Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Utility Liens

In a new world of utility-supported weatherization, there will be no rebates as incentives. There will be offer of up-front financing of qualified projects, for anyone. What then is fair for those who have the means and desire, to invest their own money? By joining the program, their measures are tracked for detectable savings. There is some hassle, but it is worth it. Tracking involves some fund debit from their utility payments. Those who need the money can get up to 100%, with corresponding draw from utility bills, and they do not see the immediate benefit of the measure in monthly cash flow. Those who can do the investment themselves might choose a "Utility Lien" in up-front cash, of an amount as little as 10% of the measure cost. For all, the distribution of energy-saving investment funds, is described as a "Utility Lien." No consumer gets to keep these funds. Whatever amount they need is interest-free.

Where a project is self-funded, the money is a tax-advantaged investment. There will be advantage in self-funding as much as possible, up to 90%. The monitored investment program shields against claiming weatherization tax credits for unqualified projects. We move on from an unfair world where tax credits are the only federal offer, for people who earn too little to be taxed. We also stop abuse of tax credits, for things like pie in the sky, and tarps. For all, it is a fresh, new program. The current program has been around for years, and for some has been exhausted without completion of all now-qualifying programs.

Senator Merkley: What can we do to help?

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