Power Smart improves business incentives, application process

There's never been a better time to get started on energy efficiency efforts at your business or organization. BC Hydro Power Smart has just announced improvements to the Product Incentive Program (PIP), its key program for small and medium sized businesses.

PIP provides rebates to companies that install energy efficient technologies such as lighting, kitchen equipment, heating and cooling, and sensors and controls. While the technologies themselves help cut the company's energy bills for the long term, the rebates reduce the time it takes to payback the upgrade.

More than 2,000 companies received PIP incentives over the past year, saving enough energy to power more than 7,000 homes each year – and have saved those companies a total of $4.4 million.

Christy Intihar, senior program manager for BC Hydro's Product Incentive Program, says incentives on a number of products have now been improved.

"From a customer perspective, the incentive increase helps make an even better business case for energy efficiency measures," says Intihar. "With more incentive funding from Power Smart, more retrofits come into acceptable payback ranges for our customers. This makes the financial feasibility of being more energy efficient a reality."

The program's application process has also been improved, to help simplify things for customers.

"We recognize that our customers are experts in running their own business, but they don't necessarily have the technical expertise that we were asking for," says Intihar. "With our simplified process, we still get the information we require, but we respect our customer's time. It makes it easier for our customers to undertake efficiency upgrades and receive much needed financial incentives from BC Hydro, without the administrative headache."

Intihar says contractors and distributors who are members of the Power Smart Alliance (PSA) will also find the improved process beneficial, since many PSA members support clients by handling PIP paperwork.

"This will create a time savings for these very busy companies," says Intihar. "We'd much rather see our PSA members working with our customers on new projects than spending their time filling in application forms."

"We believe in a continuous improvement approach to our programs," she continues, "so we're constantly looking for ways to make them more attractive to our customers and industry partners. PIP will continue to evolve over time as we adjust to changing market conditions, feedback from our customers and industry partners and also the rapid pace of new technologies."

Not sure how to get started with the Product Incentive Program? Contact the Power Smart Help Desk by email or call us at 1 866 522 4713.

Nina Winham is a Vancouver-based sustainability consultant and frequent contributor to