Newsletter – Embracing Cooler Weather

Dear Friends of TEPRI,

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the cooler fall weather in Texas.

“Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.” This excerpt from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals reminds me of the importance of our work together and how our mission to inspire lasting energy solutions for low-income communities must include each of these elements.  We are honored to work with partners who value this goal like BBVA, featured in this month’s spotlight below, to further our mission.

We’ve been honored to speak at several industry, philanthropic, and community events this fall, and we cherish these opportunities to raise awareness and develop partnerships to address critical energy related challenges in vulnerable communities.  In addition, energy poverty has been receiving increasing media attention recently, from stories highlighting public health implications to equitable access to energy technologies and affordable products.  I believe this is why we must ensure that our leaders have access to independent and objective data collection on the conditions faced by those facing energy insecurity.

Thank you all for your continued support to make this possible.


Dana Harmon
Executive Director


Spotlight On: BBVA

As we move forward with our work to find opportunities to lower the energy affordability gap in Houston through access to distributed energy resources (DERs) like energy efficiency, rooftop solar and other emerging energy technologies, we would like to highlight a generous sponsor of the initiative, BBVA.

BBVA recently announced a 6-year commitment that pledges to put more than $15 billion in lending, investments and services toward supporting low- and moderate-income individuals and neighborhoods across the U.S. This commitment is an extension of their $11 billion community development program from 2014.

BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodriguez Soler shared his thoughts on the extension:

“The programs we have supported over the past five years have helped us to establish meaningful connections with the people we serve…The programs have also helped fulfill the bank’s mission to bring the age of opportunity to everyone, and we expect to deepen them over the next six years.”

Included in this mission has been the bank’s support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The UN’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable and modern energy for all, which is an objective that BBVA is actively supporting. BBVA addresses the goal as a matter of policy, by contributing to energy efficiency improvements and promoting renewable energy with financing sustainable projects.

TEPRI’s “Pathways for DERs to Reduce Energy Burdens: Houston” project is an example of one of the sustainable projects that BBVA has supported. Because of their sponsorship, we have been able to host stakeholders representing a variety of energy and poverty organizations for discussion-driven workshops.  Dana Harmon, TEPRI’s Executive Director, shares the following thoughts about BBVA’s support of the project:

“BBVA is truly demonstrating thought leadership in the recognition that affordable housing and energy are so closely tied, and their support will help us make meaningful progress on this effort in Houston. We appreciate their contribution to this important work.”

We are grateful to BBVA for supporting our work and moving our mutual aims forward.

Houston DER Pathways Project

Since our introductory webinar on September 6, we have made major headway on our “Pathways for DERs to Reduce Energy Burdens: Houston” project. The second meeting took place last month in Houston, with turnout from stakeholders representing a variety of entities in the energy and nonprofit space. We further discussed the opportunities for using rooftop solar and energy efficiency in multifamily buildings to address the Energy Affordability Gap in Houston.

Our 3rd meeting is scheduled for early December, and the final meeting is set for January 24th. We’d like to thank BBVA for sponsoring our 4thand final meeting! We are seeking sponsorship for our December meeting, so please let us know if your organization may be interested in supporting this important stakeholder convening.  Sponsorship benefits include title sponsorship and logo inclusion, one featured update in a TEPRI newsletter, the opportunity to introduce a featured speaker at the gathering, and distribution of any provided promotional materials in person at the gathering.

Contact us to learn more about how to support TEPRI.

TEPRI Attends EPRI’s Electrification Experience

TEPRI was featured in EPRI’s Electrification Experience in San Antonio from October 2-3. Our Executive Director, Dana Harmon, had the opportunity to speak in a breakout session to discuss the residential customer by addressing the parallels among big companies and the utility when it comes to providing an excellent customer experience.

Thank you to EPRI for including us in this important dialogue!

TEPRI Featured in LIEIF Webinar

Earlier this month, we shared our “Building a Better Understanding of Texas Low-Income Communities and Energy” webinar with the Low-Income Energy Issues Forum (LIEIF).

LIEIF proposes innovative and integrated policies and approaches that help close the gap between what vulnerable energy consumers can pay and their current energy bills. We were joined by Heath Prince from the LBJ School of Public affairs at UT Austin to share our findings.

TEPRI Participates in NEUAC Webinar

On November 19th, TEPRI will participate in NEUAC’s webinar to present two of our recently available resources. First, we will present a discussion of our Texas Low-Income Community Profile (LICP) Series that reveals insights at the intersection of poverty and energy affordability to advance lasting energy solutions for low-income communities. Second, TEPRI will share our recently launched Energy Poverty Clearinghouse.

Register for the webinar here.

The Rocky Mountain e-Lab Summit

The Rocky Mountain Institute hosted an invitation-only meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico that brought together thought leaders from e-Lab’s partners, advisors, and collaborators for three days to discuss ideas and best practices to transform the electricity system.

TEPRI Research Analyst, Jacquie Moss, was invited to work with a team on designing for tomorrow’s connected communities on October 29-30. This includes various topics regarding how environmental, cultural, technological and lifestyle trends of today are shaping the cities of tomorrow – potentially in ways that we don’t yet understand and haven’t yet anticipated in the energy sector.

Learn more about the event here.


November 12-14: Texas Energy Summit

The 2019 Texas Energy Summit, held at the Texas State Capital in Austin, will delve into the various aspects of energy policy and technologies.It brings together leading experts in energy and emissions reductions to explore the connections between air quality, transportation, and energy.

The program features one day of pre-conference workshops and two days of conference sessions across specific conference tracks considering the policy, technology or implementation aspects of air quality, energy efficiency, renewable energy and more.

Learn more about the event here.

November 15: CenterPoint Energy Multifamily HVAC Retrofit Program Webinar

On November 15th from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM, Frontier Energy will be hosting a webinar to detail their Multifamily HVAC Retrofit Program.

Frontier Energy works with CenterPoint Energy to identify and support energy efficiency retrofits on properties serving low income residents within CenterPoint Energy’s electric service area in and surrounding Houston. Within the multi-family sector, CenterPoint Energy identifies candidate properties by conducting outreach to solicit project proposals, and consider the cost-effectiveness of proposed projects when considering awards.

This program targets replacement of aging HVAC systems (with electric resistance heat) with high efficiency heat pumps in multifamily properties serving low income residents served by CenterPoint Energy.

Register for the webinar here.


TEPRI Contemplating the Falling Cost of Electricity with Jevon’s Paradox

In our latest blog, TEPRI Research Analyst Emery Wolf shares his takeaways on the relationship between increasing household energy consumption, the cost of electricity, and Jevon’s Paradox.

Check it out here


Our Team is Growing!

We are excited to announce that Gabriella Hernandez has joined our team as TEPRI’s new Marketing & Communications Intern.

Gabriella is a senior studying in the Moody College of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin. Gabriella will be assisting TEPRI with ongoing communications efforts, including email newsletter development, social media management, website updates, branding, and more. We are grateful to have her on board!

Energy Poverty Clearinghouse

With the addition of our Energy Poverty Clearinghouse tool, we will be sending regular email updates with curated lists of the most relevant resources in the energy poverty space as they are added to the Clearinghouse. 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?

Become a member to partner with TEPRI as we advance our work to alleviate energy burdens for low-income communities. TEPRI conducts research surrounding energy poverty and facilitates a deeper understanding of the causes, effects, and solutions thereof. We seek collaborative relationships with other energy and poverty stakeholders through membership.

Learn about our Membership Opportunities.