting our Low-Income Communities Profile Series Texas Overview Report was a success and led to a great discussion on the factors affecting low-income communities across Texas. We’re also constantly adding resources to our Energy Poverty Clearinghouse, so please sign up for our featured resources emails if you haven’t already.

We’re also very excited about continued growth this month as we welcome Pecan Street Inc. as a new TEPRI member and Edna Oceguera from CDC Brownsville to the TEPRI Board of Directors.

We are looking forward to a busy fall – check out the rest of our upcoming events and announcements below, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if we can be of assistance to your organization in serving the energy needs of low-income Texans.


Dana Harmon
Executive Director


Pecan Street Inc.

TEPRI welcomes the support of Pecan Street Inc. in providing actionable data to help explain and address low-income energy burdens. Pecan Street Inc. is an energy and water research organization based in Austin, Texas. Its network of volunteer research participants has become an international model for how to develop and operate real-world energy and resource research.

Suzanne Russo, CEO of Pecan Street Inc., shares the following thoughts about the partnership with TEPRI:

“As the climate threat worsens, it is critical to demonstrate that cleaner, zero-carbon electricity is an affordable and reliable reality in Texas. We’re honored to be part of a group that recognizes the impact that energy efficiency and cleaner electricity can have on narrowing the energy-poverty divide in Texas and look forward to sharing the results of our research that prove it.”


TEPRI Hosts Research Presentation Webinar

Last Friday, TEPRI hosted our “Building a Better Understanding of Texas Low-Income Communities and Energy Webinar” to discuss the many factors that affect vulnerable communities in Texas. TEPRI staff Dana Harmon and Jacquie Moss were joined by John Hall from EDF and Heath Prince from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. We examined the interplay between energy poverty and specific factors like economic hardship, demographic traits, quality of life, energy behaviors, housing type, and household composition.

The webinar was based on findings from part one of our Low-Income Communities Profile (LICP) Series, the Texas Overview Report. The Texas Overview will be followed by regional reports specific to each of the 11 study regions that will be made available to TEPRI members. Please note that we recently updated the Texas Overview Report to show county-level data as opposed to tract-level data. The county-level data is a better reference point for census-tract resolution in the regional analysis. We encourage you to download the revised version here.

If you missed the webinar, a full recording along with the presentation slides are available here.

Welcoming New Board Member

We are delighted to welcome Edna Oceguera to the TEPRI Board of Directors.

Edna Oceguera, Deputy Director at the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB)

Edna currently holds the position of Deputy Director for the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) and has been with the organization for 20 years. She oversees CDCB’s administration, finance, and loan operations. Edna directly supervises CDCB’s senior staff, managing the day-to-day operations of the organization.  Additionally, she has served on the Brownsville Public Utilities Board. She has 18 years of banking experience with Mercantile Bank in various areas, including overseeing loan and credit operations for the bank.

Dana Harmon, TEPRI’s Executive Director, shares:

“We are thrilled to have Edna join the TEPRI Board. She brings to our Board of Directors expertise in housing development, her service on the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, and her ability to expand the impact of our work in South Texas. We are grateful to have her unique perspective in these conversations.”

TEPRI Featured in ETS On the Grid Podcast

TEPRI was recently featured on Zpryme’s ETS On The Grid podcast. Zpryme’s ETS On The Grid is a podcast about energy and the utility industry that discusses issues affecting utilities, customers, solution providers, and others. For the podcast’s two-year anniversary broadcast, TEPRI Executive Director Dana Harmon was interviewed to share about energy equity — the ability for everyone to have access to reliable and affordable energy.

In the episode, entitled “Achieving Energy Equity,” Dana discusses some of the key stakeholders and strategies involved in addressing equity and trying to lower the energy burden for vulnerable communities. She shares some of the work TEPRI is doing to advance that objective:

“There are some systemic challenges that we are working with our partners to try to figure out how to overcome . . . the research shows that ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work when it comes to low-income energy program design, and so we need to do the hard work of really understanding the needs of the communities we serve.”

To hear more from this discussion on energy equity, check out the podcast here.


September 6: TEPRI DER Project Info Session

On September 6, TEPRI will be hosting a webinar to introduce a new project entitled “Pathways for DERs to Reduce Energy Burdens: Houston.” Distributed energy resources (DERs) such as energy efficiency and rooftop solar can provide community benefits in both the reduction of energy costs burdens and the reduction of carbon emissions.  However low-income people, communities of color, and other underserved populations often have limited access to the benefits of these technologies.

The “Pathways for DERs to Reduce Energy Burdens: Houston” project aims to identify the optimal pathways for DERs to reduce energy burdens on low-income households in Harris County. Join us on September 6 at 10am Central for our 45-minute webinar to discuss the scope and specifics of the project.

Register to join us here. 

September 16-18: e-Lab Forge: Texas 2019

TEPRI will participate in Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Forge: Texas 2019. The convening will be in Lakeway, Texas from September 16-18 of this year. The event will be a two-and-half-day workshop for multi-stakeholder teams working on high-impact, scalable ideas and projects that accelerate distributed clean energy in Texas. TEPRI will participate on two teams involved in expanding economic access to solar for low-income customers in Texas.

Learn more about the event here.


September 26: City Efficiency Leadership Council Webinar

Later in September, City Efficiency Leadership Council (CELC) will feature TEPRI in a webinar entitled “Energy + Equity.” It will cover the ins and outs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator (CELICA) Toolkit and Low-income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool. TEPRI’s LICP Texas Overview Report will be featured in the webinar as these tools were vital resources in our analysis.

Learn more and register to join us here.


October 9-10: Power Matters Conference 2019

Association of Women in Energy (AWE) will be hosting their Power Matters Conference in Austin from October 9-10. They will be discussing the competitive energy market, featuring panels and discussions on cybersecurity, finance, regulations, and grid modernization.

Learn more and register here.


Our “What We’re Reading” section is moving! With the addition of our Energy Poverty Clearinghouse tool, we will be sending regular email updates with curated lists of relevant resources in the energy poverty space as they are added to the Clearinghouse. You can find the most recent issue of our featured resources email here.

Stay up to date with what our team is reading through those emails. If you would like to opt-in to receiving updates for specific topic areas of the Clearinghouse, you can make a free account at and select the topic areas that are most useful to you.

Why Join TEPRI?

TEPRI conducts research focused on energy and fuel poverty and facilitates deeper understanding of the causes, impact, and solutions thereof. We seek collaborative relationships with energy and poverty stakeholders and other reputable organizations through membership to partner with TEPRI and advance our work to alleviate energy burdens. Learn about our new Membership Opportunities.