“There are so many programs out there, it can be a little confusing to business owners,” said Maspeth Industrial Business Zone Coordinator Jean Tanler, a co-sponsor of the workshop. “We decided to bring all the big players here so businesses know what's available to them.”
Representing Con Edison, Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Reich presented information on the small business direct installation program, also available to private education facilities, religious institutions and businesses that pay their energy bills directly to Con Ed.
To get the ball rolling, businesses can call up Con Ed and ask for a free survey of the electric usage. Depending on the size of the business, a response report can be prepared in as little as a week.
“The survey tells you the kinds of upgrades that could be implemented to save you money, and you only have to pay 30 percent of the installation cost – Con Ed pays the other 70 percent,” said Reich.
Business owners can pick and choose what suggestions to implement, or choose none at all, and after the survey they are given free compact fluorescent light bulbs up to $100.
“It's a pretty sweet deal, and there is a huge demand for this program,” said Reich.
National Grid was on hand to encourage business owners to upgrade to high-efficiency gas commercial kitchen equipment and gas/water heating. A variety of rebates is available to incentivize them to do so. For example, purchasing a high-efficiency commercial steamer and fryer can qualify the owner for a $1,000 rebate per unit. Sales Consultant George Watler pointed out that not only restaurants, but catering businesses, nursing homes and schools can benefit from this rebate.
“If you don't have gas, become a gas customer,” said Watler. “The action you take today will reap benefits for years to come.”
Joseph DiTroia, president of the U.S. Columbarium and a co-sponsor of the workshop, has already had an energy survey done through Con Ed. Now he is also taking advantage of National Grid's gas incentives.
“I'm evidence of these programs,” he said. “They will find a way to help you.”
DiTroia added that the Columbarium is also looking for ways to help the community, and one way is by hosting free workshops.
“We'll be having other public forums and events that we want to open up to the community,” he said, “to let them know that we're here. We want people to be aware of these good things and of our facilities.”
Tanler noted that the workshop was just one initiative of the Business Outreach Center Network, which the Maspeth IBZ is a part of. Tanler's job is to help businesses with industrial financing, government incentives, employee hiring/training and to help and retain industrial business in New York City.
“Businesses are looking at their bottom line and ways to save money, and this is one great way to do it,” said Tanler. “It puts a dent in any energy costs and it's good for the environment.”
For more information on Maspeth IBZ services, visit their website or contact Tanler at 718-205-3773.