The South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a webinar about “on-bill financing,” including its applications for utilities in Texas and Oklahoma. This webinar will feature an in-depth look at the South Carolina electric cooperatives’ “Help My House” on-bill program, which has been in operation since 2011.
On-bill financing (or on-bill repayment) programs are an exciting opportunity to expand utility-led energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. On-bill financing allows utilities to finance (or facilitate third-party financing for) customer-facing clean energy projects that the participating customers repay over time as part of their utility bills. The financing can be structured as either a loan or a voluntary tariff. The most common application is to finance residential energy efficiency upgrades, which can be designed to produce savings that offset or even surpass the monthly loan payment. On-bill programs can also be used to finance non-residential energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy installations (e.g., solar and wind), “payment plan” community solar subscriptions, and water improvements.
Successful pilot models and programs have shown that utilities of all sizes can use on-bill programs to expand the uptake of energy efficiency programs and significantly reduce peak demand, while also improving customer satisfaction and comfort. Some on-bill programs elect to use bill payment history (instead of credit scores) to determine customer eligibility, which has expanded access to low-income households without raising default rates.