Author: PACENation Published: 11/5/2021 NEWS
Consumer Protections Adopted by PACENation Increase Accountability and Transparency for Residential PACE Programs, Include Ability-to-Pay Provisions and Strong Protections for Seniors and Low-Income Homeowners
OAKLAND, CA—PACENation announced today the adoption of 22 Consumer Protection Policies for Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) that will apply to R-PACE programs nationwide. The adopted policies establish a national framework for enhanced accountability and transparency within R-PACE programs, offering greater protections for all consumers and additional protections for low-income homeowners and those over the age of 75.
“This comprehensive set of consumer protections is a major milestone for Residential PACE,” said PACENation Executive Director Colin Bishopp. “For the first time, we have a national standard for R-PACE programs that is more comprehensive and far more robust than anything set forth by state and local governments. The new standard incorporates established best practices alongside detailed recommendations made by consumer advocates and experienced policy makers. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure the highest quality of consumer safeguards for every homeowner who chooses Residential PACE.”
The recently adopted consumer protection policies are the culmination of a year-long effort that included multiple conversations with consumer advocates, policy makers, civil rights organizations, and environmental and faith-based organizations. Some of the consumer protections are new to R-PACE. The new protections will be fully implemented by all R-PACE providers by March 30, 2022.
R-PACE financing enables homeowners to make critical home upgrades that improve the efficiency, safety and comfort of their homes, often while lowering their utility bills. R-PACE has proven itself to be an essential public policy for expanding access to affordable financing for homeowners who may not have access to traditional financing options.
“Too often, access to affordable capital for home and business improvements is only available to the wealthy, leaving historically underserved communities behind. PACE financing helps address the access to capital crisis for underprivileged communities in a way that no other financing option does,” said Adolphus Pruitt, President of the St. Louis City NAACP. “Ensuring that homeowners who utilize PACE receive the strongest consumer protections will help to advance Residential PACE policy while promising that a continued investment in the clean and resilient economy is available to all Americans.”
To date, R-PACE has helped finance improvements for more than 300,000 projects, representing more than $7 billion in clean and resilient investments, creating more than 120,000 jobs and generating more than $15 billion in local economic activity.
“PACENation’s readiness to self-implement these robust standards on their industry is a reflection of their commitment to the communities they serve,” said Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julio Fuentes. “Not only is R-PACE a local job creator, but it is also one of the few financing models out there that works to ensure equitable access to energy improvements for historically underserved communities. These consumer protections will safeguard R-PACE’s ability to continue successfully providing solutions where traditional lending simply cannot.”
“Over the past decade, the R-PACE program has experienced significant growth. Today, R-PACE has a $15 billion impact on our economy and its consumer protections have evolved along with it to incorporate meaningful homeowner safeguards and protections,” said California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Julian Canete. “This set of 22 principles attests to PACENation’s ability to grow and evolve alongside the needs of its industry’s customers, further boosting transparency and creating safer, more resilient communities.”
Beyond the immediate benefits to homeowners, R-PACE is also a powerful public policy tool that enables state and local governments to meet important sustainability goals. Cities and counties across the country continue to adopt R-PACE programs because they help local governments to advance key policy priorities, such as storm hardening, reduced carbon emissions, higher energy savings, and water conservation.
“In order to achieve energy sustainability, there must be equitable access to energy efficient options,” said James Owen, Executive Director of Renew Missouri. “The R-PACE program is a vital public policy tool, helping to develop new opportunities for millions of homeowners to live in more sustainable, healthy, and efficient homes, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions and improving the resilience of local communities. These 22 consumer protection principles will help to ensure R-PACE continues to be an essential tool to improve our environment well into the future.”
For a detailed list and description of the 22 R-PACE Consumer Protection Policies, click here.
PACENation is the national nonprofit association that works alongside policymakers and community stakeholders to strengthen and expand access to assessment-based financing for residential and commercial projects that increase energy efficiency, clean energy, clean drinking water, and resilience against natural disasters. Our membership community includes state and local governments, environmental and faith-based organizations, energy efficiency and climate policy experts, small businesses, PACE administrators and PACE lenders. Members may have different individual goals, but they share a desire to create resilient and resource-efficient communities.