24 CFR 990.185 - Utilities expense level: Incentives for energy conservation/rate reduction.
(a) General/consumption reduction. If a PHA undertakes energy conservation measures that are financed by an entity other than HUD, the PHA may qualify for the incentives available under this section. For a PHA to qualify for these incentives, the PHA must enter into a contract to finance the energy conservation measures, and must obtain HUD approval. Such approval shall be based on a determination that payments under a contract can be funded from reasonably anticipated energy cost savings. The contract period shall not exceed 20 years. The energy conservation measures may include, but are not limited to: Physical improvements financed by a loan from a bank, utility, or governmental entity; management of costs under the performance contract; or a shared savings agreement with a private energy service company. All such contracts shall be known as energy performance contracts. PHAs may extend an executed energy performance contract with a term of less than 20 years to a term of not more than 20 years, to permit additional energy conservation improvements without the reprocurement of energy performance contractors. The PHA must obtain HUD approval to extend the term of an executed energy performance contract.
(1) Frozen rolling base.
(i) If a PHA undertakes energy conservation measures that are approved by HUD, the RBCL for the project and the utilities involved may be frozen during the contract period. Before the RBCL is frozen, it must be adjusted to reflect any energy savings resulting from the use of any HUD funding. The RBCL also may be adjusted to reflect systems repaired to meet applicable building and safety codes as well as to reflect adjustments for occupancy rates increased by rehabilitation. The RBCL shall be frozen at the level calculated for the year during which the conservation measures initially shall be implemented.
(ii) The PHA operating subsidy eligibility shall reflect the retention of 100 percent of the savings from decreased consumption until the term of the financing agreement is complete. The PHA must use at least 75 percent of the cost savings to pay off the debt, e.g., pay off the contractor or bank loan. If less than 75 percent of the cost savings is used for debt payment, however, HUD shall retain the difference between the actual percentage of cost savings used to pay off the debt and 75 percent of the cost savings. If at least 75 percent of the cost savings is paid to the contractor or bank, the PHA may use the full amount of the remaining cost savings for any eligible operating expense.
(iii) The annual three-year rolling base procedures for computing the RBCL shall be reactivated after the PHA satisfies the conditions of the contract. The three years of consumption data to be used in calculating the RBCL after the end of the contract period shall be the yearly consumption levels for the final three years of the contract.
(2) PHAs undertaking energy conservation measures that are financed by an entity other than HUD may include resident-paid utilities under the consumption reduction incentive, using the following methodology:
(i) The PHA reviews and updates all utility allowances to ascertain that residents are receiving the proper allowances before energy savings measures are begun;
(ii) The PHA makes future calculations of rental income for purposes of the calculation of operating subsidy eligibility based on these baseline allowances. In effect, HUD will freeze the baseline allowances for the duration of the contract;
(iii) After implementation of the energy conservation measures, the PHA updates the utility allowances in accordance with provisions in 24 CFR part 965, subpart E. The new allowance should be lower than baseline allowances;
(iv) The PHA uses at least 75 percent of the savings for paying the cost of the improvement (the PHA will be permitted to retain 100 percent of the difference between the baseline allowances and revised allowances);
(v) After the completion of the contract period, the PHA begins using the revised allowances in calculating its operating subsidy eligibility; and
(vi) The PHA may exclude from its calculation of rental income the increased rental income due to the difference between the baseline allowances and the revised allowances of the projects involved, for the duration of the contract period.
(3) Subsidy add-on.
(i) If a PHA qualifies for this incentive (i.e., the subsidy add-on, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section), then the PHA is eligible for additional operating subsidy each year of the contract to amortize the cost of the loan for the energy conservation measures and other direct costs related to the energy project under the contract during the term of the contract subject to the provisions of this paragraph (a)(3) of this section. The PHA's operating subsidy for the current funding year will continue to be calculated in accordance with paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of § 990.170 (i.e., the rolling base is not frozen). The PHA will be able to retain part of the cost savings in accordance with § 990.170(c).
(ii) The actual cost of energy (of the type affected by the energy conservation measure) after implementation of the energy conservation measure will be subtracted from the expected energy cost, to produce the energy cost savings for the year.
(iii) If the cost savings for any year during the contract period are less than the amount of operating subsidy to be made available under this paragraph to pay for the energy conservation measure in that year, the deficiency will be offset against the PHA's operating subsidy eligibility for the PHA's next fiscal year.
(iv) If energy cost savings are less than the amount necessary to meet amortization payments specified in a contract, the contract term may be extended (up to the 20-year limit) if HUD determines that the shortfall is the result of changed circumstances, rather than a miscalculation or misrepresentation of projected energy savings by the contractor or PHA. The contract term may be extended only to accommodate payment to the contractor and associated direct costs.
(b) Rate reduction. If a PHA takes action beyond normal public participation in rate-making proceedings, such as well-head purchase of natural gas, administrative appeals, or legal action to reduce the rate it pays for utilities, then the PHA will be permitted to retain one-half the annual savings realized from these actions.
(c) Utility benchmarking. HUD will pursue benchmarking utility consumption at the project level as part of the transition to asset management. HUD intends to establish benchmarks by collecting utility consumption and cost information on a project-by-project basis. In 2009, after conducting a feasibility study, HUD will convene a meeting with representation of appropriate stakeholders to review utility benchmarking options so that HUD may determine whether or how to implement utility benchmarking to be effective in FY 2011. The meeting shall be convened in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. Appendix) (FACA). The HUD study shall take into account typical levels of utilities consumption at public housing developments based upon factors such as building and unit type and size, temperature zones, age and construction of building, and other relevant factors.