The Partnership for Advancing an Inclusive Rural Energy Economy (PAIREE) is a collaboration of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA). It seeks to put more money in the pockets of people in rural communities by supporting rural electric cooperatives (co-ops) in developing on-bill financing programs for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects. Over the past decade, co-ops have led the charge in developing innovative on-bill programs that deliver deep energy savings through an accessible process. The goal of the Partnership is to continue this trend in order to reduce energy costs, increase disposable income, and catalyze clean energy economic development in rural America, while improving the public health of the people who live there.


Unlocking Savings with On-Bill Financing

The Partnership is a major supporter of “on-bill financing” and “on-bill repayment” programs, in which the utility (or a partnering lender) pays the upfront costs of the energy upgrades. The customer then repays the cost of the upgrades over time through a line item on their monthly utility bill, either as a loan payment or a voluntary tariff. The utility will typically also work with participating customers and approved contractors to design the energy improvement plan that makes the most sense for each project. Projects can be designed so that the average monthly savings are greater than the monthly payment, giving an immediate positive cash flow to the participant!


Simplified Example of On-Bill Financing Program

The utility may partner with a bank or other lender to directly pay for the energy upgrades. The utility then “passes on” the payments to the lender.


On-bill financing is a tool that utilities use to reach all of their customers, particularly those who cannot afford the upfront costs of upgrades. Some on-bill programs, in order to be more inclusive, will review an applicant’s utility bill payment history instead of their credit score. And it works: programs using this approach have experienced low default rates while delivering average energy savings of up to 35 percent.



About Us:

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International ( is the primary voice in the United States for people who use cooperatives to build a better world through an inclusive economy. NCBA CLUSA protects, advances and promotes the cooperative business model, recognizing it as the equitable, sustainable, participatory and stable way to grow the economy. Through its international development program, NCBA CLUSA works through the cooperative principles in more than 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Since 1916, NCBA CLUSA has shared the cooperative advantage, highlighting the impact cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals, families and communities. Through its advocacy program, NCBA CLUSA educates lawmakers and promotes the cooperative business model, working with public and private thought leaders.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute ( is an independent, non-profit organization advancing innovative policy solutions to set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI educates policymakers, builds coalitions and develops policy in support of energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable biomass, sustainable buildings, and sustainable transportation. EESI was founded by a bipartisan Congressional caucus in 1984, and its strong relationship with Congress helps EESI serve as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environmental issues. EESI receives no congressional funding and is supported through contributions and grants. Learn more about EESI’s On-Bill Financing Project.


The Partnership is made possible through a grant from the New York Community Trust (NYCT).