Power Smart business incentives: 5 things you need to know

5 tips to help make the most of Power Smart Express and its incentives

Preparing a Power Smart Express application? Tips for avoiding delays

Since June 2014, Power Smart Express has issued hundreds of financial incentives to businesses such as the Bains Family Dollar Store in Kamloops and Beach Basket Giftware in the Fraser Valley to help ease the cost of completing energy-efficiency upgrades.

However, some Power Smart Express incentive applications don't meet the eligibility requirements. We asked Jenn Shum, a marketing specialist at BC Hydro and one of the individuals responsible for facilitating the program, to fill us in on the reasons why an application may not receive project pre-approval.

Incentives are designed for upgrades; They're not 'buy-new' incentives

"Power Smart Express is a replacement program," explains Shum. "Its goal is to encourage customers to upgrade outdated lights, fixtures and equipment to longer-lasting and more energy-efficient options.

"The program doesn't provide financial incentives for business customers to buy new energy-efficient lights or equipment outright. Customers need to demonstrate in their application that an upgrade is taking place."

Incentives are calculated based on a number of key variables  

"We consider a number of variables when we calculate program incentives,' says Shum. 'For example, the amount of kilowatt-hour energy savings the project will achieve [which depends on the type of retrofit implemented], a business' hours of operation, labour costs and the overall cost of the project.

"To avoid delays during the program's pre-approval process, customers need to provide this information up-front in their application."

CFLs are not eligible for a Power Smart incentive

"The life span of an LED is about three times longer than that of a CFL, which means upgrading to an LED over a CFL may be in a customer's best interest," explains Shum. "LEDs are generally more expensive than CFLs. However, their excellent efficiency and extended life make them more cost-efficient than CFLs in certain applications."

The technology and product model in your application must be listed in the e.Catalog

"Some technologies are not eligible for Power Smart Express incentives," acknowledges Shum. "Tubular LEDs (TLEDs) are a good example. Right now, we're working closely with the BC Safety Authority to develop and implement safer and more rigorous installation methods for TLEDs. Until TLEDs meet BC Hydro's safety requirements, we are unable to include them in the program."

"With that said, new items are added to Power Smart Express all the time," adds Shum. "I encourage customers to check the e.Catalog before submitting an application. If it's on our list, it's eligible for a Power Smart Express incentive."

LED performance varies widely; it's important to choose the right LED for your fixture

"Installing the right LED, in the right application, is key," advises Shum. "LEDs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. To avoid costly mistakes and delays, customers are encouraged to work with a trusted member of BC Hydro's Power Smart Alliance. Alliance members can give advice about the latest LED technologies and which ones are a good fit for your business, budget and aesthetic."

To learn more about Power Smart business incentives, talk to a Power Smart Alliance member or visit