New Plans Let Individuals, Small Businesses Pay for Retrofits via Their Utility Bills

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SAN FRANCISCO – Following recommendations from The Greenlining Institute and other stakeholders, the California Public Utilities Commission today approved a series of pilot programs to make energy efficiency retrofits available to low- and moderate-income Californians and small businesses. The new programs will allow the cost of a retrofit to be paid off gradually as an item on the customer’s utility bill, where those costs will largely be offset by reduced energy use.

“California has long provided rebates to help people make their homes or businesses more energy efficient, but they haven’t worked well for working families because you have to spend the money up front before you get the rebate – and for millions of Californians, that’s money they don’t have,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Vien Truong. “The new programs make credit available for energy efficiency improvements, with the loan paid off over time as just another item on your gas or electric bill. This will make retrofits possible for millions of Californians who couldn’t afford them before while boosting job creation in the green economy.”

The programs, funded with $65.9 million in startup capital collected from ratepayers, target homeowners, multi-family buildings housing primarily low- and moderate-income residents, and small businesses. Phase-in of the programs will begin before the end of this year and all should be fully operational by the middle of 2014.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute