OTTAWA - Following the introduction of the Cool Savings Rebate Program by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Conservation Bureau, Hydro Ottawa introduced an energy efficiency rebate program of its own. The program offered Ottawa-area homeowners rebates of $300 towards 14 SEER air conditioning systems and $300 for high-efficiency furnaces with ECM motors. The program was made available exclusively through Direct Energy.

HRAI and the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors of Canada (HRAC) National Capital Region chapter responded to the news of this program with calls and letters to Hydro Ottawa suggesting that "single-sourcing" the delivery of a ratepayer-funded program of this type is not appropriate because it precludes fair competition and denies opportunities to those who are not customers of Direct Energy.

Through discussion, it was discovered that the program was based on a concept delivered to Hydro Ottawa by Direct Energy, and that this concept held particular appeal to the utility because it was perceived as a "turn-key" operation. The utility has since terminated the program, declaring that the program was redundant due to the availability of the Cool Savings Rebate Program. Hydro Ottawa also agreed to discuss potential future HVAC-related conservation programs with HRAI and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), to ensure that they would be equitable for all potential participants and compatible with other province-wide programs.

Publication date: 06/05/2006