California utilities are phasing out rebates for two-speed pumps to focus solely on incentives for variable-speed models.
In light of Title 20 requirements, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric will eliminate rebates for two-speed products starting in 2010.
“Two-speed pumps [1 total horsepower or greater] are already required now, and replacement motors will be added in January,” said Gary Fernstrom, a staff augmentation employee for San Francisco-based PG&E. “There’s no reason to be giving utility incentives for two-speed products.”
Though the primary reason for adjusting the rebate lies behind what is required by law, utilities also stand to conserve energy by encouraging variable-speed products. Some studies have shown additional 30 percent savings by using variable- over two-speed pumps, according to Jeff Farlow, program manager of energy initiatives at Pentair Water Pool and Spa in Sanford, N.C.
The exact rebate levels for variable-speed are still to be determined, but the utilities are working to design their individual programs by the beginning of 2010. However, if the new program isn’t ready in time, the two-speed rebates may be prolonged into next year.
“It’s highly possible we won’t be ready Jan. 1, and we may just extend the current program over until March or April,” Fernstrom said.
Meanwhile, Edison just announced a large rebate for the Coachella Valley area. Residents of Blythe, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage are eligible for a rebate of $535 on variable-speed pumps through the end of the year.
New pump rebate programs are popping up throughout the nation, particularly in the Northeast.
“There’s a lot of activity right now,” Farlow said. “I’m getting a phone call about every week or two from a utility that’s interested in pool pump [rebates].”
However, Title 20-type legislation has not been introduced or become effective in other states, so two-speed pumps remain a part of these newer programs.