To promote energy conservation, Arizona Public Service is offering rebates to its residential and business customers who install more efficient air conditioners, heat pumps and other electricity-gulping machines.
The electric utility has budgeted $1.5 million for residential rebates and $10.5 million for business rebates through the end of next year. If the program is successful, additional money could be allocated, said Angie Krainik, APS demand side management coordinator.
“By encouraging APS customers to invest in energyefficient products, we will help them save money,” she said.
And the utility benefits by a reduction in peak demand for electricity, which reduces the need to build generating capacity that is used for only short periods, she said.
The two new programs and other demand-side reduction programs by APS are expected to save the equivalent electricity needed to serve about 8,000 homes annually.
Residential customers may qualify for rebates of $250 on air conditioning units that are rated at 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and 12 EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and $400 on units rated at 16 SEER and 14 EER. The numerical ratios are units that measure the efficiency of an air conditioning system or heat pump.
The rebate covers about half of the additional cost of upgrading to more efficient units over average-efficiency units, said Tom Hines, residential energy efficiency program manager for APS.
“Thousands of our customers change their air conditioning units each year,” he said. “This is a chance for folks who have to replace their equipment to save money now and in the future.”
So far APS is the only Valley electric utility to offer such incentives. Instead of rebates to existing customers Salt River Project works with home builders to install energy-efficient appliances in new construction and also holds workshops for business and industrial customers to improve their efficiency, said SRP spokeswoman Patti Likens.
“We try to do what works for the largest number of customers,” she said.
Mesa’s electric department has studied similar programs but decided they were too expensive, said Pete Serrano, energy resources coordinator.
“Given that we have a small system, relatively speaking, it doesn’t look too good,” he said. “If we were having continued growth, then it may make sense (to restrain demand), but most of our resources are in place, and our demand is not growing.”
To qualify for a rebate, the equipment must replace an existing heat pump or air conditioner in an existing home served by APS. The units must be part of the system that serves the entire house; window units do not qualify. Also they must be installed by a licensed contractor.
To apply for a rebate, customers must complete a paper rebate application form available online at aps.com, attach a copy of their paid invoice and mail the package to APS within six months of the installation date.
The utility also has launched a similar program for businesses within its service territory and has already received about 30 applications for $1 million in rebates, said program manager Roger Krouse.
As part of the business program, APS is offering rebates for a variety of purchases, including highefficiency lighting, air conditioners and motors, which are listed on the APS Web site, he said. The utility will also consider rebates for custom-designed projects that save energy, he said.
The rebates range from $1.75 per compact florescent light to $800 per ton for cooling systems, depending on the size of the project, he said.