As mentioned in prior sections, there is a calculation which housing specialist use to determine the total amount of rent a family must pay and the total subsidy that will be paid to the landlord. One of the variables within this calculation is the utility allowance.
Utility allowances will differ from unit to unit as it is associated with the utilities (electricity, gas, propane, water, sewer, trash collection) and appliances (range and/or refrigerator) for which a family would be responsible for paying and/or providing.
The amounts selected for the utility allowance are standardized amounts that are based on unit size and unit type for a conservative energy household. It is not based on actual expenses or consumption.
Utility Allowances are considered when comparing the payment standard and the gross rent of unit. Utility Allowances do impact the determination of subsidy. And in some cases, when the Housing Assistance Payment exceeds the contract rent, the agency may pay the balance to family or directly to the utility supplier on behalf of the family. These types of payments are considered a utility reimbursement.
It is important to note that the agency conducts Utility Allowance Studies annually. The data collected in these studies is used to establish updated utility allowance amounts each year.