Have we reached Now or Never? Insight to 2024 utility programs and changes

February 15, 2024

Out with the old, and in with the new. Many welcome the New Year with open arms as an opportunity to start fresh, pursue new goals and drive change.

In 2023, we continued to see inflation rise, impacting the cost of goods and energy rates. We also witnessed the decrease (and in some cases total elimination) of utility-funded energy efficiency programs.

Despite these economic challenges, a combination of strategic planning and customized client solutions allowed EMC to deliver over $11.6 million dollars in energy efficiency incentives to their customers in 2023!

EMC also proudly commemorated its 20th anniversary last year, an impressive accomplishment and testament to the experience and dedication required to deliver energy efficient solutions to customers.

Looking ahead to 2024, our intentions are clear: to continue helping commercial customers maximize utility program incentives and achieve sustainability goals and maximize utility program incentives with our industry-leading expertise and proactive approaches.

Utility Program Trends

Incentives are a strategy used by utilities to complete projects, which in turn improve system performance, resulting in energy and financial savings for everyone involved.

Grid reliability and outdated infrastructure continue to be a concern across the U.S. as demand for electricity grows. Although energy efficiency requirements are being implemented for new construction, energy use in existing buildings continues to be an opportunity for major improvements. Here is what you should know as we begin 2024:

  • Lighting programs are starting to phase out as LED technology continues to become more cost friendly and readily available to consumers. Utilities have expressed that lighting rebates are losing their luster and becoming less of a driving force behind customers converting to more efficient lighting. As interest in program participation continues to decline, utilities are adjusting their offerings to evolve with current market needs.
  • Early completion bonuses are available in certain areas to recognize energy savings and reduce peak demands prior to the added stress summer heat places on the grid. Utilities offering early completions bonuses include ComEd, Xcel Energy (CO), First Energy OH, Ameren Illinois, Consumer Energy, PPL Electric and Energy Wise for Business.
  • Utilities are placing emphasis on controls as the next step to achieve overall reductions in energy consumption. While incentives for LED lighting continue to diminish across utility programs, we are seeing the complete opposite when it comes to controls.

Controls can be utilized in diverse applications such as HVAC, implementing or updating building management systems (SBC) and, of course, lighting. Utilities such as Eversource MA have alluded that 2024 will be the last year for lighting incentives and future programs will require controls to qualify for incentives on the lighting portion of a project.

So, when it comes to lighting incentives, have we reached the point of now or never? The short answer is no. However, we anticipate program funding to continue to decrease and eligibility requirements to increase.

It is clear controls are the future, especially as first-generation LED lights begin failing and need replacement. EMC is committed to helping companies maximize their energy efficiency projects now and continue to capitalize on those ROI savings in years to come.


Meghan Ledwein is an energy program strategist and has been with EMC for over 8 years. With prior experience as a senior solutions manager and project manager, Meghan is able to offer a strategic approach to projects that leverages utility incentive programs and helps customers meet their energy efficiency and sustainability goals.