Heads Up!
No Springs Utilities boiler rebates

       Editor's note: Westsider Alex Echevarria copied the Westside Pioneer on an e-mail exchange he had with Colorado Springs Utilities (below). We are running it in hopes the information will prove helpful to people interested in applying for energy rebates. For more information, call Utilities at 448-4800 or go to csu.org.
       Dear C.S. Utilities: Recently we had a 90 percent efficiency boiler/water heater installed. Our home has radiant heat and we used to have a very inefficient boiler converted from coal to gas. It probably came with the house when it was built in 1897. Our new boiler is amazing in how efficient it is and how much we have saved on our gas already.
       When we had it installed, I looked on your website for a “green” rebate. You had about a hundred furnaces but no boilers. We asked our installer to ask you about this. Your reply was you only gave rebates for furnaces. Why? He forwarded us the message, and there was no explanation or rational behind this.
       We wish to preserve the historical character of our home on the Westside. Our radiators are works of art and they fit the character of our home. Why wouldn't you encourage homeowners to preserve the historical characteristics of their homes when they upgrade their heating system? The boilers you can find on the market today are very efficient. Isn't it time for you to think again about your policy of offering rebates for boilers?
       Please write me back with a rational explanation why you don't offer rebates for highly efficient boilers. I don't want an explanation like the last one that said nothing. Have you done your research and have a justification for your policy? I would really like to know.

Alex Echevarria
22 N. 13th St.

       [To Echevarria]: I'm sorry to hear that you have had a difficult time getting a clear answer regarding the rationale of our program portfolio. You are correct that we offer rebates on Energy Star-qualified furnaces, but not boilers because of the customer demand. The majority of homes in Colorado Springs use natural gas forced- air furnaces. We did offer rebates on boilers at one time, for several years. We had low to no participation in these programs so we discontinued them. Because there are administrative costs associated with all rebates, we cannot continue to keep programs open that under-perform.
       We have not reintroduced this because we have limited resources each year for our entire natural gas portfolio. We compare all of these programs against one another to see which ones will be the most popular and the most cost-effective, to both the utility and the customer. We also look at the cost of the products to determine what kind of financial incentive will be necessary to motivate people to upgrade to energy efficiency. When we look at the potential offerings, we get the most savings from our windows rebate. This is also our most popular residential rebate. So, the majority of the portfolio budget is allocated here.
       Please let me know if you still have further questions.

Jeff Rath
Colorado Springs Utilities