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By Jocelyn Durkay

With state and consumer budgets bouncing back from the lows of the economic recession, efficiency policies that reduce consumer and business energy bills can play a strong role in helping to maintain economic momentum.

money and light bulbNCSL will host a free webinar for state policymakers and staff on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 3 pm (ET) to highlight an energy efficiency policy called on-bill financing, which helps home and building owners overcome the upfront costs that often put energy efficiency improvements out of reach. The webinar will explore on-bill financing programs and highlight case studies and the role state legislatures are playing to expand these policies.

On-bill financing reduces cost barriers by allowing consumers to finance the cost of efficiency upgrades—such as efficient furnaces, air conditioners, lighting, windows and insulation—and pay finance costs on their energy bill. Middle and low-income customers, renters, residents of multifamily properties and small businesses can all benefit.

States have taken a range of approaches to on-bill financing programs. Twelve states have enacted legislation to either:

  • Create revolving loan funds or address legal barriers to programs, such as in Hawaii and South Carolina;
  • Direct the public utility commission to study or develop pilot programs, such as in Maine and Michigan; or
  • Require utilities to offer on-bill financing, such as in California, Illinois and New York.

Webinar speakers will be Casey Bell, a senior economic researcher and finance policy lead with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; Lindsey Smith, director of public and member relations with the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina; and Michael Smith, director of energy program with the Central Electric Power Cooperative in South Carolina. Casey Bell will be providing an overview of on-bill financing programs and state approaches to implementing this tool. Lindsey Smith and Michael Smith will be co-presenting on the South Carolina “Help My House” on-bill financing pilot program, which reduced energy use by 34 percent for program participants, creating an average annual savings of $288 per home after loan payments.

Register for the webinar here. Look for future NCSL publications on on-bill financing, including a March LegisBrief and a forthcoming Web page.

Jocelyn Durkay is a research analyst with NCSL’s Environment, Energy and Transportation program.

 

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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