EESI’s On-Bill Financing Project
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute’s (EESI) On-Bill Financing Project is an ongoing initiative aimed to help families reduce energy use, cut energy bills, and improve home comfort -- all with no upfront costs. EESI accomplishes this by working with utilities to establish “on-bill financing” programs: the utility or partner organization pays for home energy upgrades, only to be repaid through a monthly charge on the recipient family’s utility bill.
EESI’s innovative on-bill financing model is based on its work with South Carolina co-ops to develop the successful “Help My House” pilot project. EESI has recently expanded its on-bill financing initiative into a national effort to significantly improve the energy efficiency of homes served by rural electric cooperatives (co-ops) and public power utilities (munis). EESI has assembled a team that will assist these utilities to investigate, design, implement, and evaluate residential on-bill financing programs. EESI will also assist rural utilities with applications to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program as a way to capitalize projects.
EESI’s on-bill financing work is grant-funded; its program-related assistance to co-ops, public utilities and related stakeholders is available at no cost.
On-bill financing is an exciting opportunity to expand residential energy efficiency efforts into underserved markets. Because the approach involves no money down (and can be designed to be cash-flow positive), it can work for low-income families that are unable to take advantage of rebates or other efficiency incentives. Some on-bill financing programs allow for loans to change hands when the property is sold or new renters move in, helping to break down split-incentive barriers.
Residential on-bill financing programs are offered by more than 60 co-ops and public utilities across the country, though not all are focused on energy efficiency. Programs in Ohio and Arkansas have been running for more than three decades. More recently, newer programs in Kansas, South Carolina and other states have successfully introduced innovations in the design (on-bill tariff) and capital source (private market and USDA loans) of on-bill financing programs. These exciting changes are reactivating the on-bill financing market.
Note: To better address the different needs for both rural electric cooperatives and public power utilities to develop on-bill financing programs, EESI has developed separate areas for both types of utilities. Please click on the utility type of your choice to learn much more:
Additional On-Bill Financing resources on EESI's website:
- EESI and NCBA CLUSA Announce Partnership for Advancing an Inclusive Rural Energy Economy
- How EESI Is Advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
- Leveraging Federal and State Energy Efficiency Investments through On-bill Financing
- USDA Loan Awards Will Reduce Energy Costs for Rural America
- On-Bill Financing: an Innovative Approach for Energy Efficiency Finance
- EESI’s How-to Guide: Launching an On-Bill Financing Program
- Colorado Rural Utility Sets Up Energy Efficiency Program with Help from EESI
- EESI Board Member Monty Cooper Mixes Law with Passion for Communities
- Community Solar Case Studies
- As Part of Growing Trend, North Carolina Electric Co-op Launches On-Bill Efficiency Program