July 12, 2018 6:10 pm

Calgary company concerned by changes to rebates for energy efficiency products

A file photo of some LED lights.

Jeff Martin/Global News
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A Calgary company working with businesses to retrofit their traditional lighting with high-efficiency LED sources is upset with the elimination or reduction of a number of rebates from Energy Efficiency Alberta.

“We didn’t need to have a rebate program in the first place, we were doing just fine without it” Brian Thompson, president of Switch Advantage Lighting Solutions, said on Thursday. However, he said customers now expect a benefit.

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“Now it’s in the mental fabric of businesses that we can switch over and we can expect money back from the government.”

Thompson said that mentality has become more commonplace as a result of Alberta’s carbon tax being implemented.

He said owners of commercial and recreational buildings could be sold on the idea of switching to high-efficiency LED lighting just on the savings that would bring.

“People hate having things taken away from them,” Thompson said. “We already spent a lot of time and energy encouraging people to do this using the rebate program, and now we have to go back to them and say, ‘Oops, sorry, no rebate program for you.'”

He says he’s upset with a lack of notice from Energy Efficiency Alberta about the change that took effect on Tuesday this week. However, in its terms and conditions of the business energy savings program, the government agency states it has the right, for any reason, to stop approving energy savings applications, at any time, without notice.

READ MORE: Albertans saw big energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions in 2017: government

Watch below: In June 2017, the CEO of Energy Efficiency Alberta appeared on Global News Morning Edmonton to tell homeowners how they can take advantage of a rebate program.

Marc Huot is the director of non-residential energy efficiency programs for Energy Efficiency Alberta.

“We do take every effort to communicate that the program is conditional upon having funding available, and we do try to promote products that we know we can support for the longer term,” he said.

Huot said the program has a set budget of $10 million and has already received more than 4,000 applications, substantially exceeding the targets that were set.

He added that there is an opportunity for an application to still be funded.

“So if a project can show that they’re already underway or submitted for preapproval, those projects have avenues to proceed under the previous program and are not impacted by the changes going forward.”

Huot said the program is constantly adjusting the incentive levels and the products based on what needs an incentive to be used and what can go ahead without an incentive.

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