The Environmental Defense Fund is championing on-bill repayment of energy efficiency upgrades. While it doesn’t seem like there’s a direct connection between the EDF and on-bill payments, Kate Zerrenner, an energy efficiency specialist with the EDF says, “It is something we have taken ownership of. We’re working on on-bill repayment in several states – Texas, Calif., Ohio, NC. It is a tool to enable more efficiency and demand-side resources to be accessed by people and will create a market for energy efficiency/renewables/demand-side resources that is attractive for investors.”
On-bill repayment offers an opportunity for building owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades or renewable electricity generation projects through loans from third-party investors, according to a blog posting by Zerrenner. The investors work with the customer’s utility to include the loan payments on the customer’s utility bill.
Several utilities nationwide use on-bill finance programs to help customers pay for energy efficiency upgrades. But the twist here is that the money comes from third parties, such as banks, to create a new market. According to EDF, the benefits of third-party on-bill repayment include:
- Flexibility for the building owner to design customized solutions;
- Job growth from more energy efficiency projects;
- Potential billions in new private sector investments;
- Savings to ratepayers and states from the avoidance of costly new power plants; and
- Flexibility for contractors and vendors.
The EDF wants Texas to follow in California’s lead where a new on-bill repayment feature will allow commercial property owners to pay for energy upgrades through regular installments on their utility bill.