Overview

Ambition: Energy efficiency offers a cost effective way to manage growth in electricity usage and bring on “additional” capacity. This initiative helps small businesses explore opportunities to save energy in rural areas where it is typically harder to engage in energy efficiency programming.

This pilot is a six-month program in collaboration between Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) and EQUS to help small businesses save energy offered to EQUS’ small business members. The pilot is an opportunity to test a combination of direct installation for small businesses, incentives, financing support, and on-utility bill cost recovery in rural Alberta. This includes:

  • A walk-through audit to identify energy-saving opportunities and costs.
  • Connecting participants with local contractors to perform installations.
  • Helping participants secure a loan for the remainder of the project costs, which is then paid back in installments on their EQUS utility bill. Payments are matched with savings so that it is cash flow neutral.

This is the first program of its kind offered by EEA in rural Alberta, particularly for small businesses.

Challenges

Small businesses in rural areas are typically harder to engage in energy efficiency programming due to time, capital availability, and a lack of awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and challenges. Moreover, government programs usually do not always address the unique needs of rural Albertans.

Initiative Status

This is a new program for both EQUS and EEA. The program will be launched in September 2019 with EQUS’ 12,500 members. Success for the pilot would be to have 30-40 businesses sign up, see RFPs secure quality local contractors to participate, and provide reliable data on the needs of rural small businesses. The desired outcome is that EQUS would offer this program in the long term and other utility companies would offer a similar program to their customers.