Sick of paying an enormous electricity bill? Worried about the environment?
BC Hydro wants to work with you to fix both of those problems, so they’ve put together some helpful programs so you can take charge of your bill while at the same time work to ease your effect on the environment.
The variety of rebate programs under the Home Renovation Program, as well as the appliance rebates, can allow you to make some of the larger changes or upgrades that can be required to become more energy efficient. At the very least, it can take the sting out spending the money it takes to save money!
They even have programs that give away free stuff! Everyone likes free! (Of course you must be below the qualifying income threshold set by BC Hydro, but that limit is more generous than you may think.)
So read on for all the rebates offered by BC Hydro—and for some tips on how you can save more money on your electricity bill:
BC Hydro Rebates
Energy is BC Hydro’s bread and butter. They know more about electricity, power, and saving energy than many. That’s why they know how important it is that we save energy—and if that means saving us money, then that’s a double win for them!
BC Hydro stays on top of the newest ways to be energy efficient, so the rebates they’re offering BC residents interested in renovating, whether out of necessity or a desire to be more energy efficient, are those they’ve determined are the most important and will have the biggest impact throughout the province.
Read on to learn about each of the home renovation rebate programs being offered right now.
The exact amount of your rebate will depend on where in your house you installed your new insulation, how much you installed (the total area), and how well the insulation you chose works to keep in heat (this is the R-value).
The smallest rebate amount is associated with an R-20 insulation (the minimum allowed) installed anywhere other than in exterior walls, basements, crawlspaces, or attics. This rebate will net you a maximum rebate of $450.
Should you install insulation with a minimum R-value of 12, you’ll get back a maximum of $600, and installing a minimum R-10 insulation in your basement or crawl spaces will see you getting back a maximum of $1,000.
When installing insulation in your exterior walls, the maximum rebate you can receive is $1,200, but you must use a minimum of R-3.8 insulation in the wall sheathings and R-12 insulation in the wall cavities.
To take advantage of this program, you must have the insulation installed by a licensed contractor and it must be installed to code. When you receive your invoice from the contractor, make sure it includes the insulation type, location, added R-value, and square footage of insulation in each location.
If you want to apply for this program, fill out the online application and upload your supporting documents (invoices and a utility account holder consent form). You can wait to apply until you’ve finished all the work for all of the upgrades you want to do that qualify for this rebate, but remember that your application must be received within 6 months of work completion.
Some projects are randomly chosen to have an inspection done on the upgraded insulation. They only take 60 to 90 minutes, so do your best to make yourself available so you get your rebate in a timely fashion.
If it’s time to replace that old furnace and you’re interested in trying a new, more energy-efficient heating system, why not look into installing a heat pump? They save energy and money by moving heat from one place to another rather than converting fuel into heat.
This could really save you a lot in the end, especially on the coldest days. If you’d like to give it a shot, you could get a rebate of $800 on select ductless air-source heat pumps. The only catch is that your home has to be electrically heated.
And if you hurry, you can take advantage of some additional rebates offered by manufacturers. From March 15 to July 15, 2018, Mitsubishi Electric is offering a rebate of up to $500 for qualifying heat pumps, and until May 31, 2018, The Home Depot is offering an additional $400 rebate on qualifying TRANE ductless heat pumps (to get the rebate, the heat pump has to be installed by June 30, 2018, by a Home Depot-authorized HVAC Service Partner, your application must be submitted within 90 days of purchase, and you need to use promo code TRANE2018 on your invoice). Even Fujitsu is offering a rebate up to $750 for qualifying heat pumps until May 31, 2018.
Before you buy your heat pump and submit your application however, make sure you know which ones qualify for the rebate because your new pump has to meet stringent energy-efficient ratios and performance ratings.
Just fill out the online application form to apply and upload your supporting documents (ensure your invoice includes details of the work and the address of where the work was done; the contractor’s company name and contact info; and the product’s brand, model number, and purchase date). Your supporting documents will include the invoice and the Utility Account Holder Consent form if the utility account holder isn’t the one applying for the rebate.
Remember that your project may be chosen at random for an inspection of the work done. It takes less than 2 hours, so make you make yourself available for it so you get your money as fast as possible!
There is nothing worse than a drafty home! It makes it so very cold inside when the cold is coming in from some pretty sneaky places.
Why not fix these drafts and take advantage of this rebate program to get some money back? You’ll get money back in the beginning and save money in the end!
However, to participate, you’ll need to have an energy assessment of your home done before you install any draftproofing upgrades. On the upside, BC Hydro also has an Energy Coach Home Evaluation Rebate (provided by the Province of BC)!
Just book an appointment with a qualified advisor, and they will complete and submit an Energy Advisor Supported Upgrades form for you. Then you can do the upgrades, fill out the rebate application online, and submit it with your supporting documents (all invoices and the Utility Account Holder Consent form if the utility account holder isn’t the one applying for the rebate) to get your money. You may be randomly selected for an inspection before you get your rebate however, so make yourself available for the quick appointment.
The more energy you save, the more money you save! In this case that’s because if you install 3 or more qualify energy-efficient upgrades, you’ll qualify for an additional $750 rebate. And that’s on top of any rebates potentially offered on each individual product.
The qualifying upgrades right now are as follows:
- insulation (insulation installed in multiple locations can count as multiple upgrades)
- ENERGY STAR® windows and doors
- high-efficiency heating system
- ENERGY STAR® water heater
- ENERGY STAR® heat recovery ventilator
As with the Draftproofing Rebate though, you will need to have an energy assessment done before you can install the upgrades and apply for your rebate(s). Just schedule an assessment with a qualified advisor (And don’t forget to apply for the rebate for this as well!), and they’ll complete and submit an Energy Advisor Supported Upgrades form for you. You’ll need this form to attach to your rebate application.
Once you’ve had your assessment, go ahead and install any desired upgrades, and if there’s 3 or more, fill out the online application form and upload your supporting documents (any invoices and the Utility Account Holder Consent form if the utility account holder isn’t the one applying for the rebate). You have 36 months after the upgrades are completed to get your application in.
In this program as well, don’t forget you may be randomly chosen for an inspection of the upgrades. Don’t worry, it won’t take long and after it’s done, you’ll get your money!
If you’re planning on buying a new clothes washer, dryer, or refrigerator soon, check out this program before you head to the store. Get a rebate of $25 to $100 when you buy an ENERGY STAR® appliance before June 15, 2018. Just fill out the online application form after you buy your appliance and enter the information from your receipt (appliance model number[s], invoice/order number, date of purchase, place of purchase, and if you ordered online, proof of delivery). You’ll also need your BC Hydro (or city of New West) account number.
Remember to look up the list of qualifying appliances before you go shopping and that your application must be submitted within 60 days of purchase.
And that’s not all. You could possibly save even more money by taking advantage of retailer and municipality rebates and piling them all together! That means you can get back money back from BC Hydro, money back from the manufacturer e.g., Samsung), money back from the retailer (e.g., The Home Depot), AND money back from your city or town. It doesn’t get any better than that! So pull up the list of participating manufacturers, retailers, and municipalities to see what you can use.
You can apply for multiple appliances on the same application, and you can also apply for the manufacturer, retailer, and municipality rebates on this same application. Too easy! Make sure you act fast, because these spring deals are only good until June 15.
But don’t forget to recycle your old appliances responsibly in your excitement!
BC Hydro Income-Based Programs
BC Hydro offers a few energy-saving programs under the umbrella of the Energy Conservation Assistance Program for those who have a low income.
If, for example, you have a family of four and an income of $60,300 or less, you could take advantage of some of the following programs.
Participate in this program and you and your family will warmer and cozier and end up with more money in your pocket.
Anyone who is a BC Hydro or City of New Westminster account holder living in a detached home, townhome, duplex, or mobile home with a qualifying income can use this program.
First, an energy advisor will visit your home, conduct and inspection, and identify areas of your home that could be improved. Then they’ll install free energy-efficient products (again, for free!) such as light bulbs, high-efficiency showerheads, and weatherstripping. Some applicants may even qualify to receive free ENERGY STAR® refrigerators; insulation in their walls, attic, and/or crawlspaces; or high-efficiency gas furnaces (through FortisBC).
Even after all that is done, your advisor will give you tips and tricks on things you can do improve your energy efficiency even more!
All you have to do to reap these benefits is apply online and upload one of these documents to verify the income of everyone over 18 living in your home:
- a Notice of Assessment for each member of your household over 18
- a verification of income or disability assistance, e.g., your monthly report (cheque stub)
- a printed copy of your Confirmation of Assistance if you’re registered for My SelfServe
- a Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters cheque stub
- an acknowledgement letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing
- a Rental Assistance Program acknowledgment letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing
- a National Child Benefit Supplement notice from Canada Revenue Agency
You’ll also need to submit a completed landlord consent form if you’re renting.
Then just sit back and wait for your appointment!
So while we’re talking about free services, BC Hydro is also giving away free energy kits to all BC Hydro customers whose income qualifies according to the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (above).
The Free Energy-Saving Kit includes LED bulbs, weatherstripping to reduce drafts around windows and doors, a high-efficiency showerhead, water-saving tap aerators, an LED night light, a fridge and freezer thermometer, and a step-by-step instruction guide to help you install each product. Each of the items are easily installed. You can even customize your kit to match your home when you apply.
Just apply online or call 1 (800) BCHYDRO (1  224-9376) or (604) 224-9376 in the Lower Mainland between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. All you need is your BC Hydro account number and your total household income.
Both those living in Aboriginal communities and non-profit housing providers can apply to have a free home assessment done, and the home assessment includes free upgrades—including the installation.
Taking advantage of this program will make your home warmer and more comfortable, help you save money, and keep you healthier with these free energy-saving items offered in the Free Install and Advice program:
- light bulbs
- water-saving showerheads
- weatherstripping to reduce drafts
- possible insulation in walls, attics, and/or crawlspaces
- possible high-efficiency gas furnaces (from FortisBC)
- possible ENERGY STAR® refrigerators
If your home qualifies for a high-efficiency furnace, you’ll need to be a FortisBC customer. Mobile homes don’t qualify for furnaces or insulation.
Applying for this program is as easy as calling Carillion Canada at 1 (877) 806-3242.
Once you’ve been approved, an advisor will visit your community or housing complex and inspect each unit. Then they’ll tell you what needs improving. Once the inspection is done, they’ll install all of the free upgrades for you, give you advice on other improvements you can make, and give you a report of everything they installed in each unit.
6 Tips for Slashing Your BC Hydro Utility Bill
While we gave you some good tips for saving money on your utility bill in our “All-Inclusive Guide to all of Manitoba Hydro’s Rebates, Incentives, and Low-Interest Financing,” we believe there can never be enough ways to save money and energy. So, we’ve done some more research (with a little help from BC Hydro) to find more ways for you to save:
Join Team Power Smart!
BC Hydro has created a challenge-based program that will teach you new ways of saving energy. Just log in to your account and challenge you and your family to find ways to save electricity by 10% over the next year.
If you succeed, BC Hydro will reward your success with $50! When you join, you’ll also get to enter contests along the way to potentially win prizes such as an LED lighting package, programmable thermostat, and gift cards. You’ll also get special offers; energy-saving tips, advice, and tools; a monthly newsletter; and bi-annual member magazine. Join today!
Use your BC Hydro account to track your electricity usage
You’ll be able to see how you’re doing on your Power Smart challenge and even detect places where you might be wasting electricity. You’ll even get a better understanding of how things such as seasonal changes, your everyday habits, vacations, and family gatherings in your home affect your electricity use.
Try out BC Hydro’s Cost Calculator
Use it to find out how much running particular appliances actually costs, and even use it to compare the cost of running one appliance with the cost of running something else, whether an appliance or your lighting.
Buy a power monitor
Buy a power monitor. Buy a power monitor online from Rainforest Automation (but you’ll begin and end in your BC Hydro account; you’ll simply be redirected momentarily to make your purchase) and BC Hydro will set up your meter so you can install the monitor yourself. The monitor will help you understand how and when you’re using electricity as well as the associated costs because you’ll be able to track your electricity use in real time.
Consider using cold water to wash your clothes
Consider using cold water to wash your clothes. Modern detergents are able to get clothes clean without using the hot water your mom had to use. Plus, throwing your clothes in the dryer for just a few minutes to soften them or get rid of wrinkles also kills and germs that may still be lurking about.
Learn to love natural light!
Unless you’re in the middle of a heat wave (In which case, close those curtains to reduce air conditioning use!), use natural light as often as you can. It’s free!
Hopefully you’ve caught the saving-power bug now and have gotten some new ideas on how you can save that power (and money)!