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LiveSmart BC provides energy expertise to small businesses, for free

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Do you run a B.C. business that spends less than $50,000 a year on electricity? If so, you may be able to take advantage of the LiveSmart BC Small Business Program, which offers free advice from experts and a variety of incentives to help you save energy and money.

But hurry. The program closes on March 31, 2013

Brooke McMurchy, a program coordinator for small business energy efficiency programs with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, estimates that well over 9,000 small businesses have already been helped by the $17 million program.

In particular, the program's Business Energy Advisors (BEAs) have played a significant role in helping small businesses over the energy efficiency hump.

Business Energy Advisors work for you

For many small businesses, researching and implementing energy efficient changes poses an insurmountable challenge. That's where the BEAs come in.

"Small businesses don't always have the time, people, or money to look into energy efficiency upgrades," says McMurchy. "So to have a human resource help them out for free is a really big benefit."

BEAs can identify energy and money saving opportunities, research applicable incentives, and even work with contractors to help manage the installation of equipment.

"Some of the businesses have gone through BC Hydro's Product Incentive Program and others have implemented smaller changes that there were no incentives for, but in both cases the businesses said that without the BEAs to help them, they would not have gotten around to making those changes, at least not as soon as they did," says McMurchy.

Incentives cut costs of energy-efficient products

BEAs are not the only benefit the program offers. Depending on electricity use and location, participants may qualify for enhanced incentives:

  • a 10% top-up to the BC Hydro Product Incentive Program, which includes more than 10,000 energy efficient technologies;
  • a direct install program that covers 100% of the cost for eligible businesses to install select products, such as lighting; and,
  • enhanced incentives for eligible Fortis Gas customers upgrading boilers and water heaters.

McMurchy says that lighting upgrades have been popular through the program. "BC Hydro offers a lot of incentives [for lighting], so it's an easy win," she says. "And businesses realize that it's more financially viable to do it now instead of waiting a couple of years."

Program deadline is March 31, 2013

The program closes on March 31, 2013, so McMurchy recommends interested businesses get started in the program no later than January, 2013. Of course, sooner is always better.

To get started:

  • Download the eligibility requirements [PDF] for the various components to see which parts of the program are applicable.
  • Contact a Business Energy Advisor in your region or sector. You can view the map of Business Energy Advisors to find out the contact information for one in your area.

Further questions? Visit the LiveSmart small business main program page, or call the help desk at 1 866 430 8765.