Utility Dive recognizes co-op leadership on PAYS

Electric cooperatives are leading the way on inclusive financing, with customer-owned utilities in 4 states offering an opt-in tariff for investments in energy efficiency upgrades.  Utility Dive, a leading bulletin for the industry, recognized that leadership with a feature article on Pay As You Save that asked a simple question: “It’s working for co-ops, so how about investor owned utilities?”

Clean Energy Works advises executives in both types of utilities, and while it’s clear that co-ops have a simpler and more efficient decision-making path, it’s also clear that for-profit utilities have a larger potential for impact.  The investor-owned utilities (IOUs) consistently ask for evidence to support analysis of that potential for impact with inclusive financing – and at this point, they are critically dependent on the achievements of executives at electric cooperatives.

To investigate the field experience available as navigational aid to IOUs, Utility Dive sought out Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, and Mark Cayce, CEO of Ouachita Electric Cooperative.  Clean Energy Works is proud to have supported the launch of Upgrade to $ave at Roanoke as well as the HELP PAYS at Ouachita, each of them tariffed on-bill investment programs using the Pay As You Save (PAYS) system.  In addition, Utility Dive turned to the Chief Economist of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for expert insight.

Ultimately, the story concludes at the same place as its headline, “Opt-in tariffs are an increasingly popular way for cooperatives to finance efficiency upgrades.  Why aren’t big utilities following their lead?”

Barely more than a year has passed since Clean Energy Works won a Fire Award for Pay As You Save (PAYS) as a high-impact innovation in finance, a major achievement recognized at the Future of Energy Summit hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  Since then, IOU utilities in multiple states have opened lines of inquiry and started internal due diligence on their own prospects for adopting the PAYS system.  

If Utility Dive is puzzled that electric cooperatives are front-runners for expanding access to opportunity through innovative energy finance, our view is that they have earned that leadership position, and titans in the private sector will surely catch up soon.

Read the full article here.