Going Green: Utility bill financing
Improving your home's energy efficiency can be costly. Improving things like new insulation and windows can now be simplified by a program called 'utility bill financing'.
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One big obstacle to improving your home’s energy efficiency is the upfront cost for improvements like insulation and new windows.
Julianna Razryadov, Contractor said, “The common complain about it from our customers is not customer service, it is not the state of their house during the work, it is the initial cost and this program completely eliminates that problem.”
The program is called utility bill financing.
Adam Flint of the Energy Leadership Program said, “In order to qualify for that you have to be a homeowner or owner of a one to four unit rental, you have be to the person named on the NYSEG account or the customer of another major utility. That was part of the negotiations to get the law passed. If you’re not a major utility customer you have to go with an unsecured loan.”
If you meet the qualifications, here’s how it works:
"NYSERDA forwards the money to the contractor so the contractor doesn’t have to wait to be paid off and the loan is spread over different time periods such as five, 10 or 15 years and it’s added onto the utility bill of the customer. Your annual utility bill shouldn’t increase because the amount that you’re saving will be what you’re paying back the loan with," said Razryadov.
The loan stays with the home so the program continues even if the people originating the loan move away.
"So this is a positive because they (the owner) can still sell the home at the same value but it’s an upgrade that new owner will be able to take advantage of because they pay the same utility bill. After the loan is paid off their utility bills will decrease so there’s no real increase in cost for the current homeowner," said Razryadov.
There are community based outreach groups around, like www.upgradeupstate.org that can help people with the paperwork needed to start the process with an energy audit and then file for the on-bill financing.