On-bill financing gets a green light
For Immediate Release
April 28, 2011
CONTACT: Catharine Lo, 808-782-3733
On-bill financing gets a green light in response to overwhelming public support
CONFERENCE CHAIR REP. DENNY COFFMAN KEEPS ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURE ALIVE
HONOLULU—HONOLULU—Hawai‘i residents may soon be able to easily purchase solar power and energy-saving appliances with no upfront cost. On Thursday afternoon, House Bill 1520, the on-bill financing measure pending before the legislature, passed through conference committee and will move on to a final floor vote. When enacted, it has the potential to save Hawai‘i millions in energy costs by facilitating the adoption of residential solar and energy efficiency. Blue Planet Foundation commends committee chair Representative Denny Coffman (D-North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau) and Senator Mike Gabbard (D-Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, portions of Waipahu and Ko‘olina), who introduced the bill, for their leadership in working to advance a measure that can substantially accelerate Hawai‘i’s progress toward energy independence.
Blue Planet Foundation lobbied aggressively for on-bill financing because of its potential to benefit the many residents who want to install solar or buy energy-saving appliances, but simply can’t afford to. An on-bill program would eliminate the restrictive upfront cost of these upgrades by integrating the purchase as a line item on residents' electric bills. The purchase would be paid off over time using the money saved from the reduction in the household’s energy use.
Following news that the bill was in jeopardy, residents across the state adamantly voiced their support, flooding legislators’ offices with phone calls, letters, and email. The overwhelming response helped convince Rep. Coffman to rescue the measure and find a compromise that satisfied all parties.
“This bill succeeded because concerned residents statewide took the initiative to vocalize their support,” said Blue Planet Foundation executive director Jeff Mikulina. "People exercising the power of democracy is what will now, literally, bring power to the people."
“On-bill financing is a smart solution that effectively removes obstacles to Hawai‘i’s clean energy future," Mikulina continued. "We are eager to see the establishment of a program that will quickly bring the benefits of clean energy to families statewide."
More information about on-bill financing is posted at hawaiivoice.org.
Blue Planet is also actively working to pass a handful of other clean energy measures:
House Bill 1019 is a critical measure to allocate funding from the existing barrel tax to support the State Energy Office. The Energy Office is currently funded with federal dollars that will expire within the year.
Senate Bill 1482 provides additional regulatory guidance to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), directing the commission to consider clean energy in their decision-making. The bill requires the PUC to "explicitly consider, quantitatively or qualitatively, the effect of the State's reliance on fossil fuels on price volatility, export of funds for fuel imports, fuel supply reliability risk, and greenhouse gas emissions," among other changes.
Senate Bill 146 requires that diesel fuel sold in the state contain at least 5 percent locally produced biodiesel.
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