Veto Averted as Energy Usage Bill Becomes Law
By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law that is intended to help more homeowners and renters access and afford clean energy. Under House Bill 1520, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is tasked with investigating how an on-bill financing program could operate in Hawai’i. The measure also gives the PUC the discretion to implement such a program.
On-bill financing allows an electric utility company customer to purchase a renewable energy system or device on their electric bill and pay for it over time through energy savings. The governor said he supports the program because of the potential to advance clean energy goals and creating green jobs.
Gov. Abercrombie initially placed the measure on his intent-to-veto list saying it required the PUC to complete an investigation without any additional resources. Since that time, private partners led by the Blue Planet Foundation have stepped forward, offering to work with the PUC to cover costs, and lessen the burden of fulfilling the bill requirements.
“If this partnership can come together as envisioned, a docket on on-bill financing can be opened right away. We can determine whether and how an on-bill financing program can be designed so that more people can participate in Hawai’i’s clean energy future,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “Working together, we can advance our clean energy goals with the kind of urgency and determination that these times demand.”