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Energy Efficiency

APPA Grant Helps MMWEC Support Decarbonization of Residential Sector

Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company and its energy efficiency provider and partner, CET, on May 6 said it has received a grant from the American Public Power Association to help support decarbonization of the residential sector.

MMWEC is working with CET on CET’s Inclusive Utility Investment program. The IUI program, already successfully piloted for customers of MMWEC Member Ipswich Electric Light Department, is an innovative financing program that enables more residents, including renters, to decarbonize their living spaces at a price they can afford, MMWEC noted.

MMWEC and CET have received a grant of more than $75,000 through APPA’s Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments program to make the program available to more municipal light plants.

The project will provide support to a cohort of two to three MLPs for launching IUI programs.

Under IUI, sometimes known as tariff on-bill financing, the resident who upgrades their home’s electrification or efficiency measures pays a monthly tariff that sums to no more than the savings in energy costs afforded by the new measures.

The tariff is tied to the electric meter, rather than the resident, so that if a resident moves, the tariff simply transfers to the next occupant. Unlike traditional on-bill financing, where a utility makes a loan to a property owner, thus requiring adequate credit history and a willingness to take on debt, IUI decouples capital improvements from the individual resident or business, MMWEC noted.

It is a financing mechanism that enables upgrading properties with measures that reduce operating costs and improve the comfort, health, and environmental footprint of the building, all with little or no upfront capital investment from the ratepayer.

As part of the project, MMWEC will conduct a feasibility study of implementing MMWEC’s unique pooled loan program as a capital pool for MMWEC Member light departments that launch IUI programs.

This pooled loan funding would leverage economies of scale and eliminate the substantial time and resources involved in each individual MLP independently sourcing capital.

“IUI addresses one of the key hurdles to decarbonizing and electrifying the residential sector -- up-front cost,” said Zoe Eckert, MMWEC’s Sustainable Energy Policy and Program Senior Manager. “We are excited to continue our work with CET to expand the availability of this program to more municipal utility customers. The IUI program is an effective tool to enable more people to decarbonize their homes without breaking the bank.”

MMWEC provides a variety of power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state’s consumer-owned, municipal utilities. It is the largest provider of asset-owned generation for municipal light departments in New England.

The DEED program funds research, pilot projects, and education to improve the operations and services of public power utilities.

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