BPU Announces 2018 Energy Efficiency Programs


Article Contributed by
Jamestown BPU

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved its 2018 Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs for electric customers. Three traditional rebate programs will continue into the new year, while three others will be discontinued after December 31, 2017, to allow for new energy system initiatives.

Home Energy Audit Program
Home Energy Audits in 2018 will continue to be offered free-of-charge through New York State’s “Green Jobs, Green New York” Program. The 2018 program will provide free audits to New Yorkers with a household income of below $104,000. The BPU subsidizes the audit for households earning more than $104,000 annually. Both programs also provide rebates for electric customers who make changes suggested by the audit.

A home energy audit is an in-depth analysis of the building envelope, heating system and electric consuming devices performed by a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified contractor. The audit includes monitoring of certain electric appliances, a blower door test to evaluate air infiltration, a lighting audit, pipe insulation and combustion efficiency tests of hot water tanks, natural gas furnaces and boilers. A report is furnished to the homeowner at the end of the audit.

BPU rebates cover twenty-five percent of the cost of weatherization improvements recommended by the audit with a $2,000 maximum limit per property for all residential electric customers; and fifty percent, up to $4,000, for customers who have used electric as their primary heat source for at least three years. Rebates will be issued in the form of a check.

ENERGY STAR Rebate Program
The BPU’s ENERGY STAR Rebate Program, as in 2017, offers rebates for certain, new ENERGY STAR products as follows: $35 for residential windows, $25 for skylights, $50 for residential entry doors and $50 for a Wifi-enabled thermostat. Central air conditioning units will be rebated at $100 per ton of cooling capacity. HVAC heat pumps are rebated at $500 per ton of heating or cooling capacity. Geothermal heat pumps are rebated at $1,000 per ton of heating or cooling capacity. (Note: One ton of capacity equals 12,000 BTU.) Finally, heat pump water heaters will be rebated at $500.

Lighting and Motor Rebates for Commercial and Industrial Customers
The Lighting and Motor Rebate Program for Commercial and Industrial Customers is the third BPU energy efficiency program that carries forward into 2018.

Commercial and industrial customers classified as service class 2 or 3 customers qualify for this program. Rebates help underwrite the purchase cost of permanently installed new LED light fixtures and lamps as well as High Bay T-5 fixtures. Occupancy sensors, variable speed drives, NEMA Premium Efficiency Motors, electric vehicle charging stations and HVAC equipment also qualify for the program.

Portable equipment and labor costs to install equipment are not included.
Any lighting or motor project that exceeds $1,000 should be discussed with Energy Efficiency Coordinator Dan Reynolds before a project begins, in order to ensure that the project qualifies for rebates.

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)
The New York State Energy Program, known as Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), led BPU staff to consider developing and funding other energy efficiency projects by eliminating the costs of three former programs. The discontinued programs include: the Attic Insulation Program, the Weatherization for Commercial and Industrial Program and the Customized Incentive Program for Commercial and Industrial Customers.

Money saved by ending the three 2017 programs will be devoted to projects that reflect the goals of REV which states that 50% of New York’s electricity must come from renewable sources by 2030. The State strategy also asks local municipalities to invest in reduction of energy costs through energy efficiency projects in public buildings and facilities and by demonstrating the benefits of using less energy. A third goal is to make clean energy scalable and affordable to all New Yorkers.

BPU Energy Efficiency Coordinator Dan Reynolds stated that an employee team has been formed to explore potential projects involving utility solar energy, electric vehicles, smart meters and battery storage, to name a few. The team currently is researching and studying opportunities for the BPU and its ratepayers before definitive projects are recommended to the board.

Details on the three 2018 rebate programs are available by contacting Reynolds at 661-1646 or by e-mail: dreynolds@jamestownbpu.com.