Rory McIlmoil, Appalachian Voices, Energy Savings Program Manager, 828-262-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cat McCue, Appalachian Voices, Director of Communications, 434-293-6373, email@example.com
A video short released today aims to broadly publicize a rarely used model of financing for utilities to pay the upfront costs of residential energy efficiency improvements so customers can immediately benefit from healthier, more comfortable homes and save on their energy bills. (More details in this blog post.)
The video opens with the line: “What if your home could be fixed up so that you’re cool in the middle of summer, warm in winter, and you have more money every year for things you need?” It goes on to explain that a utility offering Pay As You Save (PAYS®) on-bill financing covers the cost for home energy efficiency improvements, like weatherizing or upgrading heating/cooling systems, and the customer repays the utility over time without incurring any debt.
“If adopted widely, this program would transform America’s energy landscape and benefit millions of low- to moderate-income families,” says Rory McIlmoil, Energy Savings Program Manager for Appalachian Voices, a regional nonprofit organization.
The video was produced by Appalachian Voices and Resource Media to introduce more consumers and electric utilities to the program, which is largely underutilized but slowly catching on, with rural electric cooperatives leading the way. Thirteen co-ops, mostly in the Southeast, now offer a PAYS®-type program, lowering energy use for participating members by up to 30 percent and cutting energy bills by hundreds of dollars a year for most homes. No investor-owned utility is currently offering PAYS®.
“It’s such a simple concept, but the details get a little wonky, so we wanted to create a fun, informative video to get more people interested and hopefully they’ll urge their electric utility to start this kind of program,” says Cat McCue, Director of Communications with Appalachian Voices.
PAYS® financing is tied to the property, not the resident, and relies on electric bill payment history instead of credit scores to determine if an applicant is eligible. So it’s accessible to virtually everyone, including renters and people who don’t have the credit usually needed for a traditional bank loan. It’s these innovations that allow the program to serve low- to middle income households particularly well, McIlmoil says.
And efficiency is the cleanest source of energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and helping protect clean water, clean air, forests and farms, as well as helping to mitigate the impacts of a warming climate.