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'On-bill' financing law urged to update heating, cooling

Home heating oil gets delivered in Arlington, Mass.

Home heating oil gets delivered in Arlington, Mass. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Americans using fuel oil, natural gas and propane will pay less this winter. (October 2008) Credit: Getty Images

Energy-efficiency contractors this week on Long Island vowed a new push to pass an "on-bill" financing law that would let homeowners and business owners get new boilers and other equipment installed without paying up front. 

Instead, partial payments for boilers, etc., would be stretched out across many years. 

The phrase "on-bill" refers to the fact that each month's payment for that new boiler is listed on the monthly utility bill. 

It's an idea that has been kicking around in Albany for at least two years, and similar bills are being considered across the United States, including Hawaii. Labor unions have shown a major interest in passage. 

Resistance in New York focuses on the concern that “on-bill” financing would drain scarce government funding from better, more effective programs. 

At various times in the past few years, versions of such a bill have passed the Assembly and the Senate, and at one point former Gov. David Paterson seemed to favor it. 

But Long Island contractors this week said they don’t want to wait any longer, and are ready to employ lots of new workers if Albany would only get going. An announcement for a Merrick news conference Wednesday was titled, "We'll Hire -- if You Pass On-Bill Financing Legislation!" 

"On-bill financing would allow moderate income homeowners to safely and easily access loans for energy retrofits with no upfront costs, boosting demand for the services offered by energy contractors," the contractors said. 

The contractors said the bill could generate "$5 billion in third party investments, retrofit one million homes and business units, and create 60,000 jobs across New York --7,500 of them in Long Island."


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