Business Energy Advisors help industrial companies make the most of incentive opportunities – for free
Energy advisors offer a diverse range of services
It's not every day that someone offers you free help. But right now, businesses in B.C. interested in energy efficiency can get assistance from a Business Energy Advisor (BEA) at no charge. The Business Energy Advisor program is funded by BC Hydro and FortisBC for a limited time.
Ida Keung is a business energy advisor focused on providing support to industrial customers in the Lower Mainland. In her many visits to businesses, she has helped those who have not yet started on energy efficiency, to those who aim to be leaders in their sector, and everyone in between.
Advisors offer knowledge, troubleshooting and support, right through the upgrade project
The first step with a BEA is a site assessment, to look over a company's facilities and energy bills. BEAs can then help connect the company to the appropriate Power Smart Alliance vendor to help determine the best upgrades based on potential energy savings and available incentives.
Beyond just information, however, the BEA program is designed to remove one of the biggest barriers facing medium-sized companies: a lack of time.
"I help them with the incentive program," says Keung. "I register them, take them through the application, work directly with the their Power Smart Alliance vendor and follow up to see when quotes can be available.
"If they decide to do the upgrade, I see that through, help with troubleshooting any problems. I take a lot of time in touching base with the customer and the vendor to push the project forward and make sure things are going smoothly," she says.
"Basically, I take a big part of the workload off their hands, to make it easy for them."
Make use of incentives while they last
Keung says this is an excellent time for companies to look into energy efficiency. Rising energy costs mean increasing bottom-line savings. BEA services are provided for free. And incentives are currently available to significantly reduce project costs. But she warns that this will not always be the case.
"A lot of people are taking action right away, because the longer they wait, the less incentives there might be," says Keung. "A lot of the technology, for example T12 fluorescent tubes, they're phasing out within the next year. If a company doesn't take action now, they won't be able to get incentives for them later on."
Keung says lighting is often one of the best "low-hanging" upgrades, with incentives that bring payback periods down to 1-4 years, even for long-lasting LED lighting.
The Self-serve Incentive Program offers incentives for lighting and compressed air upgrades. BEAs can also help companies with custom project applications (for items such as refrigeration), and help with accessing FortisBC incentives.
Keung says the increase in BC Hydro rates this year has caused many companies to get in touch with her to explore ways to save money.
"Lighting and air compressor upgrades are easy-win and quick payback, so they're saving a whole lot of energy," she says. "Like I said, a lot of inefficient technology is being phased out, so they'll have to do the upgrade anyway. Why not do it right now, and get a big part of your project paid for by BC Hydro?"
Contact a business energy advisor for a free energy consultation
There are six BEAs in B.C.; three in the Lower Mainland, and others in Prince George, in the Kootenay-Okanagan area, and on Vancouver Island. You can request a free energy consultation by email or through the Power Smart Business Help Desk at 1 866 522 4713.