They are big, they are bold, and they are back! Utility rebates.

Utility rebate programs took the electrical industry by storm in the early 1990s. Power-generating companies needed customers to cut back on power consumption, and offering customers financial incentives to install energy- efficient products was a heck of a lot cheaper than building new power plants.

Rebate programs help end users design new buildings and retrofit thousands of inefficient buildings with energy-efficient lighting systems, motors, variable-speed drives, efficient coolers, HVAC systems and insulation. As part of demand-side management programs, rebates accomplished their mission: slashing energy bills for building owners while cutting back on utilities' customer demand.

But working on the dark side of the rebate boon were the folks who figured out how to beat the system and bilk utilities out of rebate dollars. They tried to pass off a building's existing inefficient electromagnetic ballasts as newer, more efficient electronic ballasts by making laser copies of the labels from electronic ballasts then slapping the bogus labels on old ballasts, claiming that they had installed a new ballast.

At least one distributor was caught setting up a dummy contracting business and then sending it phony bills from the distribution business for the delivery of energy-efficient products. Paperwork was then submitted to utility programs for the installation of energy-efficient products.

A 1994 Electrical Wholesaling article told the tale of utility customers who installed energy-efficient equipment, got the rebate, and then reinstalled the older products because of insufficient light levels or the higher cost of maintaining the more efficient system.

Concerns over these scams, as well as the measurability and verification of the impact of these programs, budget crunches and consolidation, eventually forced utilities to curtail their programs. By the mid- to late-1990s, utility programs were scarce.

But over the last few years, rebate programs have gained prominence again. Power shortages in California, increasing demand in the Northeast, last summer's blackout and renewed concerns over the cost of new construction have fueled the rebirth of rebate programs. The following article offers information on close to 40 rebate programs in the United States.

This generation of rebates differs from the 1990s. Energy-service companies (ESCOs), which focus on the financing, design and installation of energy-efficient electrical systems as well as HVAC and other building systems, still control large chunks of this business, particularly retrofits done in government facilities, schools and large office complexes. But utilities bought quite a few ESCOs over the past decade and run them as a separate business to handle retrofits for customers.

The utilities themselves have seen major consolidation. As a result, there are more regional utilities that operate in a number of states, particularly on the East Coast.

The utilities' demand-side management programs that use rebates as a demand-slashing tool have evolved, too. They often are much more complex than simply offering money for the installation of products. Rebates are now often based on the watts saved, and custom rebate programs are common.

One thing that hasn't changed: the regions of the country where rebates are most popular. Utilities in California and the Northeast seem most interested in rebates as a tool to slash energy usage.

This time around, not all rebate programs are sponsored by individual utilities. For instance, the MotorUp Premium Efficiency Motor Initiative offers substantial rebates for the installation of efficient motors. The MotorUp program is co-sponsored by several utilities in the Northeast. Details on the program are available at www.motoruponline.com.

In the lighting market, the EPA's EnergyStar program offers rebate coupons for the purchase of compact fluorescent lamps and other energy-efficient lighting. Learn more about this program at www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator.

This resource will offer readers a helpful tool to increase sales of these products. One caveat on the rebate programs listed: Although all are in effect through March, some only last through the early part of this year; you may find that some programs have already run out of funds.

This rebate resource is a work in progress. Due to the constantly changing nature of these programs, it will need plenty of attention to keep it current. We plan to publish it again in 2005. If you are aware of any rebate programs not included in this listing, please contact Jim Lucy at (913) 967-1743 or by e-mail at jlucy@primediabusiness.com.

ALASKA

Golden Valley Electric Association
Fairbanks, Ala
.

Phone: (907) 452-1151

Rebates and incentives: The BusinessSense program offers rebates to commercial customers who reduce lighting consumption through energy-efficient retrofit projects.

Web site: www.gvea.com/memserv/businesssense.php

CALIFORNIA

Burbank Water and Power Burbank, Calif.

Phone: (818) 238-3638

Rebates and incentives: The Energy Solutions funding program provides rebates for the installation of energy-efficient motors, lighting equipment and drives. The amount of rebate depends on the customer's peak kilowatt demand.

Web site: www.burbankwaterandpower.com/businessrebate.htm

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E)
San Francisco, Calif.

Phone: (800) 468-4743

Rebates and incentives: The 2004 Express Efficiency Program is a statewide program sponsored by California's investor-owned utilities under the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The administering utilities are Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Co. Each utility separately administers the program in its service territory.

The program is for commercial, industrial and agricultural-account customers with a monthly demand of 500 kW or less per service account. Total rebate limit for 2004 is $200,000 per account, per fuel, per year.

Applicable lighting products: screw-in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs); compact and linear fluorescent fixtures; induction lamps and fixtures, linear fluorescent electronic ballasts; T8 or T5 linear fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts; HID fixtures, pulse start; ceramic metal-halide (CMH) fixtures; interior high-bay linear fluorescent fixtures; interior metal-halide pulse-start retrofit fixtures; occupancy sensors; photocells; time clocks; LED exit signs; and channel signs (LED).

Web site: www.pge.com/express

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE)
San Diego, Calif.

Phone: (800) 644-6133

Rebates and incentives: 2004 Express Efficiency Program. See information listed with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E).

Web site: www.sdge.com/business/Lighting.pdf

Southern California Edison Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Phone: (800) 736-4777

Rebates and incentives: 2004 Express Efficiency Program. See information listed with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E).

Web site: www.sce.com

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Light & Power/Northeast Utility System
Hartford, Conn.

Phone: (800) 286-5000

Rebates and incentives: The utility participates in the MotorUp program for energy-efficient motors and offers rebates for T8 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts; hard-wired compact fluorescents; occupancy sensors; and certain fluorescent fixtures when purchased with electronic ballasts.

Web site: www.cl-p.com/clmbus/express/indexexpress.asp#lighting

United Illuminating Co.
New Haven, Conn.

Phone: (203) 499-5828

Rebates and incentives: The utility offers rebates for motors through the MotorUp program and consulting services and financial assistance for the installation of energy-efficient electrical systems through its Small Business Energy Advantage program.

Web site: www.uinet.com/your_business/ne_premium_motor.asp

FLORIDA

Tampa Electric Co.
Tampa, Fla.

Phone: (813) 228-4108

Rebates and incentives: The utility's Commercial/Industrial Lighting program pays 10 cents per watt reduction when a company replaces its current lighting with a more energy-efficient fluorescent lighting system. Customers must achieve a minimum lighting reduction of 1,000W.

Web site: www.tampaelectric.com/TEESBSIndoorLighting.cfm

HAWAII

Hawaiian Electric Co.
Honolulu, Hawaii

Phone: (808) 947-6937

Rebates and incentives: Standardized rebates are available for energy-efficient products including three- phase motors; T8 lamps with electronic ballasts; optical reflectors; occupancy sensors; and HID lamps. Customized rebates are available for electrical products including compact fluorescent lamps; and adjustable-speed drives.

Web site: www.heco.com

IDAHO

Avista Utilities
Spokane, Wash.

Phone: (800) 227-9187

Rebates and incentives: The utility provides incentives directly to the customer for hard-wired improvements, such as lighting retrofits, for the energy savings that the customer will achieve by making equipment upgrades. The incentive is based on the first-year energy savings in kilowatt-hours.

Web site: www.avistautilities.com/saving/conservation/rebates_wa_id_com.asp

INDIANA

Cinergy
Plainfield, Ind.

Phone: (800) 283-7741

Rebates and incentives: Rebates are available for electronic ballasts; T8 lamps; LED exit signs; HID lighting equipment; and motors.

Web site: www.cinergypsi.com/Business_Services/programs_and_services/default_lighting.asp

IOWA

MidAmerican Energy
Des Moines, Iowa

Phone: (800) 894-9599

Rebates and incentives: Rebates for fluorescent T5 and T8 lighting systems; occupancy sensors; compact fluorescent lamps and fixtures; LED exit signs; and metal-halide lamps with pulse start.

Web site: www.midamericanenergy.com/html/energy6b.asp

MAINE

Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.
Bangor, Maine

Rebates and incentives: Commercial Lighting Incentive Program (CLIP) offers fixed financial incentives for the purchase and installation of energy-efficient lighting equipment including LED exit signs, HID lighting and compact fluorescent lamps and fixtures.

Phone: (800) 499-6600

Web site: www.bhe.com/rates/terms/terms_sec17.cfm

MASSACHUSETTS

Cape Light Compact
Barnstable, Mass.

Phone: (800) 797-6699

Rebates and incentives: Rebates are available for the installation of energy-efficient motors, indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures and lamps.

Web site: www.capelightcompactenergysave.com

Massachusetts State Electric Co./National Grid
Northborough, Mass.

Phone: (800) 632-8300

Rebates and incentives: Financial incentives are offered for lamps; occupancy sensors; lighting fixtures; motors; and variable-speed drives installed in existing facilities and new construction. Residential rebates also available.

Web site: www.nationalgridus.com/masselectric/business/energyeff/4_new.asp

Nantucket Electric Co./National Grid
Northborough, Mass.

Phone: (800) 322-3223

Rebates and incentives: Facility audits and rebates for lamps, occupancy sensors, lighting fixtures, motors and variable-speed drives installed in existing facilities and new construction. Residential rebates also available.

Web site: www.nationalgridus.com/nantucket/business/energyeff/4_new.asp

Western Massachusetts Electric
(WMECO)/Northeast Utilities System
Springfield, Mass.

Phone: (800) 388-9727

Rebates and incentives: Motor rebates are available, as are rebates for occupancy sensors; pulse-start metal-halide lamps; high-efficiency fluorescent lighting; and electronic ballasts.

Web site: www.wmeco.com/programs/save/business/express.asp

MINNESOTA

XcelEnergy
Minneapolis

Phone: (800) 481-4700

Rebates and incentives: Lighting retrofit rebates are available. Customers must obtain pre-approval before purchase and installation of equipment.

Web site: www.xcelenergy.com

OtterTail Power Co.
Fergus Falls, Minn.

Phone: (800) 493-3299

Rebates and incentives: Motor rebates and lighting retrofit rebates for T8 lamps; compact fluorescent fixtures and lamps; efficient HID lighting; induction lighting systems; electronic ballasts; and occupancy sensors. Rebates for most hard-wired systems are 20 cents per watt saved. Screw-in compact fluorescent rebates are 5 cents per watt saved. All rebates over $2,500 must be pre-approved. Grants are available to commercial and industrial businesses that make eligible conservation and efficiency improvements.

Web site: www.otpco.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Granite State Electric Co./National Grid
Northborough, Mass.

Phone: (800) 322-3223

Rebates and incentives: Financial incentives for lamps; occupancy sensors; lighting fixtures; motors and variable-speed drives installed in existing facilities and new construction. Residential rebates are also available.

Web site: www.nationalgridus.com/granitestate/business/energyeff/energyeff.asp

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Inc.
Plymouth, N.H.

Phone: (800) 698-2007

Rebates and incentives: Rebates are available for lighting conversions and controls; energy-efficient motors; variable-speed drives; and LED traffic lights.

Web site: www.nhec.com/lgbusinesspro.html

Public Service of New Hampshire
Manchester, N.H.

Phone: (888) 224-4300

Rebates and incentives: Limited rebates are available for electric motors; LED traffic lights; interior lighting and variable-frequency drives. Some residential rebates are offered.

Web site: www.psnh.com/Business/Efficiency/default.asp

Unitil Corp.
Hampton, N.H.

Phone: (800) 736-0978

Rebates and incentives: Coordinating with other New Hampshire utilities, Unitil offers three business energy-efficiency programs: small business energy-efficiency services for customers with an average monthly demand of less than 100 kW; and for customers with greater than 100kW monthly demand, its large commercial and industrial (C&I) retrofit program and its large C&I new construction program.

Web site: www.services.unitil.com/ceco/bus_energy_efficiency_programs.asp

NEW JERSEY

Conectiv Power Delivery/First Energy
Carneys Point, N.J.

Phone: (800) 642-3780

Rebates and incentives: In addition to the design incentives and technical support available through New Jersey SmartStart Buildings, financial incentives are available for three-phase motors; T5 and T8 lamps with electronic ballasts in existing facilities; hard-wired compact fluorescent lamps; metal-halide lamps with pulse start; T5 and T8 high-bay fixtures; LED traffic signal lamps; occupancy sensors; and lighting controls.

Web site: www.njsmartstartbuildings.com/main/equip_inc.html

Jersey Central Power and Light/First Energy
Morristown, N.J.

Phone: (800) 662-3115

Rebates and incentives: In addition to the design incentives and technical support available through New Jersey SmartStart Buildings, financial incentives are available for three-phase motors; T5 and T8 lamps with electronic ballasts in existing facilities; hard-wired compact fluorescent lamps; metal-halide lamps with pulse start; T5 and T8 high-bay fixtures; LED traffic signal lamps; occupancy sensors; and lighting controls.

Web site: www.njsmartstartbuildings.com/main/equip_inc.html

Public Service Gas and Electric/First Energy
Newark, N.J.

Phone: (800) 854-4444

Rebates and incentives: In addition to the design incentives and technical support available through New Jersey SmartStart Buildings, financial incentives are available for three-phase motors; T5 and T8 lamps with electronic ballasts in existing facilities; hard-wired compact fluorescent lamps; metal-halide lamps with pulse start; T5 and T8 high-bay fixtures; LED traffic signal lamps; occupancy sensors; and lighting controls.

Web site: www.pseg.com/customer/business/industrial/rebate.html

NEW YORK

Consolidated Edison
New York, N.Y.

Phone: (518) 356-6060

Rebates and incentives: Con Ed offers financial incentives for commercial/industrial customers to reduce their energy usage, particularly during times of peak electrical demand.

Web site: www.coned.com/sales/

Long Island Power Authority
Uniondale, N.Y.

Phone: (800) 692-2626

Rebates and incentives: Rebates are offered for energy-efficient electronic ballasts; T5 and T8 lamps; fluorescent fixtures; fluorescent and HID lighting controls; pulse-start metal-halide lamps; variable-frequency drives; and motors.

Web site: www.lipower.org/pdfs/commercial/commconst_prog.pdf

Orange and Rockland/Consolidated Edison
Pearl River, N.Y.

Phone: (877) 434-4100

Rebates and incentives: Financial incentives are offered through several programs sponsored by New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Web site: www.oru.com/programsandservices/incentivesandrebates/

OREGON

EnergySmart Grocer
Portland, Ore.

Phone: (800) 230-9420

Rebates and incentives: Rebates are for energy-efficient lighting products including T8 lamps; compact fluorescent lamps; LED exit signs; outdoor/indoor HID fixtures; and occupancy sensors.

Web site: www.energysmartgrocer.org

RHODE ISLAND

Narragansett Electric Co./National Grid
Northborough, Mass.

Phone: (800) 322-3223

Rebates and incentives: Facility audits and rebates available for lamps; occupancy sensors; lighting fixtures; motors; and variable-speed drives installed in existing facilities and new construction. Residential rebates also available.

Web site: www.nationalgridus.com/narragansett/business/energyeff/energyeff.asp

SOUTH DAKOTA

Black Hills Power Corp.
Rapid City, S.D.

Phone: (605) 721-2229

Rebates and incentives: Existing customers with three-year Electric Power Service contracts can get rebates for indoor lighting retrofits. Rebates are based on amount of energy saved.

Web site: www.blackhillspower.com/cimktg.htm

TEXAS

Oncor Group
Dallas

Phone: (800) 273-8741, ext. 1

Rebates and incentives: The goal of the Commercial and Industrial Standard Offer Program is to reduce summer peak demand. Customers must be able to reduce demand by at least 20kW to be eligible. Oncor staff must approve energy-efficiency incentive projects.

Web site: www.oncorgroup.com/efficiency

VERMONT

Burlington Electric Department
Burlington, Vt.

Phone: (802) 865-7342

Rebates and incentives: The Energy Advantage program offers audits and rebates on a case-by-case basis.

Web site: www.burlingtonelectric.com/EnergyEfficiency/energyad.htm

Efficiency Vermont
Burlington, Vt.

Phone: (888) 921-5990

Rebates and incentives: Lamp rebates are available through EnergyStar lighting equipment coupons.

Web site: www.efficiencyvermont.com

UTAH

Utah Power/Pacificorp.
Portland, Ore.

Phone: (800) 222-4335

Rebates and incentives: Retrofit incentives available for T8 lamps and electronic ballasts; interior fluorescent delamping and fixture upgrades; interior compact fluorescent; LED exit signs; occupancy sensors; photocells; time clocks; dimmable ballasts; high-intensity discharge lamps; T5 fluorescent fixture upgrades; induction lighting; and metal-halide lamps. A Utah Power Incentive Agreement must be signed before equipment purchase orders or contracts. Incentives are capped at 50 percent of measure costs.

Web site: www.utahpower.net/Navigation/Navigation2806.html

WASHINGTON

Avista Utilities
Spokane, Wash.

Phone: (800) 227-9187

Rebates and incentives: The utility provides incentives directly to the customer for hard-wired improvements such as lighting retrofit. The incentive is based on the first-year energy savings in kilowatt-hours.

Web site: www.avistautilities.com/saving/conservation/rebates_wa_id_com.asp

Pacific Power/Pacificorp.
Portland, Ore.

Phone: (800) 222-4335

Rebates and incentives: Expert advice and financial incentives are offered for any size lighting installed. An incentive agreement with Pacific Power must be signed before equipment purchase orders or contracts with suppliers/contractors.

Web site: www.pacificpower.net/Navigation/Navigation1869.html

Seattle City Light
Seattle, Wash.

Phone: (206) 684-3254

Rebates and incentives: The utility offers financial incentives and technical assistance for both existing facilities and new construction projects.

Web site: www.seattle.gov/light/conserve/business/cv4_ess.asp