The city of Eudora is the latest utility provider to sign on to the state’s zero percent interest loan program, which gives Kansans an extra incentive to make energy efficiency upgrades to homes and small businesses.
In April, Eudora began offering loans that are intended to cover the cost of home improvements that will slash energy bills. For Eudora, the loans can range from $2,000 to $20,000 and will be repaid through a monthly charge on the city’s electric bill.
The energy efficiency upgrades covered through the loans are based on a home energy audit completed before the loan is issued. The loan has to be repaid in 15 years.
The program is part of Efficiency Kansas, a $34 million initiative funded through stimulus money and managed through the Kansas Energy Office.
Eudora is among 17 other city utility providers offering the loan. Lawrence residents can access the zero percent interest loans through Westar Energy, which is the largest utility provider in the state to partner with Efficiency Kansas.
So far, the state has issued a little more than 200 loans.
Don Swartz, the energy manager for the cities of Eudora and Baldwin City, and Eudora School District, said he already knows of a half-dozen Eudora residents who are interested in taking out a loan and two people who have gone ahead with the home energy audit.
“People do seem to be getting more environmentally friendly and are looking to be green and looking for ways to save,” Swartz said.
Eudora Councilwoman Ruth Hughs was the first in the city to get a home energy audit through Efficiency Kansas and thought that loan program would be something that could benefit the city’s 2,450 utility customers.
“We will provide for them a way to do things to make living expenses less, and I like that,” Hughs said.
The intent is for the home improvements to pay for themselves through lower energy bills.
“I think the program is a win-win,” Hughs said.
“It took some convincing” before the Eudora City Council approved the program, Swartz said. Many of the concerns centered on the extra time it would take city staffers to process the loans and applications.
Swartz, whose position is funded through a two-year grant, said he would get the loan program up and running and that software has been upgraded to help manage the loans.
Eudora doesn’t have an application fee for the loan, but each month Efficiency Kansas will apply a $2 administrative fee and the city will tack on a matching $2 fee.
Swartz also is working with Baldwin City to offer the zero percent interest loan program to its electric customers.
Here are some details about Eudora’s loan program and who qualifies for it:
• Customers must have a home energy audit done through the Efficiency Kansas program. Until October 2011, the regular $600 audit will cost $100. Homeowners must pay the auditors $100 when they arrive at the home.
• The resident must be a customer of Eudora’s electric utility.
• Residents must have 12 consecutive months of on-time payments to the electric utility. Also, the customer cannot have had service disconnected because of nonpayment in the past five years.
• Tenants must have their landlord’s approval before taking out a loan. The loan will be repaid through charges on the landlord’s utility bill, not the tenant’s.
• If the owner sells the home or business before the loan is repaid, the loan amount must be disclosed as part of the selling process.
• The first step in the loan process is to get a home energy audit, which can be set up online at EfficiencyKansas.com or by calling 877-448-3185.
• For more information on Eudora’s loan program, contact Swartz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-835-4781.