EEI has explained in a memo released today how PAYS® is compatible with “A Roadmap to Utility Service as a Human Right” developed by the National Consumer Law Center and co-signed by a number of utility consumer advocacy organizations.
EEI agrees with the principles expressed in the Roadmap, especially that safe, reliable, and affordable energy, water, and sanitation utility services serve essential human needs and that no household should be disconnected from these essential services based on the inability to pay. In fact, PAYS can help make those goals more attainable.
PAYS provides a way to make utility bills more affordable for utility customers by making efficiency upgrades accessible with no credit check or upfront payment, providing immediate improvement in their cash flow, and imposing no new debt obligations. The result over the past 20 years has been no reports of PAYS program participants, including many customers in low-income communities, being disconnected for non-payment of their utility bills.
The Energy Efficiency Institute has updated the PAYS Essential Elements and Minimum Program Requirements to clarify for utilities, regulators, advocates, and others interested in PAYS the operational components that must be part of a resource efficiency program to be called PAYS. This revision is based on feedback that we have received from individuals working in or advocating for PAYS programs around the country.
Among the changes in this version is the requirement that when calculating the monthly charge and copay amount for an upgraded location, utilities must use estimates of all significant annual resource savings the participant will receive (e.g., water, sewer, electricity, gas, and oil) from upgrades installed at that location. Also, utilities are not permitted to impose the requirements of their other program offers to limit PAYS program offers or participation.
The Energy Efficiency Institute is pleased to introduce a new partner LibertyHomes, a nonprofit dedicated to liberating all homes from energy burdens by 2040. LibertyHomes curates a weekly newsletter, PAYS® Pals, that reports on trends, developments, issues, and anything else Pay As You Save®. We encourage anyone looking to stay informed about any recent regulatory, legislative, or utility activities in the PAYS® space, pose questions to the PAYS community, or share your own ideas, to sign-up.
To join the newsletter distribution list, send a “Sign-me up for PAYS Pals!” email to firstname.lastname@example.org . You’ll get both the newsletter and a weekly invitation to submit updates or questions of your own. Back issues will soon be available on their website. Thank you, LibertyHomes, and welcome to the PAYS family.
The Missouri Public Service Commission ordered (File No. EO 2019-0132) on December 11, 2019 that its approval of Evergy Missouri Metro’s and Evergy Missouri West’s (formerly Kansas City Power & Light) Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act programs was contingent on the Companies implementing a one-year Pay As You Save® pilot program with a budget of not less than $10 million or more than $15 million (p. 26).
If the Missouri utilities implement the PAYS pilot, it will be the first new investor-owned-utility PAYS program since Hawaii’s 2004 Solar Saver Program. The Missouri pilot would bring the total amount invested by all utilities using the PAYS system in the country over the past two decades to $50-55 million—an increase of at least 25 percent.
On May 23, 2019 Clean Energy Works contracted with EEI to research whether on-site photovoltaic systems, with or without battery back-up, might be a viable as PAYS upgrades for utility customers in one or more southern states.
EEI’s research is one of the projects included in Groundswell’s grant for Accelerating Low-Income Financing and Transactions for Solar Access Everywhere (LIFT), a Department of Energy Grant (DE-FOA-0001840 from the Solar Energy Technologies Office).
EEI’s research goals are to:
- Determine if a utility investment in a PV installation at a customer’s premises can be sufficiently cost effective, after utility incentives, state or federal tax credits, or other incentives are applied, for the upgrade to qualify for a PAYS tariff under the 80% rule in a program that meets PAYS essential elements and minimum requirements.
- Determine whether the type of utility (i.e., coop, municipal, or investor-owned)and/or whether the utility’s PV upgrade procurement financing structure (i.e., buy with internal capital, loan, lease, services agreement) limits its ability to offer a cost-effective PV package to customers in a program that meets PAYS essential elements and minimum requirements.
While the project’s completion deadline is March 15, 2020, EEI hopes to conclude its research and report shortly after January 1, 2020. If you are interested in this project and think you have valuable information to share, please email email@example.com.