NB Power's new heat pump rebate program is being praised by heating companies as the initiative is causing a spike in interest from homeowners.

The Crown corporation's program, which offers a $500 rebate on ductless, mini-split heat pumps this year, was announced on Sept. 30,

Heating and ventilation companies throughout the province have been busy fielding calls about heat pumps since the rebate was announced.

"We love it. It's a great idea." - Ross Mitchell, Action Air in Moncton

Ross Mitchell, the owner of Action Air in Moncton, has seen a 15-per-cent spike in business since the rebate was announced. 

"We love it. It's a great idea. The homeowners are going to benefit as well as small businesses," he said.

Mitchell says even without the rebate, the savings with the mini-split pumps are substantial: 

"The units NB Power put on their list, they're going to save you $400, on average, a year if you're heating with electric now, or oil or wood," he said.

New Brunswickers purchase 10,000 to 15,000 heat pumps each year. Until now, less than one-third of them have have been high-efficiency models. 

The CBC spoke with other contractors participating in the program and most are averaging two calls an hour from customers inquiring about the pumps.

Jessica DeLong of Saint John Energy says the rebate isn't exclusive to NB Power customers.

 "It doesn't matter if you are a Saint John Energy customer or an NB Power customer, or if you're up in Perth-Andover, everybody that has a home or is a homeowner in New Brunswick is able to apply for these rebates," she said.