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Few people would say no to saving two hundred thousand on their energy bill, yet some still do. At the recent ACT Grower Summit in Leamington, Ontario, Svensson met with Haris Ahmadzai from natural gas supplier, Enbridge Gas. As Supervisor, Energy Conservation for Agriculture Market/Ontario, Haris has the inside track on accessing the company’s incentive programs for greenhouse growers.

Typically worth up to $200,000 per project, the program is a way of providing value to customers by helping them lower their natural gas consumption and costs, while also contributing to broader objectives of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ontario. 

Most growers take part and take steps to develop a more energy-efficient greenhouse, but a small percentage have yet to take advantage of the complimentary technical services and incentives available. Others may have missed that they can get double the typical incentive if they file an application with one of our Energy Solutions Advisors by July 1 this year. Haris ran us through some of the key factors involved in ensuring your application for incentives is successful – and the key dates for the 2023 program.

Svensson: We really enjoyed your talk at the meeting, so thanks for making time to make sure everyone’s aware of the program and the key dates.

HA: You’re welcome. It was our first year participating in ACT and we loved it. We would really like to be there next year.

Svensson: We were thrilled that 135 people joined. You mentioned some key dates. Before we get a little deeper into the program, could you give us the deadlines?

HA: July 1, August 19 and November 1. Those are the key dates for the 2023 incentive program. After Nov. 1, people will need to apply for next year’s program. But, get a completed application in by July 1 and we’re offering twice the normal incentive. That means CAN $ 0.20 per cubic metre of gas saved. If you’re able to get it done by Aug. 19, it’ll be CAN $ 0.15 per cubic metre. After Aug. 19, the final date to submit completed applications is Nov. 1 when you would get the normal rate of CAN $ 0.10 per cubic metre of natural gas saved.

Svensson: So, please explain. Why is a gas supplier giving incentives to large users to use less gas?

HA: Firstly, it’s important to note that as a gas utility, Enbridge Gas buys natural gas from the market at a price that is passed through to our customers without mark-up. Therefore, we do not make a profit on gas supply. In terms of our energy conservation programs, they are governed by the Ontario Energy Board and are meant to provide value to customers through reducing overall natural gas demand and resulting costs for consumers, while also contributing to the broader policy objective of reducing GHG emissions in Ontario.

As a large utility, we have offices in pretty much every part of Ontario and that makes it easier for us to deliver the program. We're already heavily involved with customers on the contract side, so it just makes sense for us to be able to deliver this program to them as well.

“Energy curtains are one of the most effective ways of reducing your natural gas consumption. It's actually one of our top projects. And we have worked with Svensson for a period of over 10 years now.”
-Haris Ahmadzai

Svensson: Who is the touch point for the grower?

HA: My responsibility is looking after the greenhouse sector for the province of Ontario. I have seven advisors who are all professional engineers and many of them have their certified energy manager designation. That gives them some specific knowledge in terms of how natural gas can be most efficiently consumed at various greenhouse operations. They are the customer touch point.

Svensson: How is the program structured?

HA: We have three different tracks when it comes to our incentives. We have a new construction track, a retrofit track and also an energy intensity track. There's also a feasibility aspect of the program, where the customer can consult a third-party expert to look into a specific measure in-depth, before making the call to implement it.

Svensson: Do you work with any of the Svensson energy consultants?

HA: Yes, absolutely. Energy curtains are one of the most effective ways of reducing your natural gas consumption. It's actually one of our top projects. And we have worked with Svensson for probably a period of over 10 years now. We do a lot of modeling and Svensson provides the u-values for modeling software used internally. Together we've helped a lot of customers install curtains.

When it comes to which supplier a customer should choose, we’re neutral. Customers are the key decision makers on which service provider and what product they will select; we are here to provide them the synopsis on the energy conservation measure. Our role is to let customers know about the benefits of curtains and how they can reduce their natural gas consumption.

Key dates for Enbridge Gas programs

  • July 1: Deadline for 2x the incentive rate (CAN $0.20 per cubic metre)
  • August 19: Deadline for 1.5x the incentive rate (CAN $0.15 per cubic metre)
  • November 1: Final date for 2023 applications at the normal rate (CAN $0.10 per cubic metre)

Eligible products

Svensson: Is there a total value of the incentives program? Can it run out before I get my application done?

HA: There are still funds left for 2023 that growers can apply for. Most importantly, growers want to pay attention to key dates such as July 1, where they can maximize their incentive or November 1, which is the deadline for all 2023 applications.

Svensson: It sounds fairly simple then, starting with identifying a way to reduce energy consumption.

HA: Yes, working with one of the seven engineers, they’ll calculate how many metres cubed of gas a measure can save, such as installing curtains, and then we’ll multiply that total saving in cubic metres by the incentive rate, which is usually CAN $ 0.10. If you can save two million cubic metres of gas usage, you can get an incentive of $200,000.

Svensson: And the new ClimaFlow vertical ventilation systems people are using to save more energy and manage humidity issues, that would also qualify?

HA: Yeah, absolutely. We've seen some greenhouses that are installing it. So far we have yet to get a project with full data sets (i.e. pre vs. post data). We require proof of how much natural gas was saved. We look at pre-project data and post-project data. 

Svensson: How long does the process take from project application through to project implementation and receiving incentives?

HA: That depends on the measure. For example, we've seen a current project unfold in two months, where they were replacing a 15 percent shade curtain with a 47 percent energy curtain. That was a very simple project done right away. We've also had projects where it's taken two to three years to complete. On average, it's about eight  to 12 months.

Svensson: Any tips for making a successful application?

HA: The first thing you need to do is connect with your energy advisor from Enbridge Gas. The program is only available through your Energy Solutions Advisor, so don’t do this alone. Every large account we have that's burning over 340,000 metres cubed of natural gas has a dedicated Energy Solutions Advisor from Enbridge Gas. So, one of the seven advisors that I mentioned earlier would be assigned to a large customer. In that situation, as long as the customer is working with their Energy Solutions Advisor, they’re in good hands.

Svensson: This is a well-known program, and yet there are some who don’t get involved?

HA: That’s right. We have engagement with 93 percent of greenhouse customers that are out there today. We want to hear from those remaining 7 percent of customers who maybe haven't reached out. We're here and all they have to do is call us.




Learn more about incentive programs available through Enbridge Gas by contacting Haris Ahmadzai at

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