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Utility companies may soon provide loans for energy upgrades

August 12, 2018

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Utility companies are looking at offering their customers loans for energy-efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems that would be paid back through their monthly utility bills.

The lending system called “on-bill financing” exists in other parts of the country and was recently made possible by a bill signed into law last month, KTOO-FM reported last week.

The new law is “vitally important for the Interior Energy Project,” which aims to expand access to natural gas in the Interior, said Democratic Rep. Adam Wool of Fairbanks.

Customers will be able to request loans for a range of upgrades including solar panels, higher efficiency appliances and switches in heating fuel systems.

“We think it’s a good tool to have, and we certainly will look at using it,” said Cory Borgeson, president and CEO of the Golden Valley Electric Association in Fairbanks.

He was one of the people who testified in favor of the bill before the state Legislature.

A bill signed last month by Gov. Bill Walker gives utility companies the power to suspend service to a customer if they fail to pay back their loan.

Golden Valley needs to set up a bank business before it can implement the loan program, but the company is considering the program for the future, Borgeson said.


Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

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