Smart Ideas for Your Business

How to Participate
ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business® program provides financial
incentives to help you achieve your energy efficiency goals.
Whether your business is large or small, whether your building is
new or old, upgrading to energy-efficient equipment can provide
savings that go straight to your bottom line. By reducing the initial
project cost, the Smart Ideas program accelerates your payback —
and your approval process.
Most ComEd business customers in the private sector can
participate in ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business program.
Because these businesses pay into the Energy Efficiency Programs
incentive fund, they qualify for
Smart Ideas for Your Business
incentives for energy efficiency
improvements. Businesses
throughout northern Illinois
are taking advantage of these
incentives to upgrade everything
from their lighting to their
vending machines.
Interested? Read on to find out
how to participate in Smart Ideas
for Your Business. Don’t know
where to start? Contact the
Smart Ideas team – we can help
you find opportunities to save
STEP 1: Check Project and Equipment Eligibility
If your business receives its electricity over ComEd wires (i.e., is a
delivery service customer of ComEd) regardless of the retail electric
supplier from which you purchase power, and your business is on
a qualifying non-residential rate, you can participate in ComEd’s
Smart Ideas for Your Business program.
Several cities and towns, such as Naperville, Geneva and Batavia,
have their own electric distribution systems, and businesses in
those towns are not customers of ComEd and so are not eligible for
Smart Ideas program incentives. Specific details on eligibility can
be found in the terms and conditions section of ComEd’s Smart
Ideas for Your Business application.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
(DCEO) program offers similar incentives for electricity customers
in the public sector, such as government (federal, state and local)
buildings, municipal (water and park district) buildings and public
schools (including colleges and universities). Information about
the DCEO program can be found at, by
calling (217) 785-2863 or e-mailing the DCEO at [email protected]
To be eligible for an incentive, your project must be a new
improvement to an existing facility that results in a permanent
reduction in electrical energy usage (kWh). (The Smart Ideas New
Construction program provides incentives and technical services
for new buildings.)
STEP 2: Submit
(Reserve Funds)
ComEd’s Smart Ideas program
provides both prescriptive and
custom incentives for energy
efficiency retrofits. Prescriptive
incentives are on a dollars-perunit-installed basis. A unit can
be a lamp, fixture, horsepower,
linear foot or watt reduction,
and incentives range from a few
dollars to hundreds of dollars
per unit. Custom incentives are
different for each project and are determined based on energy
savings calculated for the first year.
Once you have identified your project and made sure it is eligible
for incentives, we strongly recommend that you submit a preapproval application. Applications can be found on the Smart Ideas
for Your Business section of ComEd’s Web site (
BizIncentives). There are separate forms for prescriptive indoor
and outdoor lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, VSDs, compressed air,
and commercial kitchen projects. If you don’t see your electricitysaving measure listed on the appropriate prescriptive incentive
form, it may be eligible for a custom incentive.
Pre-approval reserves program funds for your project for up to 90
days. Pre-approval is required for some prescriptive applications
and for all custom applications, so be sure to read the application
forms carefully to determine whether pre-approval is required.
Each application includes an incentive worksheet that enables you
to calculate your incentive. Applications are available online in
PDF or in Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet form. For custom projects,
the application is slightly different; you will need to describe the
project, determine how much energy it will save, and explain
how you calculated the savings and your incentive. Detailed
instructions accompany the application.
Fill out the application completely and be sure to sign it. Missing
information will delay your application.
Detailed equipment specifications are included in each application
form. All installed equipment must meet or exceed the specifications
given in the application to qualify for an incentive. Lighting
equipment specifications rely upon the efficiency specifications
developed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). Go to
the CEE Web site to check the lists of eligible lighting equipment
Many customers choose to work with contractors that have
been trained on the Smart Ideas for Your Business program and
paperwork. These Trade Allies can be found at
TradeAlly. If you choose to upgrade your facilities with in-house
staff rather than through a contractor, leave the contractor
information blank on your application form.
When your application is received, ComEd’s Smart Ideas team will
review it for eligibility and completeness. For some projects, a preinstallation inspection will be necessary, and you will be contacted
to schedule it. In some cases, the pre-inspection can be waived
if you attach “before” photos — shots of the existing equipment
— to your pre-application. If the pre-inspection is waived, be sure
to keep a sample of the old equipment or fixtures for the final
If the project is approved, you will receive a letter confirming
that your incentive funds have been reserved for 90 days. Funds
reserved for one project are not transferable to other projects.
STEP 3: Install Equipment
or Perform Project work
Incentive funds are reserved for 90 days, giving you 90 days
to complete a project. To save time, ComEd’s Smart Ideas team
strongly recommends that you have a contractor selected before
you submit your application.
If the work cannot be completed in 90 days, you may qualify for
an extension. Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis. If,
for example, ordered equipment cannot be delivered within 90
days, an extension may be granted. Contact ComEd’s Smart Ideas
team for specific questions regarding funding reservations and
Make sure that the equipment installed is the equipment listed
in the application, and that it meets or exceeds the specifications
Smart Ideas® is funded by ComEd customers in compliance with Illinois Public Act 95-0481
©2011 Commonwealth Edison Company
provided. It is possible for a project to be disqualified for incentives,
even if the application was pre-approved, because the equipment
installed was not the equipment approved. The project installation
should stay within the scope outlined in the pre-application. If it
changes more than 10 percent, contact the Smart Ideas team.
STEP 4: Submit Final Application
Once you have installed the equipment, you must complete, sign
and submit a final application with the specified documentation,
within 60 days of completing the project. The final application is
the same form as the pre-application, except that you will check
the box that says “final” on the applicant information page.
Submit the entire final application, which includes:
1.The signed applicant information page. Update the project
completion date and project cost, and be sure that your ComEd account number and taxpayer ID number are on the
applicant information page.
2.The signed final application agreement.
3.The incentive worksheet for measures installed.
4.An updated scope of work (detailed project description). The
scope of work simply lists the type, quantity and wattage of
the old (replaced) equipment and the new equipment.
5. Dated, itemized invoices for the purchase and installation of
all equipment.
6.Equipment specification sheets showing that equipment installed meets program specifications.
Make sure your scope of work, specification sheets and invoices
correspond to the incentive worksheet and the total project cost.
Providing sufficient documentation and information with the
final application will help avoid delays caused by requests for more
information. A checklist on the applicant information page of each
application helps you remember the necessary documentation.
Incentive payments are based on a review of the final application
and supporting documentation, as well as a site inspection if
necessary. Many of the program’s terms and conditions can only be
validated when the project is complete and the final application is
received, so your incentive amount may be adjusted at the time of
the final application.
STEP 5: Receive Incentive Payment
ComEd’s Smart Ideas team will review the final application. Once
the application and supporting documentation are completed
and approved, the incentive check will be mailed within four to six
Contact Us
For more information about ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business
call 888-806-2273 or visit