Frequently asked questions: small business

How do I know if I’m an eligible customer?

All current business customers on all rate classes are eligible to participate in energySMART, however, small business customers qualify for higher rebates on some equipment as well as free assessments and energy-saving equipment. To qualify as a small business, the business must have used less than 60,000 therms per year, be independently owned and operated and must have less than 10 franchise locations.  Public (tax payer-funded) entities and self-directed customers are not eligible for energySMART. 

What am I eligible for as a small business customer?

Free energy assessment – An Energy Advisor will conduct an on-site energy assessment of your facility. You will receive a customized report summarizing your free energy-saving installation options, capital energy efficiency improvement recommendations and rebate dollars available and cost-benefit estimates for improvements. 

Free products—

  • Faucet aerators for kitchen and bath
  • Low-flow showerheads
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Pipe insulation
  • Water heater temperature setback  
  • Pre-rinse spray valves for commercial kitchens

What are the eligible purchase and installation dates?

Equipment must be purchased and installed between June 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 to qualify for the current rebate amounts. The offer is valid from June 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017, or until funds are depleted, whichever comes first.

I purchased qualifying equipment prior to or on December 31, 2017, but it was not installed until June 1, 2016 or later. Can I still get a rebate?

Yes. If you purchased qualifying equipment prior to or on December 31, 2017 and it was installed June 1, 2016 or later your installation and application are subject to the current rules and requirements. Download the rebate applications from the website for complete details.

How do I apply for a rebate?

There are two ways to apply. Apply online, or simply download the rebate application, print it out, and mail it in along with your purchase invoice and any required supporting documentation. Read the application for full details on what is required and where you mail your application.

When are applications due?

Online applications must be submitted online, and mail-in applications must be postmarked within 90 days of installation, or by January 31, 2018, whichever comes first.

Equipment must be installed and fully operational prior to submitting an application.

What documentation do I need to include with my application?

All applications must include proof of payment or contractor invoice and any rebate specific required documentation. Your invoice must include: equipment make, model and serial number; equipment cost and total installed cost; total number of units installed; and any additional required documentation, as listed on the rebate applications. Please review the rebate application for a full list of requirements.

How long will it take to receive my rebate?

energySMART strives to process rebates as quickly as possible. The best way to ensure timely receipt of your rebate check is to provide a completed application with all supporting required documentation. Upon receipt of a completed application, energySMART will provide you a rebate check within approximately six weeks.

Where can I purchase a qualified product?

You can purchase qualifying products wherever water heaters, gas furnaces, boilers and other equipment are sold, (including local retailers, online retailers, or through a professional contractor). Only equipment meeting the efficiency guidelines will be eligible for the rebate (please check the rebate applications for details on the efficiency levels and requirements).

Do I need to have a contractor install the equipment for the rebate?

Equipment and products must be installed by a professional contractor according to manufacturer specifications and state and local codes, with the exception of steam traps, pool/spa covers, commercial kitchen equipment, programmable thermostats and pre-rinse spray valves. While the use of a professional contractor is not required for these products, it is strongly encouraged. This helps to ensure safety and the proper installation of natural gas equipment. As an added service for small business customers, upon request, Nicor Gas will identify contractors in your region, however, Nicor Gas and the Nicor Gas energySMART do not endorse nor guarantee any contractors or their work.

I am a landlord of an eligible commercial property.  Am I eligible for the rebates? 

Yes.  If the gas account(s) is in your name, please complete and submit the rebate application, located on the website. If you are applying for a rebate for a property you own, but the gas account number is in your tenant’s name, you must supply the following information:

  • A completed application, signed by the tenant (Nicor Gas Account Holder), with all required documentation
  • A signed property owner release form
  • The Itemized contractor invoice/proof of purchase receipts, signed by the purchaser of the equipment/product
  • All applicable purchase invoices and required documentation

How can I take advantage of the instant discount offer?

The instant discount is optional and not required by energySMART. You may choose not to utilize the instant discount and receive the rebate directly. Should you opt to take advantage of the instant discount, and your contractor agrees, you can find information on the instant discount page.

Will someone come to my business to inspect?

By signing your rebate application, you have agreed to allow access by energySMART representatives to your business and installed product for this verification. There is no guarantee that an inspection will be completed.

Will a rebate impact my taxes?

Please consult with your tax advisor to determine if rebates for energy efficiency equipment and products are considered taxable by the IRS.

Why is energySMART being offered?

energySMART is designed to educate customers about the benefits of high efficiency, gas-saving products and to encourage customers to install these products by providing cash incentives.

My electric utility is offering rebates for similar products. Can I apply and receive rebates for that program as well Nicor Gas energySMART?

Only one rebate is available for the same product. You may combine gas and electric utility rebates for different products (Nicor Gas for heating equipment and electric utility for air-conditioning) as well as add on federal tax credits and any current manufacturer or other third-party incentives.

How long does the assessment take?

Depending on the size of the building, the assessment can take anywhere from two to four hours. During this time the assessor will complete an onsite audit of your facility.

Do I need to be there during the assessment?

Yes, the assessor generally needs an escort to show him or her around the building, open locked doors to provide access to equipment and provide answers to questions that may come up during the walk-through. 

What does the report include? 

You will receive a customized report summarizing your free energy-saving installation options, capital energy efficiency improvement recommendations, and available rebates.

How much energy will the equipment save?

The energy savings will depend on the type of equipment installed. Some equipment like steam traps and pipe insulation can have a payback less than one year, while boiler tune-ups can save as much as five percent of energy use annually. The free energy assessment will detail all the available equipment you qualify for and calculate how much energy could be saved.

Does a contractor have to install the equipment?

The free measures must be installed by energySMART staff. However, certain equipment like steam traps and water heaters can be installed by in-house staff while measures such as boiler tune-ups must be completed by a qualified contractor. Please call 877.886.4239 to verify installation requirements.