On-Bill Repayment Bill Introduced In California

Yesterday, California Senator Kevin de León introduced a bill, SB 37, which would create the first On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program entirely financed by private capital. OBR allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable generation upgrades and repay the obligations through their utility bills.

Senator De León said that “every Californian should be able to participate in the clean energy economy, and OBR helps us achieve this goal.” He believes that “OBR will lower utility bills, reduce pollution from dirty energy, and put thousands of Californians back to work. I am proud to be working with a broad coalition dedicated to moving this bill forward.”

This bill will authorize the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to extend their groundbreaking commercial OBR program to residential properties. (The commercial program is expected to be effective by the end of March and was recently profiled in the New York Times.)  We expect the residential program to provide retrofit capital to consumers that might not otherwise have access to low-cost funding for retrofits. These retrofits are expected to save money for consumers after financing costs and in many cases allow for more comfortable, healthier homes.

EDF is committed to working with consumer groups to make sure that this bill includes appropriate consumer protections. We will also be working to expand a coalition of supporters from the environmental, labor, business and financial communities.

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One Comment

  1. sheila
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This is a good start, but it makes 1,000 times more sense in the context of a generous feed in tariff like Germany’s where the homeowner is actually receiving a CASH payment every month from the utility for producing clean, local, high value power from their rooftop solar panels – that cash can be the collateral and doesn’t get into the mess of tenants leaving rentals, failures to pay, etc. because the panels keep producing a cash crop even if the homeowner or tenant is having trouble under them.

    We need to focus MORE on how to decentralize and democratize our grid so that WE get the financial upside. We are in for a world of hurt now that Big Energy is gobbling up tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and millions of acres of taxpayer land and billions of ratepayer dollars just to produce lower-quality and less reliable renewable energy than we could produce right where and when it’s needed. The multiplier effect of paying billions in dollars once sucked out of communities TO the people in those communities is staggering, plus the huge number of local well-paid jobs and improved property values. There is NO downside unless you are a tool of Big Energy and/or Big Banks who have been destroying our planet and economy (and democracy) for a hundred years or more.

    Next piece MUST be a legitimate feed in tariff at INCENTIVE level rates, not a fake FIT that nobody can afford to participate in because it never pays enough (like CA keeps doing). German power rates have DROPPED with their upsurge in democratically-owned solar produced by regular families – time to get that going here.