August 1, 2008



Electric Conservation Programs

for Commercial Customers


By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst



You asked for information about audit and other conservation programs available to commercial electric customers, such as laundromats. This report addresses programs offered by Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P), the electric company that serves your area. United Illuminating, which serves most of the rest of the state, has similar programs. OLR Report 2008-R-0381 describes conservation programs for residential customers of both companies.




CL&P has a variety of conservation programs for its commercial customers, including the Small Business Energy Advantage, Energy Opportunities, Operations and Maintenance Services, and Small Industrial and Commercial loan programs. Among other things, these programs provide rebates and no interest loans for commercial customers to improve the efficiency of their building systems, replace inefficient appliances, and increase the electrical efficiency of their operations through improved maintenance procedures.


In addition to these programs, CL&P offers lighting rebate programs for commercial and industrial customers, which have been fully subscribed for 2008. It also has several programs designed for large commercial and industrial customers (the Power Factor Improvement and Retro Commissioning programs).


Much of the information in this report comes from a CL&P website,


Conservation Programs for Commercial Customers


Small Business Energy Advantage Program


The Small Business Energy Advantage program is designed to provide cost-effective energy-saving services for small commercial and industrial customers who do not have the time, financial resources, or expertise to analyze and modify their energy usage. At no cost to the customer, an independent contractor conducts an energy assessment of the customerís facilities to determine potential savings derived from installing energy-saving measures. The contractor conducting the assessment installs the energy-efficiency measures, including:


1.   lighting retrofits;


2.   lighting sensors and controls;


3.   heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) tune-ups and controls; and


4.   refrigeration measures.


CL&P offers financial incentives to offset the project costs for the installed measures. These incentives cover up to 40% of the installed costs of lighting measures and rebates for other measures. The program also offers 0% financing to qualifying customers, with a maximum loan term of 30 months. The program is open to existing commercial or industrial customers with an average 12-month peak demand up to 200 kilowatts (laundromats typically have demand below this level). Eligible customers must be in good credit standing with CL&P. Further information about this program is available at


Energy Opportunities Program


This program is designed to improve the energy efficiency of facilities through retrofit projects. Participating customers exchange or modify functioning but inefficient equipment with high-efficiency alternatives. Unlike the Small Business Energy Advantage program, the customers who participate in this program either choose their own vendor or install the equipment themselves. The old equipment must have at least 25% of its useful life left. Typical measures include the replacement or modification of HVAC, refrigeration, and manufacturing process equipment. The company can pay up to 50% of the cost of these measures. It can also up to 30% of the cost of lighting replacements that exceed current building code requirements. Further information about this program is available at


Small Industrial and Commercial Loan Program


This program offers interest-free loans to CL&P customers who are small industrial manufacturers or commercial customers who implement energy-saving measures through a CL&P incentive program funded by the stateís Energy Efficiency Fund. The loan must be used to upgrade or replace existing electrical equipment with high-efficiency electrical equipment. Loans range from $5,000 to $100,000, and the conservation measure must pay for itself (based on simple payback) in five years, i.e., a loan for $50,000 would have to reduce the customerís electric bill by at least $50,000 over five years.


The program is open to small industrial manufacturing and commercial customers in business for at least three years. Commercial customers must have an average demand between 200 and 350 kilowatts over the preceding 12 months. Industrial customers must have no more than 100 employees for all locations in CL&Pís territory. They must also have an average demand over 200 kilowatts over the preceding 12 months. Loans are not available for customers or projects that qualify for the Small Business Energy Advantage program.


Operations and Maintenance Services Program


This program seeks to increase the electrical efficiency of customersí operations through improved maintenance procedures, as distinct from capital investments. The program also provides customers with the knowledge and the means to maintain the integrity of their electrical equipment and systems. CL&P will pay 50% of the cost of analyzing the customerís procedures, contingent upon the installation of CL&P's recommended energy-efficiency measures, and up to 50% of the cost of installing the identified measures.