Challenge: The state lacks a revenue stream to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative transportation opportunities that support policy goals.
Background: SC Code Section 58-37-50 allows electric utilities to offer on-bill financing of energy-efficient home improvements to their customers. The loans are tied to the meter, instead of the customer, so the obligation of repayment is passed on to subsequent account holders who also enjoy the benefits of the energy-efficient home improvement. Public Benefits Funds (PBFs) exist in 27 states, with some of them providing funds for both energy efficiency and renewable energy. PBFs are generally funded through a surcharge on utility bills (not a utility charge) but could be created through legislative action rather than involving utilities in collection. Other options include Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs or Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) programs that allow for energy-retrofit loans to be repaid through property taxes or special assessment districts in the case of C-PACE. Still another example is the Help My House program administered by Central Electric Power Cooperative and the ECSC that targets high energy users and has made 551 energy efficiency loans repaid through on-bill financing. A study of homes retrofitted in Help My House’s initial pilot program found an average annual energy reduction of 34 percent or 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. Funding to support retrofits for disadvantaged and/or low-income residents presents a particular opportunity and may require more targeted action.
Approach: A study committee should examine: potential solutions to the problem of financing energy efficiency improvements, including whether changes to the on-bill financing statute and program design could encourage expansion of the programs; whether a PBF is a viable option; whether low-interest sources of financing may be available to utilities that want to make these programs available to their customers; how low-income residents may be more effectively served regardless of utility provider; and alternative transportation.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS (PDF)
AGENDA: July 12, 2017 (PDF)
Energy Plan Calendar