Tex hit: An energy efficiency finance program is trapping Florida homeowners in debt

Advertisement

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Kathryn Meas was in a bind.The air conditioner in her 672-square-foot home died in mid-spring, and she couldn’t afford a new one. Poor credit and a fixed income put a traditional loan out of reach.Her air conditioning company proposed a solution, a new program that helped finance energy-saving home improvements. No money down. No monthly payments. The loan was all but assured. The first payment wasn’t due until the end of the year, the air conditioning salesman said. Kathryn Meas, 61, sits in her nearly empty home. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]Meas, 61, agreed to the deal by signing an electronic tablet. She wasn’t given any paperwork, and she didn’t know the loan amount or the interest rate. She didn’t understand at the time that her annual property taxes would spike from about $300 to $1,200.The financial fallout eventually forced her to sell the home.“I hate selling it,” she said. “I love it here.”In the last three years, more than 4,000 Tampa Bay homeowners financed projects through Property Assessed Clean Energy programs. Known as PACE, the initiatives help homeowners afford energy-efficient upgrades, such as new air conditioners and rooftop solar panels.But the private companies that …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE