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Switch it Up! Program

FAQs

Is there a paper application available?

Yes, printable applications can be found here.

OPALCO got the money for this program at 0% interest; why charge members 2%?

The interest ensures that costs are born by the participants of this program, not the general membership. Our lender, USDA/RUS requires that we maintain a reserve in case loans are not paid back. Costs covered by the 2% interest include staff time, county filing fees, marketing costs, loss reserves, etc.

What happens if I decide to refinance or sell my home and there is a security filed?

You are required to disclose the Energy Conservation Charge to the subsequent purchaser. The charge is a tariff of the utility for electric service. The repayment obligation is assigned to the premises and survives changes in ownership and/or tenancy. No action is required from OPALCO if you refinance. Consult your lender.

How and when does OPALCO pay for the project?

After the project is completed, the contractor will send the invoice and the Contractor Release Form to OPALCO. Once OPALCO verifies all documents are complete the funds will be disbursed directly to the contractor, usually within one to two weeks.

How do I choose a contractor?

Members are fully responsible for selecting and coordinating with contractors. For ductless heat pumps, you may choose a contractor from OPALCO’s List*:

  • Barron Heating 360-676-1131
  • Bion Island Plumbing 360-376-6700
  • Harbor Heating 360-298-5518
  • Rex Ellsworth 360-378-5259
  • Sage Building Solutions 360-468-4040
  • San Juan Heating 360-317-6554
  • Streamside Renewables 360-376-6444
  • West Mechanical 360-378-5519

Another good resource for ductless heat pump contractors is: goingductless.com.

*please note, the contractors listed are familiar with OPALCO’s programs and policies. OPALCO does not endorse any contractor.

What do I do after I receive my approval letter?

With your approval letter, you will also receive an Energy Conservation Agreement. Your next step is to review and sign the ‘Switch It Up! On-Bill Energy Conservation Agreement’ and, once the signed agreement is returned to OPALCO, you are ready to contact your contractor for installation. For all measures, the member is responsible for selecting and coordinating installation with the contractor. Once OPALCO received the signed Agreement, your contractor can do the work.

Is there a time limit on my application?

Your application (including a quote from your contractor) and project approval is valid for six months. If your application is older than six months, you may be required to complete a new application.

When is a Conservation Charge filing required by OPALCO?

OPALCO may require a filing based on several criteria: 1) amount requested for project financing, 2) total balance of all active OPALCO financing, and 3) payment and credit history with OPALCO. If a filing is required, it will be noted on your project approval letter.

Is there a security filing?

No, but we do record a filing with the San Juan County Clerk (must be notarized!). The actual document filed is a Notice of Meter Conservation Charge (NMCC), which is a recorded public notification that a financial obligation is attached to the metered location. While this filing does not place a lien on the homeowner’s property, the tariff charge is required to be disclosed to the subsequent home purchaser when selling the home. Since the charge stays with the home, you are required to disclose it when selling your house.

How does OPALCO determine how to approve or deny?

OPALCO uses a decision matrix that considers the amount of the project, your OPALCO payment history, and the details of the installation. On occasion, you may be asked for additional information to determine eligibility.

How long does it take to get financing approved?

After OPALCO receives the completed application, approval may take up to 15 days. You will receive a letter and/or an email from OPALCO notifying you of approval or denial.

Can the project repayment be included on my OPALCO bill?

Yes, your monthly tariff charge will appear as a separate line item on your bill.

I own an apartment building and/or multiple properties. Do I have the same limits as a single-family residence?

Yes, the same limits per meter apply.

How many projects can I apply for?

Members can apply for as many projects as they like, limited to one of each available measure up to $36,000 per meter and pending funding availability. Members with multiple accounts could have multiple measures attached to multiple meters. Each must be applied for separately.

How much can I finance?

Each program measure has defined dollar limits. EV charging stations have a project cap of $2,500 each, heat pump water heaters are capped at $3,500. Fiber to the home and ductless heat pumps have a cap of $15,000.

Are there any administrative fees?

Yes. A fee of $50 is charged to the member’s account after the work has been completed and the project funds are disbursed. There is no fee if a customer does not complete the project. Members can roll the fee into the project financing.

Can I get a rebate AND finance my project?

No. Members may still choose to install and pay for the measure themselves and then submit to OPALCO for a rebate OR apply for on-bill financing. However, if you’re doing a fuel-switching measure (propane, oil, wood, etc. to electricity), there may be additional incentives available. Please contact us for more information.

Is this a loan?

No. Members sign an agreement with OPALCO to opt-in to a meter conservation charge tariff which is placed on the metered utility service. The tariff includes the calculation factors included in the meter conservation charge. The tariff is just like any other charge for electric service on your bill.

Do I have to be the owner of the property?

No. However, owners of record must complete an application and sign an agreement to accept responsibility for communicating the charges with their current and any future tenants. OPALCO will only finance projects if the verifiable property owner(s) sign an agreement.

Why is OPALCO now financing home efficiency projects?

To remove the main barrier to entry: the up-front costs. Providing low-interest financing allows more members to tap into the significant energy savings offered by modern ductless heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. A connection to fiber give members the tools they need to better monitor and control efficiency measures, maximizing savings.

How long can I finance my project? What is the term?

The on-bill financing period varies by measure:

  • Ductless Heat Pumps: 10 years
  • Fiber to the Home: 10 years
  • Heat Pump Water Heaters: 5 years
  • EV Chargers: 3 years
What is the interest rate on financing?

2% amortized

Am I eligible for Switch it Up?

All OPALCO members may apply. Eligibility is determined by two factors: 1) your credit rating with OPALCO (no arrears and a good bill payment history); and 2) your proposed equipment is qualified for the measure. Your contractor will know which equipment meets the standards.

If you are not the property owner, the owner must sign an agreement, since the improvements and financing charges stay with the property.

Financing

OPALCO got the money for this program at 0% interest; why charge members 2%?

The interest ensures that costs are born by the participants of this program, not the general membership. Our lender, USDA/RUS requires that we maintain a reserve in case loans are not paid back. Costs covered by the 2% interest include staff time, county filing fees, marketing costs, loss reserves, etc.

What happens if I decide to refinance or sell my home and there is a security filed?

You are required to disclose the Energy Conservation Charge to the subsequent purchaser. The charge is a tariff of the utility for electric service. The repayment obligation is assigned to the premises and survives changes in ownership and/or tenancy. No action is required from OPALCO if you refinance. Consult your lender.

How and when does OPALCO pay for the project?

After the project is completed, the contractor will send the invoice and the Contractor Release Form to OPALCO. Once OPALCO verifies all documents are complete the funds will be disbursed directly to the contractor, usually within one to two weeks.

When is a Conservation Charge filing required by OPALCO?

OPALCO may require a filing based on several criteria: 1) amount requested for project financing, 2) total balance of all active OPALCO financing, and 3) payment and credit history with OPALCO. If a filing is required, it will be noted on your project approval letter.

Is there a security filing?

No, but we do record a filing with the San Juan County Clerk (must be notarized!). The actual document filed is a Notice of Meter Conservation Charge (NMCC), which is a recorded public notification that a financial obligation is attached to the metered location. While this filing does not place a lien on the homeowner’s property, the tariff charge is required to be disclosed to the subsequent home purchaser when selling the home. Since the charge stays with the home, you are required to disclose it when selling your house.

How long does it take to get financing approved?

After OPALCO receives the completed application, approval may take up to 15 days. You will receive a letter and/or an email from OPALCO notifying you of approval or denial.

Can the project repayment be included on my OPALCO bill?

Yes, your monthly tariff charge will appear as a separate line item on your bill.

How much can I finance?

Each program measure has defined dollar limits. EV charging stations have a project cap of $2,500 each, heat pump water heaters are capped at $3,500. Fiber to the home and ductless heat pumps have a cap of $15,000.

Can I get a rebate AND finance my project?

No. Members may still choose to install and pay for the measure themselves and then submit to OPALCO for a rebate OR apply for on-bill financing. However, if you’re doing a fuel-switching measure (propane, oil, wood, etc. to electricity), there may be additional incentives available. Please contact us for more information.

Is this a loan?

No. Members sign an agreement with OPALCO to opt-in to a meter conservation charge tariff which is placed on the metered utility service. The tariff includes the calculation factors included in the meter conservation charge. The tariff is just like any other charge for electric service on your bill.

Why is OPALCO now financing home efficiency projects?

To remove the main barrier to entry: the up-front costs. Providing low-interest financing allows more members to tap into the significant energy savings offered by modern ductless heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. A connection to fiber give members the tools they need to better monitor and control efficiency measures, maximizing savings.

How long can I finance my project? What is the term?

The on-bill financing period varies by measure:

  • Ductless Heat Pumps: 10 years
  • Fiber to the Home: 10 years
  • Heat Pump Water Heaters: 5 years
  • EV Chargers: 3 years
What is the interest rate on financing?

2% amortized