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Courtesy of BriteSwitch.
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How Rebate Programs Are Responding to COVID-19

April 8, 2020
Leendert Jan Enthoven, president, BriteSwitch, shares four things to keep in mind regarding rebate programs during this pandemic.

By Leendert Jan Enthoven, president, BriteSwitch 

The coronavirus outbreak has hit many industries hard, including the electrical industry, and the editors of Electrical Wholesaling have been working hard to share information on how it's impacting electrical distributors, reps and manufacturers. Lighting rebates, too, have been impacted by the virus, and Leendert Jan Enthoven, president of BriteSwitch, Princeton, NJ, which he founded in 2008 to help businesses take advantage of rebate and incentive programs in the United States and Canada, was kind enough to let us publish the following information on how lighting rebates are responding to the pandemic. Here are four things to keep in mind regarding rebate programs:

Most programs are still taking applications and issuing checks. A vast majority of the programs are still taking pre-approval and final rebate applications and issuing checks for projects, but because most companies have either implemented remote-working or reduced staff, pre-approvals and final applications may take longer than usual. If you are currently working on a project or considering one for this year, give yourself additional time for the approval process. Policies largely vary by area, so make sure to check with your local program.

Inspection requirements changed in many programs. Some rebate programs regularly conduct pre- or post-inspections as part of their process. In light of the federal guidelines for social distancing, many rebate programs have changed how they do these inspections. Some programs are now asking for photos of the equipment to verify rather than sending out an inspector, while other programs are trying to conduct video calls to verify projects and approve them. For the most part, programs are trying to limit all in-person activity, so if you're working on a project, be ready to provide more documentation than usual.

Program deadlines still in effect. At this point, there have not been many announcements changing program end dates or offering automatic extensions for projects that have been pre-approved. For program end dates, BriteSwitch recommends you assume these will not change and plan accordingly. If you have a pre-approved project that needs an extension, most rebate programs have been flexible, but be sure to keep program administrators in the loop.

Don't forget about your projects. With everything going on, it's easy to overlook something like a rebate application. If you've been pre-approved and finished the project, don't forget to submit the final rebate paperwork and invoices. If you don't think you'll finish in time, make sure to file for an extension if possible.

The staff at BriteSwitch is still working remotely to keep track of its clients' programs by staying on top of deadlines, approvals and more. They will reach out to their clients if extensions need to be filed and work with the utility if a project has to be delayed.

If you have a new project that you would like to consider doing sometime this year, they suggest starting the approval process earlier than usual. Pre-approvals can always be canceled in the event plans have to change, so it's better to start early. If you need help with a project, contact BriteSwitch for assistance.

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