Financing Energy Improvements on Utility Bills—New Report from EETD Researchers

June 2014

The Electrcity Markets and Polic Group has released a new, comprehensive report on on-bill efficiency financing programs—which offer loans for energy improvements that can be paid back on the borrower's utility bill. The report, produced through the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action (SEE Action) Network, surveys the landscape of on-bill financing programs and carefully examines program design elements and key performance metrics (e.g., loan volume, default rates, etc.).

View the report and a summary presentation at the links below, and register now for a webinar next Wednesday, June 11, from 2pm to 3:30pm EDT, hosted by lead report author Mark Zimring, an expert in efficiency financing. The webinar will feature case studies in on-bill program design and implementation, with presentations by:

  • Becky Radtke, Manitoba Hydro
  • Yuri Yakubov, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
  • Jeff Pitkin, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

The speakers will discuss the design of their on-bill programs and the lessons they have learned from operating them. This webinar is a partnership among the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) Financing Solutions Working Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Electricity Markets and Policy Group, and the US Department of Energy's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIPO), which funded the work.

States and utilities are increasingly turning to on-bill financing to stretch their limited efficiency program dollars and overcome barriers to the uptake of energy improvements in both residential and non-residential properties. Financing Energy Improvements on Utility Bills gives an updated overview of the landscape of on-bill programs—and provides actionable insights for policymakers and administrators on key program design considerations.

The report describes the historical evolution of on-bill programs and draws on data collected from 30 on-bill programs (including 13 in-depth case studies) to review and analyze key trends in on-bill programs, including their geographic reach, loan volumes, loan performance, and four important program design features:

  • How is the loan product structured? Power disconnection and meter attachment
  • Where does loan funding come from? Selecting sources of capital
  • Who is eligible? Assessing customer creditworthiness, underwriting criteria
  • What can participants finance? Eligible energy, and non-energy, improvements

The report finds that on-bill programs have delivered more than $1.8 billion in loans, experiencing low default rates (ranging between 0% and 3%).

You can find the report by clicking the link above or visiting the SEE Action Financing Solutions Working Group's website.