A new program launched by Arizona Public Service Energy is offering rebates for energy-efficient pool pumps.

Cities such as Phoenix have seen similar refunds in the past, but this is the first rebate program to be adopted statewide.

“We’re offering a rebate of up to $200 on qualifying variable-[speed] pumps, $100 for two-speed pumps and $75 for seasonal timers,” explained Betty Dayyo, communications consultant for the Phoenix utility, commonly known as APS.

Approximately 3- to 5 percent of inground pools nationwide currently utilize variable-speed pumps, according to industry experts. Many of these are installed in areas such as California, where electricity rates are higher than the national average.

But Arizona’s electricity rates fall slightly below the national average: around 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. That means in the short term, consumers using single-speed pumps may lack incentive to make the switch.

“Some of the customers are not at that tipping point yet,” said Kurt Schuster, owner of Phoenix-based Badger Pool Services.

Others immediately saw the benefit of upgrading. “One of them was on a commercial site, so they have to run their pumps 24/7,” said Schuster, who is also director of the Independent Pool & Spa Service

Association’s Arizona and Nevada regions.

Though Arizona’s rebates carry no specific legal implications, similar incentives have paved the way for legislation in other regions. California adopted its Title 20 law following the success of a statewide pump rebate program. The state now requires filtration pump motors of 1hp or above to be two-, multi- or variable-speed on all residential installations.

For its part, APS has promoted the rebate program with a multimedia advertising campaign starring athlete Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns. Nash’s conservation tips have raised consumer interest in a number of energy-saving devices, from home solar panels to variable-speed pumps.

“They’re running ads on TV, radio and billboards,” Schuster said. “You’d almost have to live in a cave not to have heard of this.”