Saint John Energy is joining NB Power in promoting mini-split heat pumps, by offering to rent them to customers on a monthly basis.

NB Power's rebate program for heat pump buyers has been very successful.

But Saint John Energy thinks not everyone is interested in paying a lot all at once for the long-term savings the pumps can offer.

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Saint John Energy's Marta Kelly says the most anyone will pay for a monthly rental fee is $47.99. (CBC)

"We wanted to be able to make them accessible to all of our rate payers and our customers," said Marta Kelly, the utility's vice-president of finance and customer service.

"The up-front capital costs can sometimes prohibit people from being able to afford them."

Kelly says the most anyone will spend renting each heat pump is $47.99 plus tax a month, which is why she's anticipating a lot of demand.

"The up-front cost can be around four thousand dollars and even higher, and that's a lot of money to shell out," she said.

"So customers can instead opt to rent them from us. They have a maintenance package included with them. They're worry-free and they can save energy and they will also have air conditioning in the summer."

Can bring significant savings

Cindy Boudreau of Saint John can already speak about the benefits of mini-split heat pumps.

She's had one installed at her home, and is happy with the heating bills.

But she also has rental properties, and hasn't made the switch for them as yet.

"It's kind of a lot of money to put out up-front, but with maybe renting them, especially the buildings we pay heat for, that would be something we would consider," Boudreau said.

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NB Power's heat pump rebate program has proved a big success since being introduced last September. (CBC)

She says based on her experience, the rental price seems like a good deal.

"I actually think that you would save that in energy anyway," said Boudreau. "I have a four level split, I haven't had an energy bill over $300, even in these last cold winters."

The deal also includes free installation, after an on-site assessment by Atlantic Heating and Cooling Solutions, which will also service the unit.

NB Power rebate program a hit

Last September, NB Power began a program that offered a $500 rebate on ductless, mini-split heat pumps, which proved an immediate hit, with 1,261 people taking the offer by mid-November.

All residential customers and commercial customers of Saint John Energy are eligible, and Atlantic Heating and Cooling Solutions is predicting it will install 400 to 500 units in the program's first year.

Clarifications

  • The NB Power rebate on purchasing heat pumps is available to all residents of New Brunswick, including customers of Saint John Energy and other utilities. A previous version of the story indicated Saint John Energy customers were not eligible.
    Jan 16, 2016 9:58 AM AT