May 20, 2015 - After two complaints citing unfairness, Efficiency Nova Scotia says it has agreed to accelerate plans to change its Business Energy Solutions program by Aug. 1, 2015. These changes will allow for “greater transparency, consistency and fairness in the marketplace”, the organization said.
By Renée Francoeur
The news comes on the heels of a review conducted by the provincial department of energy this spring. The government received complaints by two Nova Scotia LED lighting supply companies about high incentives, unfair pricing and unfair practices.
The program helps small and medium-sized businesses with the cost of developing customized energy efficiency plans for their operations, and offers rebates to help pay for upgrades.
The review found that the program met its performance standards, however, its delivery model and the use of discounts as high as 100% made it impossible for local supply companies to compete with on price.
• Delivery agents will no longer be used. Energy audits will be conducted by small-business energy auditors, contracted by Efficiency Nova Scotia through a publicly tendered process. Auditors will not sell products to program participants.
• Businesses have two options to complete energy upgrades, including a do-it-yourself approach or with the auditor co-ordinating upgrade projects.
• Businesses can choose from a list of qualified contractors published on the Efficiency Nova Scotia website to complete upgrades.
• The incentive package has been redesigned so that all contractors have access to the same rebates.
In three months, the department said it will follow-up with Efficiency Nova Scotia to ensure these changes have been implemented.