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DSM for Rentals, MURBs, Low Income

Bill Andrews, BCSEA's lawyer in BCUC proceedings
Monday, March 22, 2021

Utility programs to help customers reduce energy consumption – Demand-Side Management – have always been challenging where the owner or occupier is different than the customer who pays the electricity bill. This is often referred to as the ‘split incentive’ challenge. With Multiple Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs), for example, the building owner, whether a landlord or a strata corporation, is different than the tenants or unit-owners. Similarly, social housing societies that provide housing for qualifying low income tenants are different than the tenants who occupy the units. These situations involve complex distinctions between who is the utility customer, who has the authority and responsibility for what efficiency and conservation measures, who has a long-term interest in energy savings, and who has the financial means to carry out energy improvements. Often it can be difficult for tenants, unit owners and building owners to know what DSM programs are available.

To get detailed information, BCSEA recently asked BC Hydro to describe what DSM programs it has for various types of customers: owners of MURBs both strata and rental, owners of units within MURBs, residential tenants within MURBs, residential tenants in other accommodations, and owners of non-MURB residential accommodations. BCSEA also asked about DSM programs for qualifying low income residents or housing providers. The following overview is directly from BC Hydro’s filing with the BCUC, pdf p.368.

MURB strata council:

  • Condominium MURBs common areas that are on a business general service rate are eligible to participate in the Leaders in Energy Management–Commercial (LEM-C) program. Incentives are available for MURBs common areas covering a wide range of technologies such as lighting. 
  • Strata councils for townhouse developments can access rebates through the Home Renovation Rebate program and apply through a bulk application process. 
  • Business Energy Advisors are available to provide virtual and on-site assessments.

MURB rental building owner:

  • Rental MURBs common areas that are on a business general service rate are eligible to participate in the LEM-C program. Incentives are available for MURBs common areas covering a wide range of technologies such as lighting. 
  • Business Energy Advisors are available to provide virtual and on-site assessments.

MURB unit owner:

  • Owners can access available instant in-store rebates for lighting, lighting controls, thermostats, showerheads, weatherization products and bathroom fans. No BC Hydro account number is required to access these rebates, so the products can also be purchased by owners for their rental properties.
  • Appliance rebates are accessed via an online application form that requires an account number.
  • Townhouse owners can access Home Renovation Rebate program rebates for building envelope and heating system improvements. Rebates can be accessed by tenants or by building owners wishing to make improvements to their rental property.
  • The Team Power Smart reduction challenge is available to all residential account holders, offering the opportunity to earn a reward for successfully reducing their annual electricity consumption by 10 per cent compared to the previous year.

MURB residential tenant:

  • Tenants can access available instant in-store rebates for lighting, lighting controls, thermostats, showerheads, weatherization products and bathroom fans.
  • Appliance rebates are accessed via an online application form that does require an account number, but owners can apply for the rebate on behalf of the tenant or alternatively the tenant can apply directly.
  • Townhouse owners can access Home Renovation Rebate program rebates for building envelope and heating system improvements. Rebates can be accessed by tenants or by building owners wishing to make improvements to their rental property.
  • The Team Power Smart reduction challenge is available to all residential account holders, offering the opportunity to earn a reward for successfully reducing their annual electricity consumption by 10 per cent compared to the previous year.

Other accommodations residential tenant: 

  • Tenants can access available instant in-store rebates for lighting, lighting controls, thermostats, showerheads, weatherization products and bathroom fans. 
  • Appliance rebates are accessed via an online application form that does require an account number, but owners can apply for the rebate on behalf of the tenant or alternatively the tenant can apply directly. 
  • The Team Power Smart reduction challenge is available to all residential account holders, offering the opportunity to earn a reward for successfully reducing their annual electricity consumption by 10 per cent compared to the previous year. 
  • Home Renovation Rebate program rebates for building envelope and heating system improvements can be accessed by tenants or by building owners wishing to make improvements to their rental property.

Non-MURB accommodations residential owner: 

  • Owners can access available instant in-store rebates for lighting, lighting controls, thermostats, showerheads, weatherization products and bathroom fans. 
  • Appliance rebates are accessed via an online application form that requires an account number. 
  • The Team Power Smart reduction challenge is available to all residential account holders, offering the opportunity to earn a reward for successfully reducing their annual electricity consumption by 10 per cent compared to the previous year. 
  • Home Renovation Rebate program rebates for building envelope and heating system improvements can be accessed by building owners.

DSM Program Available MURB Non-Profit Housing Society (apartment): 

  • The Social Housing Retrofit Support Program provides rebates for common area lighting and space conditioning. 
  • BC Hydro funds Energy Managers for BC Housing, BC Non-Profit Housing Association and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association. 
  • The Energy Conservation Assistance (ECAP) program offers direct install of in-suite measures including lighting, water saving and fridges.

MURB Townhouse Non-Profit Housing Society: 

  • The Social Housing Retrofit Support Program provides rebates for common area lighting and space conditioning. 
  • BC Hydro funds Energy Managers for BC Housing, BC Non-Profit Housing Association and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association. 
  • ECAP direct install measures including lighting, water saving, fridges, weatherization and insulation. 
  • Home Renovation Rebate program rebates for in-suite measures through a bulk application process. 
  • The Indigenous Community Conservation Program offers rebates for in-suite measures through a bulk application process.

MURB Condominium unit owner (low income):

  • Energy Saving Kit.

MURB Townhouse unit owner (low income):

  • Energy Saving Kit. 
  • ECAP direct install measures including lighting, water saving, fridges, weatherization and insulation.

MURB Condominium/Apartment residential tenant (low income): 

  • Energy Saving Kit.

MURB Townhouse residential tenant (low income): 

  • Energy Saving Kit. 
  • ECAP direct install measures including lighting, water saving, fridges, weatherization and insulation.

Other accommodations (e.g., detached house, metered basement suite) residential tenant (low income):

  • Energy Saving Kit. 
  • ECAP direct install measures including lighting, water saving, fridges, weatherization and insulation.

Non-MURB accommodations (e.g., detached house) residential owner (low income): 

  • Energy Saving Kit. 
  • ECAP direct install measures including lighting, water saving, fridges, weatherization and insulation.

For more information, go to BC Hydro’s PowerSmart page.