Many Americans have inefficient homes and old appliances costing them thousands of dollars a year on their utility bills.  For many, the price of an upgrade or a retrofit is too high.  Low income families who can’t afford up-front costs or taking on new loans or debt are disproportionately impacted.  But with the Pay as You Save system, co-ops pay for upgrades — like insulation, sealing and appliances — and then get repaid through a charge on the household’s bill that’s less than the monthly savings produced from the energy efficiency improvements. That way, the monthly bill still goes down even as costs are repaid, and there’s no debt obligation for families because repayment stays with the meter in case they sell their home or are renting and decide to move out. It’s a remarkable tool co-ops can use to dramatically expand energy savings for members, and it can even be used for local solar or wind projects too.

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