Making it Count: Understanding the Value of Energy Efficiency Financing Programs Funded by Utility Customers

December 10, 2015

In some jurisdictions, policy makers are considering large-scale financing programs that use utility customer funds to attract larger amounts of private capital. In some cases, these strategies support a goal to shift away from traditional energy efficiency program strategies (such as rebates and technical assistance and audits) and toward financing over time. However, unique aspects of financing programs may create challenges in adapting traditional regulatory planning, evaluation, and performance tools that are used to assess the impacts and cost-effectiveness of efficiency programs (such as potential studies, cost-effectiveness screening, and impact evaluation).

The report lays the groundwork for a dialogue to explore regulatory and policy mechanisms for ensuring that efficiency financing initiatives provide value for society and protection for consumers. Featuring case studies of Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, California, and Maryland, Making it Count explores emerging questions that jurisdictions will need to answer when considering an increased reliance on financing, including:

  • Can financing be placed in a regulatory context that preserves accountability while providing sufficient flexibility to program administrators and customers?

  • Can the tools that have been used to screen traditional energy efficiency programs for cost-effectiveness and assess potential savings and impacts be adapted in ways that make them work for energy efficiency financing programs?

  • The California Legislature asked the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), in consultation with the California Public Utilities Commission, to work with stakeholders to develop criteria for a comparative assessment of energy efficiency financing programs available in California, including PACE and on bill financing. We found Making It Count: Case Studies in Evaluating Energy Efficiency Financing Programs to be directly onpoint to the work CAEATFA's been tasked to complete and very meaningful to the policy issues at hand.

    Deana Carillo, CAEATFA
For more information contact:
Johanna Zetterberg, U.S. Department of Energy
Joe Bryson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Larry Mansueti, U.S. Department of Energy
Photo of the Making It Count report.

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