Consumer Protections

PACENation’s Consumer Protection Policies V2

These policies provide the strongest protections for homeowners using PACE to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency, and water efficiency home upgrades. The standards address eligibility requirements, ability to repay, disclosures, privacy concerns, contractor conduct, as well as comprehensive operational requirements for PACE Programs.

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Updated Consumer Protection Policies, released at PACENation Summit, form basis for enforceable state and local legislation

DENVER, Feb. 16 – PACENation, the national, non-profit advocacy organization for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, today announced an important update to its 2016 residential PACE Consumer Protection Policies. The enhanced standards include customer supports and safeguards that go well beyond those found in any other form of home-improvement financing and are designed to facilitate the successful expansion of PACE to new states and local communities.

Homeowners use PACE to make qualified energy and efficiency upgrades to their properties and pay for them over time with a new line item on their property taxes. To date, PACE has empowered more than 130,000 homeowners to invest over $3.4 billion in projects that make their homes more comfortable and less expensive to heat, light and cool. It is estimated that PACE projects will help lower residential utility bills by billions of dollars. Local government sponsors of PACE point to the energy and environmental goals PACE helps achieve, the more than 20-thousand jobs that PACE has created or supports in their communities, and that it has little or no impact on their public budgets.

The newly updated policies, released at the 2017 PACENation Summit in Denver today, adopt key components of the U.S. Department of Energy’s best practices for residential PACE financing programs announced in November 2016. The updated policies include the following requirements:

  • all PACE programs must offer simple but comprehensive disclosures which provide a clear, three day right to cancel and are modeled on the federal Know-Before-You-Owe disclosure form now used for home mortgages, even though the average PACE assessment is under $25,000;
  • all PACE programs must confirm financing terms by phone with 100 percent of customers in a live, recorded call that reinforces the written disclosures;
  • all PACE programs must set standards governing contractor marketing practices and workmanship issues, including adopting processes to resolve and remediate homeowner complaints – a level of consumer protection not available with any other form of home improvement financing;
  • all PACE programs must develop a forbearance program for homeowners who unexpectedly suffer financial hardship, including extra protections for U.S. military servicemembers; and
  • PACE providers must begin collecting monthly household income and debt obligations at the time of homeowner application in order to help develop income-based financing criteria that PACENation will use to amend underwriting standards.

PACENation encourages government issuing partners and state governments to adopt the Consumer Protection Policies to ensure that all PACE providers are held to high standards and that these standards are commonly adhered to across all PACE programs.

“As PACE catches on in communities across the country, meaningful standards for all providers will help deliver on PACE’s promise,” said PACENation Executive Director David Gabrielson. “It’s clear that PACE is making a difference overcoming barriers that have really hindered broader use of smart energy technologies. State and local government partners should require these safeguards, giving greater peace of mind to homeowners and policymakers.”

The updated Consumer Protection Polices build on the standards that PACENation issued last year, which included underwriting requirements, post-funding support for homeowners, privacy policies, contractor requirements, controls for eligible measures and product confirmation processes – not found through other forms of financing – and other provisions.

Many of the new consumer protections have already been deployed in the market by the largest residential PACE providers in recent months, and are also supported by the many government partners who make PACE financing possible in hundreds of communities across the United States.

PACENation looks forward to working with stakeholders, including government issuing partners, PACE providers, and consumer advocates to implement these standards in ways that are simple, usable and enforceable.

Download PACENation’s CPP V2.

About PACENation

PACENation is a national, non-profit organization serving the interests and needs of over 300 member organizations that share a common goal of making PACE financing available to all building owners throughout the United States. PACENation is building a broader PACE network by providing standards, information, resources, and advice to a growing universe of PACE market stakeholders. To learn more, visit http://www.PACENation.us.

PACENation Releases Consumer Protection Policies for Residential PACE Market

 

Today, PACENation has released Consumer Protection Policies for the residential property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs. These policies (CPP V1) provide the strongest protections for homeowners using PACE or any other type of financing who want to invest in clean energy and water efficiency upgrades to their properties. They address a homeowner’s eligibility for financing and ability to repay, comprehensive financial disclosures, appropriate contractor conduct, acceptable products and projects (with pricing guidelines), post-funding support, treatment of protected classes, grievance procedures, data security and privacy matters. CPP V1 also emphasizes the operational requirements that PACE programs and financial and administrative service providers must meet to ensure that standards set by these policies are met.

PACENation Executive Director David Gabrielson said, “PACENation’s Consumer Protection Policies create a meet-or-exceed standard that PACENation member organizations should adhere to. When it comes to PACE, nothing is more important than protecting the interests of homeowners, and CPP V1 is designed to do just that.”

PACE financing enables a much broader range of homeowners to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements that increase the value, comfort, functionality, and sustainability of their homes. Such improvements make homes less costly to operate and more comfortable to live in, while simultaneously reducing energy and water consumption. Without PACE Programs many homeowners would not have affordable access to these upgrades. To date, over 80,000 homeowners have used PACE for clean energy and water conservation measures that will save 9.1 billion kWh of energy, 3.4 billion gallons of water, cut carbon emissions by 2.5 million tons, and knock $2.5 billion off homeowner utility bills. It is estimated that the money spent on these projects has created over 13,000 local jobs.

PACE programs, their government sponsors, and the associated parties who help implement them, provide advice, tools and resources that allow homeowners to make smart, informed and responsible choices. PACE programs must therefore be responsible for ensuring that the advice, tools and resources provided are appropriate and accurate. Care must be taken with homeowners before, during and after the origination of program financing. Consumer protections that serve homeowners must be a core value of PACE programs and all associated parties.

CPP V1 is based on standards, developed by PACENation and members who are market leaders. They have already been adopted in substance by PACE programs offered through the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (Alliance NRG, CaliforniaFirst, and PACE Funding) and the Western Riverside Council of Government (HERO). Standards set forth in CPP V1 are also supported in principle by other PACE service and finance providers and by a number of government sponsors of PACE financing.

Follow this link to read the full document: http://www.pacenation.us/consumer-protection-policies/

PACENation is a national, non-profit, organization serving the interests and needs of over 300 member organizations that share a common goal of making PACE financing available to all building owners throughout the United States. PACENation is building a broader PACE network by providing information, resources, and advice to a growing universe of PACE market stakeholders. To learn more, visit http://www.PACENation.us


DOE’s Best Practice Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing Programs (2016)

In 2016, DOE released updated guidelines for residential PACE programs. PACENation is working with residential PACE providers to incorporate DOE’s and PACENation’s guidelines into PACENation’s Consumer Protection Policies Version 2.

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