This commentary was originally posted on the EDF California Dream 2.0 Blog.
California has proposed using on-bill repayment (OBR) to help close a financing gap for EE that some have estimated to exceed $10 billion annually. It would be the first statewide program of its kind in the country to use third-party financing to fund energy-related upgrades for any type of building.
The program allows private loans for building efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects to be repaid through utility bills. Billions of dollars could be made available at attractive terms for a variety of buildings, including single-family homes where owners are upside down on their mortgages, small businesses, large commercial properties and multi-unit rental buildings.
At next week’s Good Jobs, Green Jobs Western Regional Conference in Los Angeles, a panel of experts will discuss how the program can make energy upgrades more affordable and create good, green jobs. This workshop will feature a description of OBR, provide a status update on regulatory developments, and consider program design tradeoffs.
The workshop, “On Bill Repayment Solves the Financing Puzzle,” will be hosted by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and moderated by our Chief California Economist, Jamie Fine. Brad Copithorne, EDF’s energy and policy specialist who designed the program will describe how it works and how energy users can take advantage of the program to save money on energy bills and hedge against higher energy prices.
Other panelists include: Gretchen Hardison, Environmental Affairs Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; John Rhow, Director, Barclays Capital; and Neil Alexander, Account Manager, Utility Solutions Group, TRANE. These experts will share their perspectives on the program, and how it can be designed to meet the unique needs of their constituencies.
EDF looks forward to hosting the panel and discussing ideal ways to shape the final program. We are expecting California’s Public Utilities Commission to soon decide whether to offer OBR to all utility customers as a way to reduce energy use, grow the economy and protect public health and our environment.