The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held an informative webinar regarding on-bill financing and, specifically, its applications for member-owned utilities in the Midwest. This presentation looked at successful on-bill financing programs developed by two midwestern rural electric cooperatives, as well as an innovative on-bill financing program run by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, in partnership with the Central Electric Power Cooperative and EESI.

“On-bill financing” programs, in which utilities issue loans for energy improvements that are repaid as part of the ratepayer's electricity bill, are an exciting opportunity to expand residential energy efficiency efforts around the country. The loan repayment is covered in whole or in part with the savings accrued thanks to the energy retrofits. No up-front payments by ratepayers are necessary.

Successful programs have shown rural electric cooperatives (co-ops) and public power utilities can use on-bill financing programs to significantly reduce peak demand, carbon emissions and fossil fuel use. By driving down the need for additional power generation, these programs can be a winning business strategy for utilities. On-bill financing programs can also help alleviate poverty by reducing families’ energy bills, while creating community-based jobs and economic growth by building demand for energy efficient products.

EESI has recently expanded its on-bill financing initiative into a national effort to significantly improve the energy efficiency of homes served by co-ops and public utilities. EESI is available to help rural utilities apply to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program to capitalize their projects. Learn more about EESI's on-bill financing project.