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The Oregon Administrative Rules contain OARs filed through August 15, 2016
 
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HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT

 

DIVISION 202

OREGON ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

813-202-0000

Purpose and Objectives

OAR chapter 813, division 202, is promulgated to accomplish the general purpose of ORS 458.505 to 458.545, specifically ORS 458.505 to 458.515, which designates the Housing and Community Services Department as the state agency responsible for administering state and federal antipoverty programs in Oregon. The Oregon Energy Assistance program is one such program subject to department administration and has as its purpose the funding of local energy assistance programs to assist low-income households with electric bill payment assistance.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 757.612
Hist.: OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0005

Definitions

All terms used in OAR chapter 813, division 202, are defined in the Act, in 813-005-0005, and in this 813-202-0005 and below. As used in OAR 813, division 202, unless the context indicates otherwise:

(1) “Administrative costs” means all program costs that are not directly related to the delivery of program services.

(2) “Assistant director” means the department’s assistant director for the housing stabilization programs.

(3) “Community action agency” or "CAA" means a private nonprofit corporation organized under ORS chapter 65, or an office, division or agency of a political subdivision designated as a community action agency pursuant to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which meets the requirements outlined in ORS 458.505(4).

(4) “Conditional” means subject to relevant conditions subsequent to, including but not limited to continued department authority and funding capacity as well as subgrantee agency, to the satisfaction of the department, satisfying the terms of the funding application, maintaining legal standing as a CAA, timely satisfying relevant program requirements, and executing and recording (if required) relevant documents.

(5) “Department” means the Housing and Community Services Department for the state of Oregon.

(6) “Director” means the department director as appointed by the governor.

(7) “Eligible services” or “program services” means the services described in OAR 813-202-0030 or allowed thereunder.

(8) "Energy assistance" means the services provided under the program and may include energy bill payment assistance and client education.

(9) "Energy assistance payment" means a payment made under this program to or on behalf of an eligible household.

(10) "Energy supplier" means a company that provides electricity continuously via wires as the source of energy supplying heat to a household.

(11) “Funding agreement” means that master grant agreement or other written agreement, together with all incorporated documents and references, to be executed by and between the department and subgrantee agency in form and substance satisfactory to the department as a condition precedent for receipt of program funding from the department.

(12) “Funding application” means the subgrantee agency’s application to the department for a program grant.

(13) “HHS” means the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

(14) "Household" means any individual living alone, a family with or without children or a group of individuals who are living together as one economic unit and who purchase residential electricity in common.

(15) "Household income" means the total annual household income before taxes from all sources. Income may be reduced by deductions allowed by the department. Income does not include assets or funds over which the members of the household have no control.

(16) “Low-income household” means a household with a gross annual income as specified in the manual.

(17) “OPUS” means the energy assistance database.

(18) "Originating Utility" means the utility from which the funds being expended under the program were collected.

(19) “Poverty guidelines” or “poverty line” means the simplified version of the federal (U.S. Census Bureau) poverty thresholds released annually by HHS to determine financial eligibility for the program.

(20) "Program" or “OEAP” means the Oregon Energy Assistance Program.

(21) “Program manual” or “manual” means the LIHEAP and OEAP Operations Manual as amended from time to time, incorporated herein by this reference. The manual may be accessed online on the department’s website.

(22) “Program requirements” means all funding agreement terms and conditions (including work plan objectives), department directives (including deficiency notices), and applicable state, local, and federal laws and regulations (including these rules, other applicable department rules, the LIHEAP state plan, and the manual), executive orders, local ordinances and codes.

(23) “Program services” means allowable services, assistance and activities as defined in the manual and eligible for funding under this program.

(24) "Service area" means the specific geographic area or region within which a subgrantee agency provides program services directly or by contract.

(25) “Subcontractor” or “subrecipient” means a nonprofit corporation established under ORS chapter 65, a housing authority established under ORS 456.055 to 456.235, or local government as defined in ORS 197.015, contracting with a subgrantee agency to provide program services.

(26) “Subgrantee agency” or “agency” means a private, nonprofit corporation organized under ORS chapter 65, a housing authority established under ORS 456.055 to 456.235, or a local government as defined in ORS 197.015 with whom the department has contracted to administer program activities and services at the local level.

(27) “Sufficiency” means that the quantity, thoroughness and quality of performance is satisfactory to the department, including but not limited to providing relevant information in a manner and to a degree for the department to assess appropriately subgrantee agency’s compliance with relevant program requirements such as the provision of services consistent with the terms of the funding agreement, state plan and other appropriate standards, goals and requirements established by the department.

(28) "Utility service territory" means the geographic area in Oregon within which a utility provides electricity service.

(29) “Work plan” or “plan” means the subgrantee agency's plan for the use of program funds as approved by the department, which is part of its funding application and is included in its funding agreement with the department.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505 & 757.612
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-14 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0010

Administration

(1) The department may contract with subgrantee agencies to provide program services at the local level. In a service area where a community action agency exists, the community action agency has a conditional right of first refusal to serve as the subgrantee agency for the service area.

(2) The department normally will allocate program funds to subgrantee agencies for the various service areas through a formula established by the department prior to the allocation process. However, the department reserves the right to modify such formula at any time in its sole discretion.

(3) A subgrantee agency may subcontract with other organizations that meet the requirements of ORS 458.505(4) to provide program services or activities in the subgrantee agency’s service area.

(4) A subgrantee agency shall identify potential applicants, take applications, verify household eligibility and contract with and monitor the local energy suppliers to determine that the clients are receiving proper benefits and services. Whenever appropriate, program participants will be assisted in accessing other services designed to meet longer-term needs.

(5) Subgrantee agency representatives will attend and participate in program training made available or conducted by the department.

(6) The department normally will fund only one subgrantee agency within any service area. However, the department may, in its sole discretion, allow two or more subgrantee agencies to operate within a common service area. In such cases, the subgrantee agencies shall enter into a written agreement with the department, satisfactory to the department in its sole discretion, in order, inter alia, to ensure full access to program services for all eligible households within the service area to the extent of available funding and to prevent duplication of services.

(7)(a) A subgrantee agency may expend up to an amount authorized by the department in writing for reimbursement of reasonable and appropriate administrative costs.

(b) If a subgrantee agency subcontracts with another organization to provide program services that organization may expend up to an amount for administrative costs that does not exceed the subgrantee agency’s proportionate share of the amount authorized by the department for reasonable and appropriate administrative costs of the funding award.

(c) The ultimate determination of reasonable and appropriate administrative costs is reserved to the department in its sole discretion.

(8) A subgrantee agency and its subcontractors shall comply with the terms of the funding agreement and all other program requirements, including but not limited to department directives (including deficiency notices), applicable local, state and federal laws, rules (including the (program manual) regulations, executive orders, local ordinances and codes.

(9) Subgrantee agencies shall make good faith attempts satisfactory to the department to recover any overpayment of program funds made to a household client or energy supplier, or otherwise.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505 & 757.612
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-14 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0020

Client Eligibility

(1) Program services will be available to households that are determined eligible by the subgrantee agency in compliance with program requirements including the program manual. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

(a) Meeting income guidelines for the program as described in the manual; and

(b) Having a demonstrated electric utility cost as defined in the manual.

(2) The period of time relevant to the determination of a household's eligibility is no more than the past 12 months and not less than the 30 days immediately preceding the date of application by the household for program services, unless the department gives prior approval to a modification of the required time period.

(3) An eligible household may normally only apply for assistance from the subgrantee agency in the service area in which the household resides.

(4) Households in similar circumstances shall receive similar benefits to the extent of program funding.

(5) Both renters and homeowners may be eligible under the program.

(6) An applicant living in an institution is not eligible for program services. Institutions include hospitals, license domiciliary care facilities, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing facilities or homes, alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers or treatment programs, dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and temporary protective facilities such as domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters.

(7) Residents of governmental subsidized housing may be eligible for:

(a) A regularly available energy assistance payment, depending on household size and household income, as defined in the program manual.

(b) A crisis payment under crisis assistance guidelines contained in the program manual.

(8) Households in similar circumstances shall receive similar benefits to the extent of available program funding.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505 & 757.612
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 3-2005(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 11-9-05 thru 5-8-06; Administrative correction 7-21-06; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-14 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0030

Use of Funds

(1) Program funds will be used for allowable program services and activities for eligible households in compliance with program requirements. Priority assistance shall be given to low-income consumers who are in danger of having their electricity service disconnected.

(2) Allowable program services include:

(a) Regular energy assistance that includes payments for the electricity costs of eligible households which the department makes to the energy suppliers on behalf of eligible households;

(b) Emergency energy assistance as defined in the manual to the extent of available funding; and

(c) Client education as defined in the manual.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505 & 757.612
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-014 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0050

Coordination with Energy Suppliers

(1) Subgrantee agencies must execute a contract with an energy supplier in order for the energy supplier to receive an energy assistance payment under the program.

(2) Subgrantee agencies must use a contract template provided or approved by the department in fulfillment of its obligation under subsection.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 456.555
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-14 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0052

Funding Application

(1) Prior to providing any program services, a subgrantee agency shall submit on a biennial basis, a funding application satisfactory to the department, including a work plan, which must be approved by the department before being operative. The subgrantee agency shall adhere to the department's requirements and deadlines for obtaining approval of this funding application. A funding application is subject to approval, including as modified by the department, or disapproval by the department.

(2) A subgrantee agency's funding application shall include details satisfactory to the department on how the subgrantee agency provided a meaningful opportunity for participation in the development of the work plan by local service providers, advocates, clients, businesses, churches, citizens, governments and other interested stakeholders.

(3) A subgrantee agency’s funding application must meet all requirements established by the department for the form and content of the funding application. In cases where a community action agency has the conditional right of first refusal for antipoverty program administration, and the community action agency cannot meet the requirements for the form and content of the funding application, the department, in its sole discretion, may allow other eligible organizations to submit a funding application with respect to that service area.

(4) Funding applications will be evaluated by the department for sufficiency with respect to application and other program requirements.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 458.620, 458.650
Hist.: OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0054

Reporting and Recordkeeping

(1) Subgrantee agencies shall maintain accurate financial records satisfactory to the department, which document, inter alia, the receipt and disbursement of all funds provided through the program by the department; and have an accounting system in place satisfactory to the department, which meets, inter alia, generally accepted accounting principles.

(2) Subgrantee agencies also shall maintain other program records satisfactory to the department, which document, inter alia, client eligibility, receipt of allowable program services, termination of services and the basis for same, housing status of clients, administrative actions, contracts with subcontractors, review of subcontractor performance, action taken with respect to deficiency notices, and any administrative review proceedings. Such records shall be in substance and format satisfactory to the department.

(3) Subgrantee agencies shall provide the department with reports, data, and financial statements, in form and substance satisfactory to the department, as may be identified and required in the manual and requested by the department.

(4)(a) Subgrantee agencies and their subcontractors shall furnish representatives of the department, the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, the federal government, and their duly authorized representatives’ access to and permit copying of all books, accounts, documents, records and allow reasonable access to the project and other property pertaining to the program, at any such representative’s request.

(b) Subgrantee agencies and their subcontractors shall cooperate fully in any inspections or other monitoring actions taken by the department, the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, the federal government, and their duly authorized representatives.

(c) Subgrantee agencies and their subcontractors shall retain and keep accessible all program records for a minimum of five (5) years, or such longer period as may be required by applicable law and state records retention requirements, following final payment and termination of program involvement, or until the conclusion of any audit, controversy or litigation arising out of or related to the program, whichever date is later.

(5) Subgrantee agencies shall ensure that data is reported, collected and organized accurately, timely, and otherwise in a manner satisfactory to the department through the use of OPUS.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 458.620, 458.650
Hist.: OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0056

Compliance Monitoring; Remedies

(1) The department will conduct reviews, audits, and other compliance monitoring as it deems appropriate with respect to each subgrantee agency and its subcontractors, inter alia, to verify compliance with program requirements. Subgrantee agencies and their subcontractors will cooperate fully with the department in its compliance monitoring.

(2) Subgrantee agencies shall require by contract and monitor their subcontractors’ compliance with all program requirements including but not limited to, recordkeeping and retention of records and department compliance monitoring and enforcement.

(3)(a) The department may take such remedial action as it deems appropriate including, but not limited to terminating its funding agreement with a subgrantee agency and requiring repayment of partial or all program funding, if it determines (in its sole discretion) that the performance of the subgrantee agency or any of its subcontractors is deficient in any manner, including with respect to program requirements.

(b) The department will notify a subgrantee agency of deficiencies identified through the monitoring process and provide documentation for the basis of such determination and the specific deficiency or deficiencies that must be corrected.

(c) The department will require the subgrantee to correct any deficiencies in a manner and timeframe satisfactory to the department and may offer training and technical assistance to the subgrantee.

(d) The department, at its discretion, may offer the subgrantee assistance in the development of a corrective action plan. If a corrective action plan is allowed, the department will review and issue a decision on whether to approve or disapprove.

(4) The department will provide adequate notice and opportunity for an appeal prior to a remedial action that terminates organizational eligibility for program funding for cause or otherwise reduces a subgrantee agency’s proportional share of funding.

(5) Appeals will be addressed to the assistant director whose decision may be further appealed to the department director.

(6) Issuance of a deficiency notice shall not constitute a waiver of other remedies available to the department or preclude the department from exercising such other remedies available to it under the funding agreement or other program requirements, at law or otherwise.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 458.620, 458.650
Hist.: OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0058

Challenge of Subgrantee Action

(1) Local interest groups, service providers or others aggrieved by a subgrantee agency with respect to its program obligations may submit a written request to the department for its review of such contested action, but only after first exhausting the applicable administrative review process furnished by the relevant subgrantee agency and within thirty (30) days of that administrative review determination or refusal by the subgrantee agency to provide such administrative review determination.

(2) The department may accept or deny a request for its review in whole or in part, at its sole discretion. Any department review will be in the manner determined appropriate by the department and may include, but will not necessarily be limited to review of provided information.

(3) If the department accepts the review request, the requester of the review, the subgrantee agency, and relevant subcontractors will produce all information required by the department, including requested affidavits or testimony.

(4) The department may make a determination on a review request and require such remedial action as the department determines, in its sole discretion, to be appropriate.

(5) Department review will not take the form of a contested case review under ORS chapter 183 unless specifically so stated by the director in writing.

(6) Timely request for department review by an aggrieved person or entity and its completion to final order by the department are requirements for exhaustion of administrative remedies by such aggrieved person or entity.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 458.620, 458.650
Hist.: OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

813-202-0060

Review By Subgrantee

(1) Subgrantee agencies will establish in writing a process satisfactory to the department that in a timely manner, enables beneficiaries of and applicants for program services to contest a determination by the subgrantee agency or its subcontractors that:

(a) Denies or limits the eligibility of a beneficiary or applicant for benefits or other assistance; or

(b) Terminates or modifies benefits or other assistance awarded by the subgrantee agency or subcontractor to a beneficiary.

(2) Persons aggrieved by the action of a subgrantee agency or its subcontractors described in subsection (1) may request administrative review of such action by the subgrantee agency within the time frame and pursuant to the process established by the subgrantee agency consistent with program requirements. At all times, the subgrantee agency will allow a minimum of thirty (30) days within which an aggrieved person may request review from the time of the contested action or the aggrieved person’s reasonable discovery of such action, whichever is longer.

(3) The subgrantee agency will inform the department in writing of any request by an aggrieved party for administrative review within ten (10) days of such request.

(4) The subgrantee agency will inform the department and the aggrieved party in writing of any final administrative review determination made by the subgrantee agency, and the basis for same, within ten (10) days of such final determination.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 456.555
Stats. Implemented: ORS 458.505, 458.620, 458.650
Hist.: OHCS 6-2003, f. & cert. ef. 5-15-03; OHCS 9-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 1-27-14 thru 7-25-14; Temporary Suspended by OHCS 18-2014(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-10-14 thru 7-25-14; Administrative correction, 5-2-14; OHCS 13-2015, f. & cert. ef. 8-25-15

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