How PAYS® Works

PAYS® uses the public utilities system (e.g., gas, electric, water) to give all customers the opportunity to have resource efficiency upgrades installed in their homes and businesses by tapping the flow of future savings.

Public utilities typically make investments in supply and distribution and require future customers to pay for them as well as for any bad debt from unpaid utility bills. With disconnection for nonpayment, utilities have the lowest uncollectables of any financing systems—as low as one percent for many utilities. Low uncollectables backed by the assurance that any missed payments will be covered by future rate payers ensures utilities that their investments are safe.

PAYS also includes sufficient consumer assurances to create a program offer that most customers accept. Even though participants agree to pay 100 percent of the cost for the most cost-effective upgrades, rebates for these upgrades are often unnecessary. Customers can have confidence in the upgrades installed in their homes and businesses because they are independently certified as appropriate and estimated to provide net savings in the short and long terms.

Additionally, customers have:

  • No upfront payment
  • No credit checks, liens or hassles (e.g., bank applications or approvals);
  • No new debt obligation (the obligation to pay is assigned to the location not an individual);
  • No obligation to pay if they don’t benefit (e.g., if a customer relocates, their payment obligation stops; if an upgrade fails or breaks down, it is repaired or the payment obligation stops; if repaired, the payment amount stays the same, only the term is extended);
  • No split incentives between owners and renters. (Renters pay lower utility bills while they occupy the premises. Landlords who don’t pay for renters’ utilities pay nothing.)

The risk-free offer is the reason resource-efficiency and renewable-energy programs based on the PAYS system have enjoyed unprecedented customer acceptance in states across the country.