Lesson from the Telephone Lifeline Program Add to Concerns About Using Utilities to Deliver Low-Income Climate Rebates
Publication Date: July 2008
Author(s): Matt Fiedler
Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Keywords: Utilities costs; Income diversity; Household income
Protecting the budgets of low-income consumers is a critical issue in the design of climate-change legislation. The climate change bill recently debated in the Senate proposed delivering assistance to low-income consumers primarily through local utility companies. However, evidence from the only existing federal program that delivers low-income assistance through utility companies — the Lifeline program for telephone service — strongly suggests that an untried utility-based mechanism would miss large numbers of consumers who could be reached using proven alternatives.