California could establish first utility-bill financed energy-efficiency program

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California State Senator Kevin de León has proposed Senate Bill 37 that would authorize the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish an On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program allowing consumers to finance energy-efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects through their utility bills at no cost to taxpayers or ratepayers.

The first in the nation, SB37 builds on the CPUC decision that requires investor-owned utilities to establish pilot On-Bill Repayment programs to finance projects for commercial properties. SB37 would extend the program to residential properties.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) estimates that with the participation of just 1 percent of residential properties annually, the program could generate more than 20,000 jobs in the construction industry and eliminate more than seven million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, as well as generating $2.7 billion in annual private investments once it is up and running.

The bill will be referred to the state policy committee to be heard in early spring of 2013.

For more:
- see the proposal
- see this article

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