(220 ILCS 5/16-111.7)
On-bill financing program; electric utilities.
(a) The Illinois General Assembly finds that Illinois homes and businesses have the potential to save energy through conservation and cost-effective energy efficiency measures. Programs created pursuant to this Section will allow utility customers to purchase cost-effective energy efficiency measures, including measures set forth in a Commission-approved energy efficiency and demand-response plan under Section 8-103 or 8-103B of this Act, with no required initial upfront payment, and to pay the cost of those products and services over time on their utility bill.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, an electric utility serving more than 100,000 customers on January 1, 2009 shall offer a Commission-approved on-bill financing program ("program") that allows its eligible retail customers, as that term is defined in Section 16-111.5 of this Act, who own a residential single family home, duplex, or other residential building with 4 or less units, or condominium at which the electric service is being provided (i) to borrow funds from a third party lender in order to purchase electric energy efficiency measures approved under the program for installation in such home or condominium without any required upfront payment and (ii) to pay back such funds over time through the electric utility's bill. Based upon the process described in subsection (b-5) of this Section, small commercial customers who own the premises at which electric service is being provided may be included in such program. After receiving a request from an electric utility for approval of a proposed program and tariffs pursuant to this Section, the Commission shall render its decision within 120 days. If no decision is rendered within 120 days, then the request shall be deemed to be approved.
Beginning no later than December 31, 2013, an electric utility subject to this subsection (b) shall also offer its program to eligible retail customers that own multifamily residential or mixed-use buildings with no more than 50 residential units, provided, however, that such customers must either be a residential customer or small commercial customer and may not use the program in such a way that repayment of the cost of energy efficiency measures is made through tenants' utility bills. An electric utility may impose a per site loan limit not to exceed $150,000. The program, and loans issued thereunder, shall only be offered to customers of the utility that meet the requirements of this Section and that also have an electric service account at the premises where the energy efficiency measures being financed shall be installed. Beginning no later than 2 years after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, the 50 residential unit limitation described in this paragraph shall no longer apply, and the utility shall replace the per site loan limit of $150,000 with a loan limit that correlates to a maximum monthly payment that does not exceed 50% of the customer's average utility bill over the prior 12-month period.
Beginning no later than 2 years after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, an electric utility subject to this subsection (b) shall also offer its program to eligible retail customers that are Unit Owners' Associations, as defined in subsection (o) of Section 2 of the Condominium Property Act, or Master Associations, as defined in subsection (u) of the Condominium Property Act. However, such customers must either be residential customers or small commercial customers and may not use the program in such a way that repayment of the cost of energy efficiency measures is made through unit owners' utility bills. The program and loans issued under the program shall only be offered to customers of the utility that meet the requirements of this Section and that also have an electric service account at the premises where the energy efficiency measures being financed shall be installed.
For purposes of this Section, "small commercial customer" means, for an electric utility serving more than 3,000,000 retail customers, those customers having peak demand of less than 100 kilowatts, and, for an electric utility serving less than 3,000,000 retail customers, those customers having peak demand of less than 150 kilowatts; provided, however, that in the event the Commission, after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly, approves changes to a utility's tariffs that reflects new or revised demand criteria for the utility's customer rate classifications, then the utility may file a petition with the Commission to revise the applicable definition of a small commercial customer to reflect the new or revised demand criteria for the purposes of this Section. After notice and hearing, the Commission shall enter an order approving, or approving with modification, the revised definition within 60 days after the utility files the petition.
(b-5) Within 30 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, the Commission shall convene a workshop process during which interested participants may discuss issues related to the program, including program design, eligible electric energy efficiency measures, vendor qualifications, and a methodology for ensuring ongoing compliance with such qualifications, financing, sample documents such as request for proposals, contracts and agreements, dispute resolution, pre-installment and post-installment verification, and evaluation. The workshop process shall be completed within 150 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly.
(c) Not later than 60 days following completion of the workshop process described in subsection (b-5) of this Section, each electric utility subject to subsection (b) of this Section shall submit a proposed program to the Commission that contains the following components:
(1) A list of recommended electric energy efficiency
measures that will be eligible for on-bill financing. An eligible electric energy efficiency measure ("measure") shall be a product or service for which one or more of the following is true:
(B) the projected electricity savings (determined
by rates in effect at the time of purchase) are sufficient to cover the costs of implementing the measures, including finance charges and any program fees not recovered pursuant to subsection (f) of this Section; or
(C) the product or service is included in a
Commission-approved energy efficiency and demand-response plan under Section 8-103 or 8-103B of this Act.
(1.5) Beginning no later than 2 years after the
effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, an eligible electric energy efficiency measure (measure) shall be a product or service that qualifies under subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1) of this subsection (c) or for which one or more of the following is true:
(A) a building energy assessment, performed by an
energy auditor who is certified by the Building Performance Institute or who holds a similar certification, has recommended the product or service as likely to be cost effective over the course of its installed life for the building in which the measure is to be installed; or
(B) the product or service is necessary to safely
or correctly install to code or industry standard an efficiency measure, including, but not limited to, installation work; changes needed to plumbing or electrical connections; upgrades to wiring or fixtures; removal of hazardous materials; correction of leaks; changes to thermostats, controls, or similar devices; and changes to venting or exhaust necessitated by the measure. However, the costs of the product or service described in this subparagraph (B) shall not exceed 25% of the total cost of installing the measure.
(2) The electric utility shall issue a request for
proposals ("RFP") to lenders for purposes of providing financing to participants to pay for approved measures. The RFP criteria shall include, but not be limited to, the interest rate, origination fees, and credit terms. The utility shall select the winning bidders based on its evaluation of these criteria, with a preference for those bids containing the rates, fees, and terms most favorable to participants;
(3) The utility shall work with the lenders selected
pursuant to the RFP process, and with vendors, to establish the terms and processes pursuant to which a participant can purchase eligible electric energy efficiency measures using the financing obtained from the lender. The vendor shall explain and offer the approved financing packaging to those customers identified in subsection (b) of this Section and shall assist customers in applying for financing. As part of the process, vendors shall also provide to participants information about any other incentives that may be available for the measures.
(4) The lender shall conduct credit checks or
undertake other appropriate measures to limit credit risk, and shall review and approve or deny financing applications submitted by customers identified in subsection (b) of this Section. Following the lender's approval of financing and the participant's purchase of the measure or measures, the lender shall forward payment information to the electric utility, and the utility shall add as a separate line item on the participant's utility bill a charge showing the amount due under the program each month.
(5) A loan issued to a participant pursuant to the
program shall be the sole responsibility of the participant, and any dispute that may arise concerning the loan's terms, conditions, or charges shall be resolved between the participant and lender. Upon transfer of the property title for the premises at which the participant receives electric service from the utility or the participant's request to terminate service at such premises, the participant shall pay in full its electric utility bill, including all amounts due under the program, provided that this obligation may be modified as provided in subsection (g) of this Section. Amounts due under the program shall be deemed amounts owed for residential and, as appropriate, small commercial electric service.
(6) The electric utility shall remit payment in full
to the lender each month on behalf of the participant. In the event a participant defaults on payment of its electric utility bill, the electric utility shall continue to remit all payments due under the program to the lender, and the utility shall be entitled to recover all costs related to a participant's nonpayment through the automatic adjustment clause tariff established pursuant to Section 16-111.8 of this Act. In addition, the electric utility shall retain a security interest in the measure or measures purchased under the program, and the utility retains its right to disconnect a participant that defaults on the payment of its utility bill.
(7) The total outstanding amount financed under the
program in this subsection and subsection (c-5) of this Section shall not exceed $2.5 million for an electric utility or electric utilities under a single holding company, provided that the electric utility or electric utilities may petition the Commission for an increase in such amount. Beginning after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, the total maximum outstanding amount financed under the program in this subsection and subsections (c-5) and (c-10) of this Section shall increase by $5,000,000 per year until such time as the total maximum outstanding amount financed reaches $20,000,000. For purposes of this Section, "maximum outstanding amount financed" means the sum of all principal that has been loaned and not yet repaid.
(c-5) Within 120 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly, each electric utility subject to the requirements of this Section shall submit an informational filing to the Commission that describes its plan for implementing the provisions of this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly on or before December 31, 2013. Such filing shall also describe how the electric utility shall coordinate its program with any gas utility or utilities that provide gas service to buildings within the electric utility's service territory so that it is practical and feasible for the owner of a multifamily building to make a single application to access loans for both gas and electric energy efficiency measures in any individual building.
(c-10) No later than 365 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, each electric utility subject to the requirements of this Section shall submit an informational filing to the Commission that describes its plan for implementing the provisions of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly that were incorporated into this Section. Such filing shall also include the criteria to be used by the program for determining if measures to be financed are eligible electric energy efficiency measures, as defined by paragraph (1.5) of subsection (c) of this Section.
(d) A program approved by the Commission shall also include the following criteria and guidelines for such program:
(1) guidelines for financing of measures installed
under a program, including, but not limited to, RFP criteria and limits on both individual loan amounts and the duration of the loans;
(2) criteria and standards for identifying and
(3) qualifications of vendors that will market or
install measures, as well as a methodology for ensuring ongoing compliance with such qualifications;
(4) sample contracts and agreements necessary to
implement the measures and program; and
(5) the types of data and information that utilities
and vendors participating in the program shall collect for purposes of preparing the reports required under subsection (g) of this Section.
(e) The proposed program submitted by each electric utility shall be consistent with the provisions of this Section that define operational, financial and billing arrangements between and among program participants, vendors, lenders, and the electric utility.
(f) An electric utility shall recover all of the prudently incurred costs of offering a program approved by the Commission pursuant to this Section, including, but not limited to, all start-up and administrative costs and the costs for program evaluation. All prudently incurred costs under this Section shall be recovered from the residential and small commercial retail customer classes eligible to participate in the program through the automatic adjustment clause tariff established pursuant to Section 8-103 or 8-103B of this Act.
(g) An independent evaluation of a program shall be conducted after 3 years of the program's operation. The electric utility shall retain an independent evaluator who shall evaluate the effects of the measures installed under the program and the overall operation of the program, including, but not limited to, customer eligibility criteria and whether the payment obligation for permanent electric energy efficiency measures that will continue to provide benefits of energy savings should attach to the meter location. As part of the evaluation process, the evaluator shall also solicit feedback from participants and interested stakeholders. The evaluator shall issue a report to the Commission on its findings no later than 4 years after the date on which the program commenced, and the Commission shall issue a report to the Governor and General Assembly including a summary of the information described in this Section as well as its recommendations as to whether the program should be discontinued, continued with modification or modifications or continued without modification, provided that any recommended modifications shall only apply prospectively and to measures not yet installed or financed.
(h) An electric utility offering a Commission-approved program pursuant to this Section shall not be required to comply with any other statute, order, rule, or regulation of this State that may relate to the offering of such program, provided that nothing in this Section is intended to limit the electric utility's obligation to comply with this Act and the Commission's orders, rules, and regulations, including Part 280 of Title 83 of the Illinois Administrative Code.
(i) The source of a utility customer's electric supply shall not disqualify a customer from participation in the utility's on-bill financing program. Customers of alternative retail electric suppliers may participate in the program under the same terms and conditions applicable to the utility's supply customers.
(Source: P.A. 98-586, eff. 8-27-13; 99-906, eff. 6-1-17