Frequently asked questions

You can find the answers to the most common questions about participating in energySMART by clicking on the categories below.

General questions about energySMART

A: energySMART offers a variety of ways for trade allies to help homeowners and businesses save energy and money. Find out how to participate and how other trade allies like you normally work with energySMART.

A: All program materials are available here.

A: In the past, the energySMART offerings have been updated on June 1 each year. Starting in 2018, our offerings will be updated on January 1 of every year. All offerings are subject to change at any time, without notice. Make sure to join our email list in order to get the most updated program information throughout the year.

A: energySMART operates on a program year which previously ran from June 1 of each year to May 31 of the following year. However, due to a legislative change, the sixth energySMART program year runs from June 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017, and future program years will align with the regular calendar year, January 1-December 31.

A. We have compiled a comprehensive contact list to help you find the right person to answer your questions.


About Contractor Circle (Offering instant discounts, on-bill financing and other benefits of membership)

A: Instant discounts can only be offered by Contractor Circle installing members. To learn more about membership and review eligibility requirements, visit the Contractor Circle page. For current Contractor Circle installing members, to offer a rebate as an instant discount, follow these steps:

  1. Provide your customer with an invoice including the following information:
    • Your business name and contact information
    • Purchase date and installation date (if different)
    • Product manufacturer and model number
    • Total cost of installation, itemized by product
    • Payment terms (balance due of zero, financing terms or paid-in-full stamp)
    • The full and correct rebate amount deducted from the total purchase price as a separate line item.
    • The instant discount must clearly be labeled as a Nicor Gas or energySMART rebate.
    • Customer's signature on the invoice, indicating he or she received the rebate as an instant discount and is releasing payment of the rebate to the installing contractor
  2. Submit your application with a copy of the customer-signed invoice online or by mail.
  3. After receipt of a complete and eligible application, you can expect to receive your rebate payment within approximately six to eight weeks.

A: Contractor Circle is energySMART’s trade ally network and offers two types of memberships to trades involved with energySMART. Learn more and apply.

A: Contractor Circle installing members can offer on-bill financing, a convenient way for customers to pay for their energy-efficiency projects through monthly installments on their monthly Nicor Gas bill. Click here to learn more about Contractor Circle.


Trade ally communications and events

A: Use this page to sign up to receive the trade ally newsletter.

A: All program events are listed on our calendar.

A: Newsletters sent after February 2017 can be found here. The newsletters are our primary means of communicating program updates and changes, so if you missed any, be sure to check out past issues.


About tax code compliance

A: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers certain rebate program incentives, like those provided by energySMART, a Nicor Gas Program, to be taxable income for some businesses and landlords, as well as some contractors who provide instant discounts to their customers.

At the beginning of each calendar year, Nicor Gas will provide an IRS Form 1099-MISC to those qualifying entities who received $600 or more in rebates from energySMART during the previous calendar year. Nicor Gas is not responsible for any taxes that may be imposed as a result of this law. Participants should consult a tax accountant or advisor regarding potential tax liability.

A: Some businesses, landlords and contractors who offer instant discounts and/or receive $600 or more in rebates and/or incentives from Nicor Gas in any calendar year. Residential customers and some types of corporations are exempt from this rule. Please consult your tax advisor or accountant for more details on IRS tax laws and to determine if you may be affected.

A: Nicor Gas will begin tracking rebates and incentives paid for 1099 purposes beginning on January 1, 2017 and continuing through December 31, 2017. We will not count any rebates/instant discounts paid prior to January 1, 2017.

A: No, not initially. Nicor Gas is working to get the tax IDs through alternative means. You may be contacted if you have met the requirements for the tax reporting and will only then be asked for any official information needed to prepare and file a proper IRS 1099 form. If energySMART does contact you, your tax ID number or other information collected will be held in strict confidence, and will not be divulged or otherwise shared with any individuals or organizations outside the energySMART program.


Package rebates from energySMART and joint offers from ComEd

A: Nicor Gas and ComEd offer rebates for qualifying high-efficiency furnaces and central air conditioners, but these rebates are no longer linked. Customers can receive a rebate of $150-200 for a qualifying high-efficiency furnace from energySMART. A separate application is now required for the ComEd air conditioner rebate. Visit the ComEd website for complete requirements and to apply for the central air conditioner rebate from ComEd.

A: The previously offered Value Package rebates are no longer available. Nicor Gas now offers a home and water heating package rebate for the installation of a qualifying high-efficiency furnace with an AFUE of 95% or greater, a natural gas storage water heater with an Energy Factor of 0.67 or greater and a smart or programmable thermostat. All three must be installed at the same time to qualify for this rebate. Find more details here.

A: Yes, rebates are still available for the installation of a qualifying high-efficiency furnace with an AFUE of 95% or greater, a natural gas storage water heater with an Energy Factor of 0.67 or greater and a smart or programmable thermostat. All three must be installed at the same time to qualify for this rebate. Find more details here.