On-bill financing is receiving a lot of attention as an innovative strategy to improve energy efficiency make people’s homes more comfortable. One of the major advantages of on-bill financing is that it can be offered to property owners who can’t cover the one-time investment in energy efficiency upgrades or aren’t able to qualify for traditional financing options. In this way, on-bill financing programs can be positive for consumers, but as with any consumer financing product, there are potential issues that program administrators should consider, including potential consumer concerns. In some cases, consumer advocacy groups have called into question whether sufficient consumer safeguards were in place to protect consumers within these programs.
For those interested in legal considerations around on-bill finance programs, there isn’t much reported case law to consider. This may be because either the programs are so new that there hasn’t been time for cases to be brought to trial or appealed. In this post, we briefly discuss some of the consumer issues that may arise in the process of designing or implementing an on-bill finance program.