$12 M in BC Hydro incentives help companies up efficiency, save

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Power Smart program manager Rob Raymond says that with BC Hydro incentives, the payback on investment in most projects is under three years.

Self-serve Incentive Program supports 549 upgrade projects in four years

Everybody wins.

That's what happens when B.C.'s industrial companies make use of BC Hydro's Self-serve Incentive Program (SIP). The program was launched in 2011 to help eligible companies easily accomplish energy efficiency upgrades that offer good payback periods and cut costs for the long term.

Focused on industrial lighting and air compressors, SIP targets two areas where many operations can achieve significant cost reductions while improving employee satisfaction and process efficiency. Efficiency improvements not only help the companies themselves; they're also the least expensive way for BC Hydro to ensure it can meet future energy needs province-wide.

That's because reducing overall electricity demand across the province is much more cost-effective than creating new electrical generation or upgrading older facilities.

'No-brainer' offer popular with growing group of companies

As of March 31 2015, 311 companies have participated and completed 456 lighting and 93 compressed air projects with the support of SIP. Together, these projects have cut energy usage by more than 56 million kWh a year — that's enough to power 5,100 homes.

And the program is growing in popularity; in the last year alone, SIP has funded 210 projects saving nearly 24 million kWh each year.

More than $12 million in SIP incentives has been paid out over the life of the program, with an average project incentive of $22,000. For companies considering what to do about aging or outdated equipment, the offer of financial support is what often tips the balance between a less-efficient option and one that will reduce energy costs consistently for the long term.

"When we talk to operations managers about SIP and why they chose to take us up on the offer, the words "no-brainer" are almost always the first thing out of their mouths," says Rob Raymond, program manager with Power Smart. "The incentives usually bring a project payback period down under three years, sometimes lower. That makes it easy to sell the idea internally, and a great way to invest in the business."

Energy upgrades also result in non-financial improvements

Although saving energy is the purpose of SIP, the benefits that companies report from the program go beyond the electricity bill.

Updated lighting gives a cleaner, brighter feel, improving employees' work experience and helping boost productivity and reduce errors. While an aging air compressor may run constantly and still leave some equipment periodically starved for air, efficient new compressors ramp up and down smoothly to provide steady, reliable process support.

And with both lighting and air compressor upgrades, maintenance costs decline — sometimes remarkably — once the new equipment is in place.

Program structured to ensure easy access

Accessing the Self-serve Incentive Program requires an equipment vendor or contractor who's a member of the Power Smart Alliance. Members of the Alliance are well-versed in energy efficiency practices and knowledgeable about utility incentive programs and how to apply. Request a referral to a Power Smart Alliance member.

You can also get started with a call the Power Smart Business Helpdesk, at 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.

Applications for SIP incentives must be completed and approved by BC Hydro before a project may begin; this includes ordering or purchasing equipment.

"We're very pleased with the response to SIP from B.C. industrial companies." says Raymond. "By helping them save money, we save energy for everyone. If your company hasn't yet considered how SIP can help cut costs and improve your processes as well as your bottom line, give us a call and learn what energy efficiency incentives can do for your business."

Learn more

Find out which Power Smart incentives your company is eligible for through the Business Program Eligibility Tool.

More information about Power Smart for Business.

Power Smart Business Helpdesk: 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.