The main goals of the C&I Standard Offer Program are to reduce summer peak demand at commercial and industrial facilities within CenterPoint Energy's electricity distribution territory and to encourage the private sector delivery of energy efficiency products and services. The program's general rules and requirements have been established with these goals in mind, and they are presented in this section of the site.
Who may participate?
Any entity that can demonstrate competency in designing and implementing energy efficiency projects and a commitment to fulfilling program objectives is eligible to participate in the C&I Standard Offer Program. Participants--called "Project Sponsors"--may be any of the following:
- National or local energy services companies
- Local contractors
- National or local companies that provide energy-related services or products (such as lighting or HVAC equipment)
- Commercial property developers
- Design/build firms
- Architectural and engineering firms
- Retail electricity providers
- Individual customers who install measures in their own facilities
Project Sponsors must register for a EnerTrek® user name and password before submitting applications for incentives. Project Sponsor requirements are discussed in detail in the Participation Process section of this Web site.
A "project" is defined as the set of energy efficiency measures (and the associated demand and energy savings) proposed by a Project Sponsor on a single application. To be eligible, a project must meet the following requirements:
- The set of measures must provide a total estimated summer peak demand reduction of at least 20 kW. Summer peak demand reduction is defined as the maximum one-hour average demand reduction that occurs when the newly installed system is operating at peak capacity during weekdays between the hours of 1 P.M. and 7 P.M. from May 1 until September 30, excluding holidays.
- The set of measures must produce electricity savings (kWh savings).
- The project must be implemented at a facility that is owned or operated by a commercial or industrial CenterPoint Energy distribution customer. This "host customer" must be willing to commit to the project, enter an agreement with the Project Sponsor, and provide reasonable access to the facility for inspection purposes.
- The project must occur at a single site with a total maximum peak demand of more than 100 kW or multiple sites with a combined maximum peak demand greater than 250 kW.
- The set of measures must be installed at a single customer site, unless the subject sites are similar. For example, the installation of measures at a chain of grocery stores may include more than one site, but could qualify as a single project. A Project Sponsor may include as many similar customer sites as desired on one application. If sites are dissimilar, however, a separate application is necessary for each site, and each of those applications is considered a unique project.
With some exceptions1, Project Sponsors may propose any measure that:
- Provides measurable and verifiable reductions in electric energy consumption and/or peak demand
- Produces savings through an increase in energy efficiency
- Has a useful life of at least 10 years (except for CFLs)
- Exceeds applicable minimum efficiency standards
The following table lists the program's pre-approved energy efficiency measures.
|End use||Pre-approved energy efficiency measure|
|Cooling||-Constant air volume to variable air volume conversion* |
-Packaged cooling unit replacement
-Air-side and water-side economizers*
-Fan and pump variable-speed drive installations*
-Fan and pump motor efficiency upgrades
-High efficiency fluorescent lighting
|Refrigeration||-Air cooling and refrigeration compressor replacement projects |
-Refrigerated case doors
|Industrial process||-Variable-speed drive installations on industrial fans and pumps* |
-All motor-efficiency upgrade projects
*While variable air volume, variable speed drive, and economizer measures may not individually yield substantial savings, these measures may be packaged with other demand-saving measures to meet the minimum project size requirement.
1Certain types of measures are excluded from consideration in the program; these ineligible measures are those that:
- Involve plug loads (i.e., office equipment), except vending machines
- Involve self-generation or cogeneration, except for renewable technologies
- Involve electric equipment with decoupled self-generation
- Rely on changes in customer behavior and require no capital investment
- Result in negative environmental or heath effects
- Involve fuel-switching to electric
- Involve load shifting
- Receive incentives under any other energy efficiency program offered by CenterPoint Energy
Baselines and efficiency standards
CenterPoint Energy has designed the C&I Standard Offer Program to encourage electric energy efficiency improvements that go above and beyond the efficiency gains typically achieved in retrofit or replacement projects. Consequently, energy and demand savings credit is based only on reductions that exceed current state and federal minimum efficiency standards, wherever such standards apply. In cases where these standards do not exist, savings credit is based on improvements relative to a customer's energy use prior to participating in the program.
The federal and state equipment efficiency standards used in the C&I Standard Offer Program are available for downloading from the following table. Note that these standards are Adobe® PDF® documents, available for viewing and printing only with Adobe Acrobat Reader®.
|Equipment type||Applicable standard||Click to download|
|Cooling and ventilation||Cooling equipment tables based on ASHRAE Standard 90.1||Cooling Equipment Standard.pdf (497K)|
|Lighting||Standard Lighting Wattage Table|| |
Central Wattage Table.pdf (269 kB)
|Motors||Motor table based on ASHRAE Standard 90.1m-1995||Motor Standard.pdf (132K)|
The Standard Tables above list applicable baseline standards for Retrofit and New Construction projects. Regardless of whether the project is a retrofit or a new construction application, the newly installed equipment must exceed the 2008 City of Houston C&I Energy Conservation Code, in order to qualify for incentives.
Participation costs and confidentiality
Project Sponsors must submit an application deposit in the amount of 5% of the incentive estimate listed in the approved Initial Application. (Project Sponsors choosing to forego the Initial Application should submit an application deposit equal to 5% of the requested incentive with the Final Application.) The deposit may be a check or money order; it is due to the Program Manager within 30 days of being notified of the Initial Application's approval.
Depending on the project's performance, all or a portion of the application deposit will be returned to the Project Sponsor at the time of the second incentive payment. The amount refunded is based on the percentage of the contracted incentive amount actually received by that Sponsor, as illustrated in the following table:
Percent of contracted
incentive payment received
Percent of deposit refund
50 - 74.9%
0 - 49.9%
CenterPoint Energy will not reimburse any Project Sponsor for the costs incurred by participating in the C&I Standard Offer Program, including costs of preparing applications and reviewing the Standard Agreement. Furthermore, CenterPoint Energy may retain the application deposit for projects that drop out of the program before producing savings.
This program is subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which may request a copy of any program materials that CenterPoint Energy receives. Sensitive company and project information submitted by the Project Sponsor to CenterPoint Energy (such as financial statements) will be treated confidentially to the fullest extent possible, and will not be provided directly to outside parties other than the Commission. CenterPoint Energy will have no liability to any Project Sponsor or other party as a result of public disclosure of any submittals.