Working on a startup is an interesting social experiment. It requires a good sense of vision, a hard working team and the willingness to accept that some people might think you’re crazy. This is the reality of trying to do something new. Changing things is never easy, especially with a highly regulated industry such as demand side management.
Here at Rebate Bus our initial intention is to support the lighting industry with high quality rebate data for utility programs across North America. Our system is built from the ground up, accounting for thousands of individual rebates. We have reviewed and analyzed hundreds of programs, such as PG&E, Focus on Energy, Mass Save, Duke Energy and entered the requirements in a flat data format, enabling everything to live together. Within a few clicks our software can tell you the local and nationwide incentives for any LED lighting upgrade.
Now that we’ve developed this high level view we are starting to see the bigger picture and can better understand why it’s so difficult to work across multiple markets. Utility programs are built in silos! Requirements found in one market can be completely different just a few miles away. This is a terribly inefficient method to deliver “energy efficiency” rebates. The complexity delays action and is particularly challenging for businesses with a nationwide footprint.
Now, some industry people will say this is just how utility programs want it to be! We disagree with this point. We think that a common misconception is that programs want to make things difficult so they can limit participation. The fact is that energy efficiency has become so valuable that many utilities believe the cheapest kWh to produce is the one they don’t have to produce at all. Energy efficiency programs enable that possibility.
Utilities are simply risk adverse entities. They are a high regulated industry operating in a natural monopoly. Therefore they have built complex requirements to participation which limits their risk of poor evaluation. Evaluation of programs is required by regulators because these are rate payer funded programs, utilities must spend the dollars effectively, being able to demonstrate impacts.
Rebate Bus gives utility program managers the ability to analyze differences in their program vs. others and offers insight into what’s happening with product development. We are hopeful that this transparent insight will drive consistency across the market and encourage programs to more closely align.
Now, we realize we can’t change this overnight, but we would like to start to try. LED lighting is an incredible energy savings opportunity for the planet. We have the potential to reduce our electricity consumption (and the associated carbon dioxide emissions) just by adopting technology that is on the shelf today. Utility programs can rapidly drive that adoption by working together to streamline the experience.
From a business owner’s standpoint, an energy efficiency upgrade can payback in as little as 12 months and create savings that lasts for 10 yrs, allowing the business to put money back into research, development and maybe even employee compensation.
Efficiency is a building block for enabling innovation. Innovation is a key building block for healthy cities. Growing cities attract attention, new jobs and even more innovation.
It’s a positive feedback cycle — one that enables economic growth which is a very good thing for utilities. There is a tremendous opportunity to replace inefficient lighting in businesses across North America, let’s start working together to make it happen.
We are in the business to help you make this transition and have a new innovative method for delivering mid-stream rebates online, removing the need for paperwork.
Join us at www.RebateBus.com to learn more about what we have built.