This commentary was originally posted on the EDF California Dream 2.0 Blog.
Last week the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved energy efficiency programs and budgets that include an innovative On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program. The OBR program will allow commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency or renewable generation upgrades for their buildings and repay the obligation through the utility bill. The program is ‘open-source’ and is designed to allow a wide variety of contractors, solar installers, and energy efficiency project developers to work with a range of financial institutions to design offerings that best meet the needs of their customers.
The CPUC approval was highlighted today in the New York Times.
In the decision, the CPUC reiterated their intention to have the OBR program operational by March 2013. We understand that some of the utilities have expressed concern that this timeline is aggressive, but were pleased that the CPUC decision noted that the utilities have been aware of this timeline since the original CPUC decision last May.
A predictable timeline for OBR implementation is critical as EDF is working closely with multiple market participants to create a pipeline of projects that can be executed as soon as the program is operational. A successful launch will allow us to demonstrate to other states that OBR can create private investment and new jobs at no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers. We believe that this is a message that will resonate across the political spectrum.