Alan Fox Consulting
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Section 8 Utility Allowances

Utility Allowances

Accurate. Detailed. Documented.

Many utility allowances are out-of-date, inaccurate, or poorly documented.

Utility allowances are an important part of running the Section 8 Housing Certificate Voucher (HCV) program. They represent the allowances paid to Voucher tenants who must pay for their own utilities, or to owners if they furnish utilities to their tenants. Because they are not tied to specific dwellings (in contrast to the Public Housing program) they are based on average consumption for similar units in the same climatic area.       

Many PHAs don’t have detailed average consumption data for individual units, so HUD provides statistical formulas for estimating average consumption. I use a variant of the most recent one for my clients (an older method which I used in the past is still acceptable to HUD.)

Utility allowances must be checked once a year and updated if any utility changes by 10 percent or more. My method does this easily and precisely, and doesn't need a specialist to do it. Transcription errors are impossible with my method because the results of calculations are automatically transferred to the HUD-52667 form.      

By replicating the actual formula used by local utility companies, my method easily and precisely updates utility allowances. This is in contrast to methods that rely on utility company “increases” reported in the local press, which frequently apply only to one part of the calculation—the cost of fuel—without regard for the fact that delivery and fixed charges usually stay constant and that the overall effect of a given change in the cost of fuel may be different by size of dwelling.

Click here for a line-by-line look at my process.



Why AFC?

Not a black box: unlike the work of others, I provide the complete utility allowance Excel model, including all assumptions and formulas, and details of my computations and divergences from HUSM.

All Forms 52667: My model produces all structure types in separate sheets, printer-ready. Others, including HUD’s HUSM model, require you to specify structure type, print the resulting form, then repeat the process for each additional structure type. With my system, you get all HUD-52667’s at once.

Easy rate updating: my system replicates the price structures of each utility company. There is no need to shoehorn their rates into a pre-set structure, unlike HUSM.

Rate sources:  I tell you exactly how to find utility company rates—web sites, names and phone numbers, etc.

Many water and sewer allowances: water and sewer rates can vary widely throughout a PHA’s jurisdiction, so water and sewer allowances can be displayed for many areas rather than just one.

Cheaper in long run: After the first year, updates cost much less because there is less work. For example, a first-year fee might be $2,000-2,500 while annual updates might be around $600. Other contractors charge the same amount each year, and don’t give the client the model.

Easy updating: to repeat, my system is designed to be updated by unskilled PHA personnel. In most cases, there is no need for me to do it.

Contact AFC ▸