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10 years, 9,000 B.C. businesses: Incentive program hits milestone

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Power Smart's small business energy-efficiency program has been helping businesses for the past 10 years, with a total of 9,000 B.C. businesses that have participated to date and have together saved enough electricity to power 23,000 homes a year.

In its first decade, small business energy efficiency program saves enough to power 23,000 homes

In business, reaching a 10-year anniversary is a pretty good milestone. It means you've worked out the kinks, figured out your service, and understand how to offer good value.

And in the case of BC Hydro's Product Incentive Program (PIP), which is celebrating 10 years in operation, there's even more cause to celebrate: the 9,000 B.C. businesses that have participated to date have together helped save enough electricity to power 23,000 homes a year.

That's equivalent to powering every home a community the size of Qualicum, Penticton, or West Vancouver.

"The program has been a tremendous success in the market place," says Power Smart's Reid Arkinstall. "It's been extremely well received by both customers and industry due to the nature of the offer and the simplicity of administering the program."

10-year growth: From 40 businesses a year to 1,900

The Product Incentive Program has a simple structure: small and medium-sized businesses that upgrade to eligible energy efficient technology receive a rebate for a portion of the cost of the equipment.

Incentives are offered for a wide variety of lighting, equipment for commercial kitchens, some HVAC technologies, and a few specialty items for ice rinks and farms. The incentives reduce the up-front cost of investing in energy efficiency, shortening the payback time — and positioning the company to save every month on energy bills.

When PIP launched in 2003, 40 businesses took part, saving enough energy to power 120 homes. In 2013, 1,947 businesses participated, undertaking enough upgrades to collectively save enough energy for 2,400 homes.

Energy efficiency program helps variety of business types reduce energy costs

Why the growth?

"It took some time to raise awareness about the importance and value of energy-efficiency," says Arkinstall. "But today, more and more businesses understand that being energy-efficient makes good business sense.

"Companies can reduce their costs while also improving their reputation as enterprises that care about people and the environment. It's a win-win."

ENERGY STAR® estimates that small businesses that invest strategically in energy efficiency can cut utility costs 10 to 30 per cent without sacrificing service, quality, style or comfort — all while making contributions to a more sustainable future.

Our customer success stories bear this out: companies as different as pubs, office supply companies, non-profit offices, grocery markets, yoga studios, strata organizations, museums, theatres, and fine dining restaurants are enjoying reduced costs after getting a little help from PIP.

Use BC Hydro incentives to boost your energy efficiency

"We estimate that there are still significant energy savings out there in B.C.'s small and medium-sized commercial sector," says Arkinstall. "Using the Product Incentive Program to boost your energy efficiency is one of the best ways to lower your costs and improve your service. And the good news is, if you haven't yet taken advantage of PIP, it's never been easier to get started than it is now."

How to get started on energy efficiency:

Changes to incentive application process coming soon

Next year, Power Smart is planning some changes that will improve the incentive application process. Power Smart Partner Express (PSPX) and the Product Incentive Program will be integrated into a single online program in the spring of 2014.

For customers, benefits of the integration include time savings, greater ease determining customer eligibility and a smoother application process through one online platform.

Until the integrated program launches, PSPX and PIP will continue independently and maintain their current requirements and eligibility criteria. Project status will also be unaffected.