IUI Municipal Toolkit

Explore An Inclusive Utility Investments Program For Your Utility’s Territory!

Timeline and checklist

The following will help you navigate from the conceptual stage to a fully launched program.

Months 1-3

Conduct a feasibility study: Is IUI a fit for your customers & territory?

Get acquainted with the scope and outcomes of another utility’s feasibility study. This feasibility study was conducted by the Ipswich Electric Light Department and explored customer interest, the measures that could be financed with IUI, and the business case.

Confirm IUI will be impactful by helping to finance decarbonization solutions for existing housing stock. The larger the average home size, the more likely there will be an upfront cost for customers opting into an IUI agreement. It is important to know how IUI offers will pencil out in your territory, on average, as you evaluate uptake, cost, and impact of the program.

Poll your customers. Consider conducting a customer survey to gauge customer interest, build awareness and understanding of the program, and validate the alignment of IUI with customers’ pain points and priorities:

Interest in participating in an on-bill financing program

Common barriers to adopting energy-efficiency measures

Interest in on-bill financing as compared to alternative methods (such as zero-interest loans)

Months 1-3

Secure key stakeholder support.

Create early champions and allies who will help develop your program and ensure its success! Share resources with your key stakeholders that will help them understand what makes IUI unique and how IUI delivers benefits to utilities and customers.

Governing bodies: commissioners, advisory boards.

Local platforms and advocacy groups: climate action groups, housing access, local influencers, and local newspapers.

Helpful resources:

Utility Guide to Tariffed On-Bill Financing (concise summary of the mechanism, program design, success stories, and FAQs);

Energy Efficiency Institute’s Status Report on Inclusive Utility Investment programs (includes adoption and default rates)

Months 1-6

Secure regulatory approval.

Establish the legal pathway: Review your utility’s Articles of Incorporation to determine local-level approvals required for your utility to access funding and administer a financing program (e.g., Commissioner or town votes and approvals). Commissioners will need to be involved when it comes to establishing a new tariff rate.

Notify the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) of intent to establish an IUI program: In Massachusetts, municipal utilities are not regulated by the DPU, however, are advised to inform them of plans to launch an IUI program. A legal review should be conducted to ensure program compliance with DPU’s G.L. c. 164.

Months 1-6

Define program terms & conditions.

Find lawyers willing to work with you to make the program possible, while minimizing your utility’s legal exposure. KP Law worked with Ipswich to develop these terms and conditions.

Determine eligible energy-efficiency, electrification, and renewable-energy measures. Are there measures your utility wants to require or exclude from the program?

Define how your program will handle scenarios for rental units and create applicable terms and conditions to define requirements. KP Law worked with Ipswich to develop this Owner Agreement.

Develop a customer-facing Clean Energy Upgrade Plan that captures proposed measures, savings, work orders, and customer signatures. This Plan will be combined with your utility’s terms and conditions to complete the customer-facing proposal.

Months 1-12

Secure capital financing.

Securing capital early is crucial, as it significantly influences the speed of program setup.

Understand approval process for different capital sources (e.g., accessing a line of credit may require a town vote) and take applicable steps to get on meeting agendas/ballots. Failure to map this out early can delay program start.

Quantify the expected annual participation rate and determine capital requirements.

Tip: assume ~$25,000 investment per participant, in addition to standard incentives, and up to 3% participation per annum. This equates to a required capital pool of $1M per 1,300 meters.

Identify sources of capital.

Look for: low-interest rate and capital that can be lent for more than 15 years

Rural utilities: if your territory has fewer than 20,000 people, your utility is eligible to apply for a zero-interest credit line from the USDA’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program

Non-rural utilities: private capital investors, Green Banks, revolving loan funds

If necessary, hold Town vote to approve loan.

Months 4-6

Develop program operations plans.

Developing internal processes will ensure that your team will be prepared to review, approve, and process payments for your program.

Develop IUI offer review and approval processes, including procedures for reviewing and approving customer proposals and agreements.

Ready internal systems for billing, accounts payable, and accounts receivable for program operation.

Define payment processing procedure. Develop protocols for payment processing for contractor deposits and payments. Ensure relevant stakeholders are engaged and any administrative requirements are met. Define clear requirements for contractor invoices.

Ensure stakeholder engagement. Identify internal roles and responsibilities for each aspect of program operations. Facilitate stakeholder engagement by involving decision-makers from each business area.

Months 6-8

Program marketing & communications.

Brand your program.

Inclusive Utility Investments is the most widely used umbrella term for this financing mechanism. That could be included in the name, or you could choose something that resonates with your community and existing branding.

Inform your community.

Spread the word with bill inserts, on your website and social media, and through local news outlets. Circulate a press release once the program is live and/or when your first customer has gone through the program.

Months 6-12

Perform a Pilot.

Perform a sample number of projects (5-10) to refine program administrative processes ahead of full roll-out.

Ready to take action?

Support Services Offered by CET on a Fee-for-Service Basis

Pre-commitment consultation: Is IUI a good fit for your utility? How does it work? Consult with CET’s staff to learn more about how IUI might work in your territory.

01

Analysis of Project & Upfront Cost to Customers

We analyze project costs based on local building stock, offering insights into average and upfront expenses. Our reports empower customers to make informed decisions and project costs accurately.

02

Presentation to Key Stakeholders

We craft presentations for utility staff, commissioners, community members, lawyers, and decision-makers. Tailored to communicate program benefits, objectives, and key considerations effectively, our presentations ensure clear understanding and support.

03

Collaborating on Program Terms with Legal Team

Engage with the utility’s legal team to establish favorable terms and conditions for program implementation. Offer program expertise to ensure legal considerations align with goals and objectives, ensuring smooth implementation.

04

Assistance Identifying & Applying for Capital Financing

We assist clients in identifying suitable capital financing options for their programs. Our services include supporting the application process by providing supplemental program documentation and defining program requirements necessary for securing capital financing.

05

Dynamic Marketing for Program Promotion

Our tailored approach ensures that materials resonate with your target audience, effectively communicating program features and benefits. Additionally, we leverage CET’s social media platforms and submit press releases to local news outlets to share program information widely and maximize outreach.

06

Streamlined Program Administration Support

Provide consultation support for developing program administration processes for efficient program operation

06

Pilot Program Setup and Execution

CET, as your Program Vendor, collaborates with you to establish and execute your pilot program effectively.

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