March 26, 2024 — Issue Brief

Consumer, community, environmental justice, and energy efficiency advocates have an important opportunity to help ensure equitable investment in energy efficiency and building electrification equipment for low- and moderate- income households. The energy offices in the states and territories will start, or have started, designing two federal home energy rebate programs: The Home Energy Performance-Based, Whole House Rebates (known as “Home Efficiency Rebates,” “HER,” and sometimes referred to as “HOMES”) and the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebates Program (known as “Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates” or “HEAR”). Together the rebate programs are known as the Home Energy Rebate Programs.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides almost $9 billion to the states and territories for the Home Energy Rebate Programs, and states and territories must submit their program plans to the Department of Energy (DOE) by January 31, 2025. DOE will be approving these plans on a rolling basis. DOE has provided guidance to states on what must be included in the state plans, and DOE is issuing FAQs to help clarify their guidance and provide additional information on rebate program questions.

This IRA Home Energy Rebates Resource for Advocates outlines issue areas that advocates for low-income consumers and tenants should prioritize when providing stakeholder input into the state rebate plans. We provide citations to the IRA law creating the rebate programs where applicable, as well as to the DOE guidance. Some parts of this resource cover aspects of the state plan that are mandatory, but will need attention to detail in the implementation. Other portions of this resource focus on areas where the state has the flexibility to go beyond the IRA guidance and direct more funds to low-income consumers or be more protective of consumers.

This brief discusses: