Berea Utility Advisory Board
Meeting Minutes
June 25, 2013

Present:

Josh Bills, Diane Zekind, Ed Fortner, Robert Gunkler.

Absent:

Randy Stone, Rodney Short, Bill Suters

Guests:

Jason Coomes (MACED), Bill Blair (MACED), Steve Wilkins (KFTC)

A.        Announcements

Ed began the meeting and announced that Robert Gunkler was officially appointed to B.U.A.B. by Mayor Steve Connelly.  Mr. Gunkler was with the Division of Water from 1979-1997 in various positions.

B.        Presentation

Josh Bills introduced Jason Coomes and Bill Blair from MACED and Steve Wilkins from KFTC.  The purpose of their visit was to share with B.U.A.B. some additional information on the How$mart program and how MACED has been piloting this on-bill financing program.  On-bill financing was given as a recommendation as part of the recently completed Berea Energy Cost Savings study.

Portions of a presentation given by Michael Volker of Midwest Energy (Kansas) were shared stating that on-bill financing is not necessarily for only low income customers but can provide assistance to them.

Some of the attributes of this program include 1) No upfront capital required 2) Efficiency is paid for on the bill 3) Surcharge less than savings-extensive audit/calibration 4) Repayment tied to the premise-survives occupancy changes

Since 2007, Midwest Energy has worked with 1700+ plans, 900+ building improvements, $5MM utility investment and $5600+ per project.

Why does this work from a utility perspective?  1) Costs are recovered 2) Low risk-disconnect service for non-payment 3) Improves customer satisfaction 4) Politically popular.  Customer satisfaction improves because participants are a lot of times high bill complainers and the program helps to alleviate this burden.

Why does this work from a customer perspective? 1) First cost barrier removed-no large outlay of cash 2) No additional debt 3) Removes split incentive barriers 4) Results in net lower energy bills 5) Benefits include comfort/safety/sustainability.

Bill Blair from MACED provided information on the program they are currently piloting in Jackson county and other areas in eastern Kentucky.  Right now, there are 4 co-ops in the pilot program (which is nearing its conclusion) and for the two year pilot, 200 homes are participating in the program (50/co-op).  They had also used rebate money for the Kentucky Home Performance program that amounted to $150,000 for 150 household projects.  Normally the quoted jobs are marked up 5% so MACED can recover their administrative costs (1%) and to develop a risk fund (4%) to cover any bad debt.  All potential participants are pre-screened prior to the audit.

Ed voiced his continuing concerns with BMU launching a similar program including the staffing resources to administer the program, who winds up carrying/managing the debt and the fact that Berea is a low-to-moderate income city with a lot of rental turnover.  It was decided that a meeting with Randy Stone be set up to review the MACED program and determine what the next steps could be.

C.        Future Meetings

Meetings are the 4th Tuesday of each month.

The next BUAB meeting will meet the 23rd of July 2013.

Please send Joyce a courtesy email if you will not be able to attend the meeting.

 

Minutes submitted by:                              Diane Zekind