As economic uncertainty burgeons and restaurants struggle to reopen and discover what the “new normal” means for them, establishments in Metro New York City and in Rockland /Orange County, NY are searching for new ways to cut down on costs.
The new Con Edison rebate program, facilitated by a partnership with Energy Solutions provides New York City restaurateurs and food service operators with a cost-friendly, green, and local strategy to maximize energy savings.
With a goal of unlocking those savings for our readership, Total Food Service visited with the program’s administrator Sophia Showalter of Energy Solutions as well as Nikki Dubé of ConEd and Nikole DiPillo of Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R is a sister company of Con Edison) and to get a deeper understanding of the program’s benefits.
“Con Ed’s rebate program offers commercial appliance customers the opportunity to receive money back on purchases of new food service equipment,” Showalter noted. Offering paperwork-free incentives for an evolving mix of both electric and natural gas-powered devices, the program is easy to become a part of: customers need only work with any local equipment dealer already enrolled in the program and indicate their interest in taking advantage of the cost-saving program. Appliance installation is just as simple: so long as the business is within a Con Edison natural gas or electric service zone, they are eligible to receive the rebate on new equipment.
In the age of e-commerce, the rebate program keeps business local by supporting Metro New York kitchen equipment and supply dealers. “The program helps New York dealers compete against e-commerce websites, particularly for emergency replacements (which is how most equipment is replaced),” Dube noted. “A main goal of the program is to encourage the stocking of energy efficient equipment. When equipment breaks down, local dealers are able to offer their customer energy efficient equipment that is in stock, available for pickup that day, and priced at a reduced cost due to the rebates. This helps local dealers draw customers away from e-commerce sites because customers are able to purchase the equipment at a comparable price without waiting for the product to be shipped and delivered. Local dealers can also offer installation, service, and warranties that may not be available through an e-commerce site. The program is available to all dealers, including online dealers.”
“That said,” Dube continued, “it is much easier for brick & mortar dealers located in the New York area to implement and commit to the program because a vast majority of their customers will qualify for the rebates. For online dealers, implementation of the program is more complex because customers from all over the country visit their websites, meaning that marketing the program is not as simple. Large out-of-state online dealers have been slow to adopt the program due to the these questions of how to identify qualifying customers, how to market the program to a segment of their site visitors, and how to implement the rebates within the website itself.”
“The goal of our ConEd rebate program is to benefit the local community. Brick and mortar dealers can also offer installation, service, and warranties that may not be available through an e-commerce site and a vast majority of their customers will qualify for the rebates,” Dubé added.
“Con Edison offers rebates to non-residential customers for the purchase and installation of energy efficient food service equipment, DiPillo said. Our program allows customers to receive their rebate on their sales invoice at the time of purchase of qualifying food service equipment. That means the customer does not have to wait or fill out paperwork. Customers can work with any food service equipment dealer that is enrolled in the program to take advantage of the rebates; the dealer will submit the rebate claim on behalf of the customer. Eligible natural gas equipment must be installed at an active, valid, non-residential Con Edison natural gas service location. Eligible electric equipment must be installed at an active, valid, non-residential Con Edison electric service location. Religious institutions and veterans’ institutions with a residential account are also eligible for
ConEd’s new program offers more than just financial incentive. By selecting from a range of Energy Star approved appliances, customers also invest in the protection of the environment. According to Energy Star, the benchmark established by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the rigorous efficiency testing undertaken by participating manufacturers ensures that their designation honors products that reduce greenhouse emissions.
Thus, explained Dubé, “participation and the purchase and installation of energy efficient food service equipment offers additional benefits outside of savings on a customer’s utility bill. Energy efficient equipment promotes a healthier kitchen environment by reducing emissions, improving air quality, and reducing temperatures within the kitchen. Participating dealers can market the program as an investment they have made to help their customers afford energy efficient equipment and enjoy utility bill savings throughout the life of the equipment. In addition, food service equipment dealers in the program and their customers that participate are communicating to their community, and to the food service equipment industry, that they care about climate change and reducing CO2 emissions. We all must do our part to participate in the clean energy transition and the Energy Star label communicates that a business is investing in sustainability. Con Edison works with participating dealers and customers that have received rebates to create case studies for use on their website to highlight the commitment of these partners to reducing their carbon footprint.”
As the food services industry embarks on what will likely be a lengthy recovery following the pandemic, ConEd has begun to see increased demand for rebate-compliant appliances. “Yes, the program offers rebates on many product types for both gas and electric equipment. Fryers and convection ovens are the most successful product types within the program. Both product types have high demand because so many different types of food service establishments use them. Electric equipment generally has been in high demand. At this point, it’s unclear if the increased demand is due to supply chain shortages that are impacting gas equipment, or if the market is responding to the push toward electrification by proactively switching to electric equipment. Combination ovens are also growing in popularity, especially in New York City, where there are space constraints. Combination ovens can replace the need for both steamers and convection ovens.,” added DiPillo. Additionally, electric equipment has seen an uptick in demand, fueled primarily by the impact of supply chain shortages on gas appliances and the market’s shift away from gas power. Combi ovens are also a popular choice amongst consumers – especially those based in New York City – as they remedy space constraints by combining the benefits of ventless cooking into a single appliance. Con Edison currently offers rebates on 12 gas product types and 9 electric product types. We are always looking for new product types to add based on market research and feedback, so this list evolves and changes
Despite the ever-evolving economic environment, ConEd remains steadfastly committed to providing consumers with the best bang for their buck. The rebate program saves restaurant and foodservice professionals money both at purchase and throughout the lifetime of an appliance through its partnership with eco-friendly pioneer Energy Star.
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “For a product to receive the ENERGY STAR designation, the manufacturer must have the product tested for various energy efficiency (and sometimes water efficiency) metrics, as dictated by the applicable ENERGY STAR product specification, Dube noted. The product will be tested by an EPA-recognized certification body (CB) and the CB personnel will determine if a product meets the ENERGY STAR criteria based on the efficiency requirements laid out in the product specification. In short – the ENERGY STAR designation indicates that a product is meeting the minimum energy efficiency standards set by the ENERGY STAR product specification document. I will add that the program also accepts products that have been tested and approved through the FSTC/Foodservice Technology Center in addition to ENERGY STAR certified products.”
Overall, Con Edison ensures that the hospitality professional keep their business local, reduce their carbon footprint, and save hard-earned cash by offering a suite of modern and efficient appliances at competitive prices.
The programs popularity has been driven by its simplicity. “There is no paperwork that the customer needs to fill out to take advantage of the rebates! The food service equipment dealers that participate have been trained to offer the rebates and it is the dealers’ responsibility to submit the rebate form,” DiPillo concluded. “At this point, the customer’s work is done! After the sale is completed, the dealer will submit a claim for the rebate via the program’s online claim processing platform. The dealer receives a check within 2 weeks of a claim’s approval as reimbursement for the rebate amount that was discounted off the customer’s invoice.”
For additional queries concerning product eligibility, rebate amounts, and contact information, go to the ConEd website to learn about the product types that are eligible for rebates, the corresponding rebate amounts, and to find contact information on enrolled dealers that offer the rebates. For any customer questions about how to take advantage of the rebates or if you are a dealer and want to enroll in the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-440-5466 to communicate directly with the program implementation team.