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Recent program changes – your questions answered

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Answering your questions about recent program updates

In July, we announced updates to BC Hydro incentives for commercial business customers. Let's take a deeper look at what that will mean for you and your customers.

What it means for Key Account customers

Targets met for fiscal 17: We've received enough project applications from Key Account customers to reach our program targets for this fiscal year, which runs through March 31, 2017. So we're no longer accepting applications for Leaders in Energy Management ("Custom") or Business Energy Saving Incentives projects. If you try to start or submit an application online, you'll get a message stating that program targets have been achieved for the year.

Back next year, but with a change: In January, programs will reopen to Key Account customers to submit applications for projects for completion between April 2017 and March 2018. However, to qualify for the Leaders in Energy Management program, Key Account customers will be required to have an Energy Manager. All Commercial Key Account customers will be still be eligible for the Business Energy Saving Incentives program.

What it means for those without Key Account managers

Incentives remain, for now: Business Energy Saving Incentives remain available to customers without Key Account Managers. For any application or proposal that has been started but not yet submitted for pre-approval, we suggest that you recalculate the incentive before submitting the application. Keep in mind that once the program is fully subscribed we will defer applications until the next fiscal year.

Q & A: Your questions answered

Since the program update announcement in July, we've had a few inquiries from Alliance members that you may find useful.

Q. I have been working with BC Hydro programs for years and have never encountered a financial cap before. Is this new to the program?

A. No, operating on annual budgets for the programs isn't new; it's how we've operated for years. What's new is that we've reached our Commercial program targets earlier than expected, so we can't commit any further project funding.

Q. I was under the impression that all electricity savings were good for the customer and for BC Hydro. Why are you limiting them now by not accepting more applications?

A. BC Hydro has always strived to help customers adopt energy-efficient technologies that help their bottom line and their business. However, there are limits to what our programs can offer in terms of incentive funding.

Q. My customer won't proceed with their retrofit without an incentive. What else can I do?

A. Now is the time to demonstrate to your customers the benefits of the project and the technology. With LEDs, the energy savings alone can make the project payback attractive. Other benefits might include lower replacement and maintenance costs, improved lighting for safety and added benefits of controls. You can also introduce vendor financing as an alternative for funding an efficiency project.

Q. We've been working with a Key Account customer for some time putting together a large lighting project, but haven't submitted it yet. Will we still have the opportunity to submit?

A. Unfortunately, we aren't able to accept any new applications for Key Account customers this year. If the customer has an Energy Manager, then they'll be able to submit an application for incentive funding beginning in January 2017, and the project would need to be completed after April 1, 2017.
If the customer doesn't  have an Energy Manager but still wants to consider incentives, you can look at the available retrofit options in the Business Energy Saving Incentives program.

If you're unsure which program your customer may qualify for, consult the Business Program Eligibility Tool online or contact us by email at alliance@bchydro.com.