Power Smart offer could save millions for industrial customers

That's why BC Hydro has improved its program that helps industrial transmission service rate customers take on energy efficiency projects, which in some cases could save millions of dollars in annual electricity costs. That means there are good reasons for companies to dust off plans for energy efficiency – and grab a sweet deal while it's even sweeter.

Up to $500,000 upgrade costs, covered

BC Hydro has a standing Transmission Service Rate Incentive program for hard-wired equipment upgrades that reduce electricity consumption. Normally, the program pays all but the first year of payback, up to $500,000 – including equipment, consultants, design, installation, disposal and taxes. Companies that submit time sheets can even be reimbursed for internal engineering and other staff time.

Time-limited Premium offer

Now, BC Hydro has eliminated the company's first-year-payback contribution, for a time-limited period. Upgrades may be reimbursed 100% through the new Premium Incentive Offer [PDF, 1.0 MB],as long as the application is submitted and approved before September, 2010.

The actual incentive is calculated based on the estimated amount of electricity that a project will save, at a rate of $0.02/kWh (levelized). Transmission Service Rate program manager Greg Lehoux says many projects result in the full 100% reimbursement.

Easy application

BC Hydro recognizes that during lean times, even finding staff time to take on a project can be a challenge. That's why the Premium Incentive Offer is designed to make implementation easy – right from the application stage.

"The application process is really driven by the customer's key account manager, so all the customer has to do is identify the project and provide savings estimates," says program manager Lehoux. "A lot of these customers already have some energy efficiency studies completed – they have projects sitting on the shelf. In that case, the application process takes literally no time – their key account manager just has to put an application into our system for them."

From the time the application is approved, the company has 18 months to complete the work required.

Money saved into the future

Upgrades to hard-wired equipment and systems deliver value year after year as a company's electricity consumption is cut.

"Energy efficiency is sometimes discounted by industrial leaders as not a valuable thing to target," says Lehoux. "When I get a bunch of them into a room and ask who has actually seen their energy bill, it's surprising how few hands go up.

"But a two-to-five percent reduction in electricity consumption for some of these companies equals millions of dollars," he says. "And that's money saved every year. It's worth taking a look."

Upgrading saves on maintenance costs, too. "Systems like pumping, compressed air, fans and blowers – those are energy intensive, and they usually result in 100% payback under this program," says Lehoux. "Meanwhile, these are systems that tend to have high inefficiencies. Upgrading to new equipment means there's generally less maintenance, better performance, more uptime – and the possibility of increased production."

Ready for growth

Despite the current crunch, Lehoux says forward-thinking companies are taking advantage of the Premium Incentive Offer to get ready for the next wave of easier times.

"A lot of people are looking forward to some economic growth," he says. "If they're poised for growth, now is the time to put in these hard-wired changes – then they'll be in a position to benefit when the opportunity comes.

"It's clear a company has to put some effort into this to make a hard-wired upgrade occur," says Lehoux. "But we're offering external resources to study the project, design the project and install it. We provide the study funding, the design funding, the installation funding. It's a rare chance to get hard-wired infrastructure upgrades at little or no cost. There's not a lot of reasons why they shouldn't be able to find the time."

Interested companies can download Premium Incentive Offer brochure [PDF, 1.0 Mb].

To learn more about the program or to apply, companies can talk to their BC Hydro Key Account Manager. Remember, the deadline for the Premium Offer is September, 2010. And note that projects that do not qualify for this offer may still qualify for regular incentive programs.