Utility Policy

The Community Action network addresses all facets of poverty, including helping households that can’t afford their utility bills. At CAPO, we support this mission through training and technical assistance as well as advocacy. 

Help is Available 

Community Action Agencies administer multiple programs that help households meet their energy needs, including the federally funded Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the state-funded Oregon Energy Assistance Program (OEAP). Community Action Agencies also contract with many local utilities (investor- and consumer-owned) to offer additional help with energy bills. Community Action Agencies also implement the federal Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWA) as well as various local programs that can help with water bills. 

Community Action Agencies administer multiple programs that help low-income households to weatherize their houses at no cost, including programs funded by federal agencies (Weatherization Assistance Program or WAP), the state of Oregon (Energy Conservation Helping Oregonians or ECHO) as well as consumer-owned and investor-owned utilities. 

Commonly performed weatherization measures include adding insulation and replacing inefficient heating systems and appliances. By leveraging multiple funding sources, these programs don’t only lower utility bills, but also preserve aging houses and make them safer and healthier. 

Access any of these programs by contacting the Community Action Agency in your county. You can also find information on these and other assistance programs by calling 211 or visiting 211info.

Training and Technical Assistance

Benedikt Springer                    Utility Policy Analyst

CAPO supports the network’s mission of alleviating the high utility burden of low-income Oregonians by offering training and technical assistance. CAPO’s utility policy analyst assists agencies with technical advice, professional resources, and program analysis. CAPO facilitates the exchange of best practices through training conferences that bring together agency program managers, state administrators, utilities, and other stakeholders. These conferences, called Oregon Energy Coordinators and Affiliates (OECA), happen around two to three times a year. Find more information here


CAPO aims to alleviate the high utility burden of low-income Oregonians through involvement in national, state, and local utility policy. A major portion of CAPO’s efforts are directed toward utility-related policy activities of the Oregon State Legislature and Public Utility Commission as well as various state agencies. We also coordinate and collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders in the energy justice movement. 

  • We educate policymakers and utilities on the needs of low-income Oregonians and offer recommendations on assistance and energy efficiency program design.
  • We use public comment processes at state agencies and other avenues to advocate for improvements in utility-related assistance programs.
  • We monitor proceedings at the Public Utility Commission for any decisions that might impact low-income Oregonians and advocate on their behalf.
  • We collaborate with other stakeholders to pursue legislative changes that ensure everyone can afford and remains connected to essential utility services.
  • We engage with other stakeholders in various forums and attend conferences to learn about new developments in utility policy. We meet with many community-based organizations to learn about the varying needs of different communities in Oregon.