In Recession, New York May Still Create Green Jobs While Retrofitting Homes and Businesses


During a special legislative session, New York state officials again have the opportunity to pioneer an energy efficiency policy that guarantees payment for retrofits for 1 million homes and businesses without touching the state budget. S7564 / A11427  allows financing of the retrofit program created by last year’s Green Jobs-Green New York Act (GJGNY) through utility bill charges known as on-bill financing.  As we articulated in a past Dispatch, Green Jobs-Green New York Act is now being considered as a state model to combat climate change, produce cost savings across the economy, reduce pressures on the electrical grid, provide public health benefits, and create thousands of green jobs. Not only will 60,000 jobs be created and kept, GJGNY will implement workforce training programs in order to handle mass scale retrofitting of homes and businesses. 

Green Jobs-Green New York is funded with revenue raised by the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. More than $100 million from these auctions are directed to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NSERDA) and those funds are used to leverage private and federal investments. With that funding, NYSERDA makes small loans to homeowners – but only for retrofit projects that will pay for themselves. The new 2010 bill would allow NYSERDA to recover from paying the upfront costs by adding a small monthly charge to the homeowner’s utility bill.  If the home is sold, the new owner takes over the payments and reaps the benefits.

Making utility bills the source of financing is important for three reasons: (1) it directly links energy savings and the loan repayment; (2) it provides homeowners the protection of a utility bill, that is, it allows some protection for late payments and offers alternative payment plans; and (3) it reassures lenders that they will get their investment paid back since the retrofit generates the money to pay for itself, as utility bills have a good track record for payment.  Better than equity loans, on-bill financing is a rational and safe way to afford energy efficient measures for many struggling homeowners.

On-bill financing can become one of the easiest and most secure ways to pay for retrofits for the homes of working families.  With a continuous stream of financing, the proposed legislation guarantees the creation and preservation of green jobs in the state. Not only will homes be more energy-efficient, they will provide healthier living and working environments for the people of New York.

Full Resources from this Article

Center for Working Families – Fact sheet: On bill Recovery
Progressive States Network – The Green Jobs/Green New York Act
Climate Progress – Can on-bill financing and energy loans bring wonderful life to economy?

This article is part of PSN's email newsletter, The Stateside Dispatch.
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