Manage your tenant vacancies more effectively

Image of doors in an office hallway
A rental premise agreement is the easiest way to ensure that you don't lose power at vacant properties between tenants.

Stay on top of energy management between tenants with new tools and incentives

When commercial tenants vacate a space, there are challenges and opportunities. As a property manager, you may want to seize the chance to upgrade a suite while it's empty to keep up with market expectations. You may have an incoming tenant who has specific renovation interests or needs. Or you may simply want to keep the lights on so you can show the suite to prospective tenants.

To help with these needs, BC Hydro has several programs in place.

Keep the electricity on between tenants with a Rental Premise Agreement

If your tenants pay BC Hydro directly for their electrical service, service could be shut off between tenants. This could happen if the suite is vacated but no new application for service has been made. With a Rental Premise Agreement (RPA), the electrical account automatically transfers to you in between tenants. This ensures continuous service — whether you need it for renovation work or to show the suite to prospective renters — which will help your new tenant have electrical service immediately upon move-in.

"The RPA is a way to reduce your time spent on paperwork and administration," says Cory Farquharson, BC Hydro key account manager. "If you don't have an RPA in place and you want to keep electrical service on between tenants, as property managers you will need to apply for the service every time you have a tenant turnover.

"With an RPA, the account always stays in service and just transfers between you and your tenant, seamlessly."

You can apply for a Rental Premise Agreement online. Then, be sure to encourage incoming tenants to plan ahead and set up their electricity service before the date they plan to move in. Tell them to visit or call 1 800 BC HYDRO (1 800 224 9376). When they move in, the electrical account will be transferred from you to them, without interruption.

Sweeten rental offers with BC Hydro incentives for energy-efficient lighting

If you offer tenant improvement funding to incoming tenants, and your suites have older inefficient lighting, you may be able to leverage BC Hydro incentives for mutual benefit.

Upgraded lighting allows you to ensure your building is as efficient as possible, and attracts tenants who care about green features. For your tenant, energy-efficient lighting means lower bills — also a valuable selling point and one that can help with tenant retention.

BC Hydro's Power Smart Express program offers incentives that help cover on average 35 per cent of the cost of a retrofit project. Meanwhile, advice and support from a Business Energy Advisor is available for free. And members of the Power Smart Alliance — trade professionals knowledgeable about energy efficiency and BC Hydro incentives — can help your incoming tenant make the most of tenant improvement dollars that are on the table.

"It's worth knowing what we offer here at BC Hydro, so that you can present your building and your rental offer in the best light possible," says Farquharson. "A lighting retrofit — including occupancy sensors and improved light quality — may be more affordable than you realize."

Visit for more detail about Rental Premise Agreements and quick access to forms and information for your tenants. And check out Power Smart Express for a full list of technologies (including commercial kitchens and refrigeration) that are eligible for incentives, plus link to other information and success stories.

"The message we want to get out is that we've made it easier for property managers to manage energy," says Farquharson. "We want property managers to know we have the tools, the online forms, and the incentives that can help them with smooth electrical service and opportunities for savings."