Assemblymember Dababneh Introduces Bill to Strengthen Consumer Protections in California's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program

Friday, August 25, 2017

SACRAMENTO — Today, Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D – Woodland Hills) introduced legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 1284, to expand consumer protections for homeowners participating in California’s Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) by providing a regulatory framework under the California Department of Business Oversight.

The PACE Program helps property owners receive financing for green improvements, including solar, water conservation, and seismic improvement projects on their home. However, the PACE Program in California lacks the proper oversight of third-party administrators and contractors who work with consumers on financing these energy-efficiency projects.

“Since becoming Chair of the Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance, I have worked on making sure consumer protections are part of the PACE program. However, with additional reports surfacing that outline flaws in how contracts are pitched to consumers, it is apparent that an additional tool is needed to protect homeowners and to ensure the PACE program continues to be viable in our state,” remarked Assemblymember Dababneh. “By providing much needed oversight, this bill ensures that the current protections built into the program are enforceable, there is a place for consumers to report problems or get possible issues resolved, and there is an avenue to punish bad actors in this industry.”

AB 1284 will require PACE financing companies to obtain a license from the California Department of Business Oversight. This bill will fortify consumer protections by granting the Department the ability to assess penalties, suspend and/or revoke a license for companies that do not follow the rules currently laid out in California law. The new oversight created will cut down on the unscrupulous practices by bad actors in the industry that trick consumers into participating in the program without fully understanding the impacts it may have on their property taxes and their ability to sell or refinance their home.

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance, Assemblymember Dababneh has been a leader in protecting consumers from common pitfalls in the PACE program. Last year, he authored AB 2693, which added much-needed consumer protections to the market by requiring financial disclosures and a 3-day right to cancel PACE transactions.

AB 1284 will be heard by a Senate policy committee in the coming weeks.

 

PACE Oversight - AB 1284 - Introduction Press Release