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Emera Maine Heat Pump Study Shows Savings

Release Date:  12-09-2014

Bangor, ME—Emera Maine has filed the results of its 2013 Heat Pump Pilot Program with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The study reported average savings of $622 a year for participants, based on fuel oil cost of $3.90 a gallon. The range of savings varied significantly for participants in the program. Participants who relied heavily on their heat pumps to displace oil saved as much as $1,939. Participants who used their heat pumps more like a space heater saw savings of about $300 for the heating season.

In 2013, the former Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service offered a Heat Pump Pilot Program that introduced heat pumps to customers and stakeholders. The program included on-bill financing, a $600 rebate for the purchase of an energy-efficient ductless heat pump. Customers who installed a heat pump were also eligible for a reduced electric rate during the heating season.

“This pilot demonstrates that recent improvements in heat pump technology allow these systems to be a critical tool in addressing Maine’s heating costs,” said Patrick Woodcock, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “Through the leadership of the Governor, and the enabling legislation sponsored by Sen. Michael Thibodeau, this innovative pilot has catalyzed momentum for a cost-effective method to cut energy bills dramatically.”

The pilot program involved 1,000 participants from the Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Districts. Of these customers, 85 percent said they were very satisfied with both the program and the heat pump. As for the savings they were able to achieve by using the heat pump, 78 percent said they were very satisfied.

“The program helped raise awareness of air-source heat pump technology and its viability as an effective heating technology for cold weather climates” said Kathy Billings, Emera Maine Senior Strategy Advisor. “We see even greater potential for savings if customers increase the use of their heat pumps and decrease the use of other, less-efficient heating sources.”

The Efficiency Maine Trust partially funded the pilot and incentivizes the installation of high-efficiency ductless heat pumps for residential and business customers. “Lessons learned from the Heat Pump Pilot Program were critical to launching a statewide incentive for high-efficiency heat pumps. This pilot proved that ductless heat pump technologies can be very effective in cold climates. Heat pumps are an increasingly popular energy efficiency solution for Maine homeowners and businesses thanks in part to the success of the Pilot Program.” said Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine Trust.

“We need to continue this momentum and ensure that our low and moderate income households have opportunities to utilize cost effective methods to lower heating costs, including energy efficiency, wood pellets, advanced oil systems, natural gas, and anything that will keep more money in Mainers’ pockets,” said Woodcock.

“We’re very pleased with these results,” said Billings. “We’re working on a new program to build on this success, which includes customer education on strategic use of heat pumps to maximize heating cost savings.

The study also showed that the average participant reduced their CO2 emissions by 4,212 pounds per year which is equivalent to driving 4,549 fewer miles per year.

The complete study results as well as additional information on heat pump technology is available on our Heat Pump page.