For Immediate Release
August 14, 2023
Robin Tung, email@example.com
New inclusive utility investment can expand access to electric appliances for millions of Californians and advance California’s climate goals.
Sacramento, CA – California utility commissioners are paving a path towards a new financing program that will help millions of Californians adopt energy-efficient zero-emission appliances, cut pollution, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) directed major energy providers to create a joint proposal for inclusive utility investment (IUI) financing for residential customers at its August 10 hearing in a 4-0 vote. If the proposal is adopted, this program would support low- and moderate-income households who are not able to afford clean energy upgrades or qualify for traditional loans.
In 2020, the Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC) commissioned Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, a landmark report that articulated the policy roadmap and implementation considerations for tariffed on-bill programs in California. The report demonstrated how IUI financing can provide affordable financing opportunities for low- and moderate-income households who do not have access to capital to create safe and healthy homes. Since then, BDC has educated policymakers and worked with energy providers and subject matter experts to develop the IUI proposals.
“We applaud the California Public Utilities Commission for encouraging the expansion of inclusive utility investment financing. This equitable financing strategy will unlock access to capital for low- and moderate-income Californians who have traditionally been unable to afford clean energy upgrades and appliances. And it will enable large-scale decarbonization, which is critical for California to reach its 100% clean energy target by 2045,” stated Beckie Menten, Senior Regulatory & Policy Specialist, Building Decarbonization Coalition.
Also known as tariffed on-bill financing, IUI is a ground-breaking financing model that leverages utilities’ ability to place charges on a bill as a means of financing clean energy investments at a customer’s property. As IUI financing is attached to the property itself via the utility meter rather than to the building occupant, the program does not require credit score screenings. This expands access to capital for those who may have low FICO scores. For renters, IUI financing can cover the cost of installation and provide the benefits of clean, efficient appliances. IUI programs are designed to keep monthly repayments lower than estimated bill savings, helping to ensure that customers benefit financially from the efficiency of the new technology.
As the state advances towards its clean energy goals, it will need IUI programs that remove cost barriers for Californians to upgrade their homes with clean, electric appliances. Accelerating building decarbonization in the state will help reduce emissions, deliver cleaner air, lower energy bills, and create climate resiliency in the face of extreme heat.
The CPUC has requested a joint proposal by investor-owned utilities to be submitted within 270 days of the approval of the Decision.
The Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC) aligns critical stakeholders on a path to transform the nation’s buildings through clean energy, using policy, research, market development, and public engagement. The BDC and its members are charting the course to eliminate fossil fuels in buildings to improve people’s health, cut climate and air pollution, prioritize high-road jobs, and ensure that our communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change.