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Ontario and Nova Scotia: converting SME to become energy efficient on behalf of utilities

To become more energy efficient, 100,000 companies joined the Small Business Lighting Program, a conservation initiative run by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and administered by Nedco (Rexel Canada).

“In collaboration with all the energy actors in the province, we have built a new energy transition business model, accelerating the introduction of durable and effective energy solutions.” explains Bob Arbuckle, Director of Energy Services at Nedco.

The challenge

Putting energy efficiency within reach of all small businesses

Crucial renovation

The average age of SME electrical installations in Ontario is over 15 years. In 2009, Ontario SME consumed 30% of the province’s total electricity production.

Complex execution

Ontario is the most populated province in Canada, with 13.5 million people and its capital, Toronto, the largest city in the country. Ontario is an industrialized region with 388,500 SME, scattered all around the Province.

Most of these SME are small. They are not always aware of the stakes and benefits of energy efficiency. They usually do not have the funding to invest in lighting retrofits.

  • 388,000

    SME in 2009

“We had to act collectively. That is how the Small Business Light Program began.”

The collaboration

Bringing all stakeholders together to achieve energy efficiency

More than a partnership, a new business model

Since 2008, Nedco has been associated with the electricity distribution companies in the province and Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to deploy the Small Business Lighting Program. The program has a single ambition: assist SME in their energy transition.

Leveraging its energy efficiency expertise and its relationship with thousands of contractors, Nedco offered a turnkey retrofit installation on behalf of the utilities and managed all aspects of the program.

Small Businesses with less than 50kW demand of electricity could benefit from the program: more than 300,000 were eligible.

“The Small Business Lighting Program helps small customers improve energy efficiency and save money as well as supporting the Province’s energy saving goals”

A skilled network and a unique collaboration


The results

Key benefits for each company and for the whole province

From 2008 to 2015, the Small Business Lighting Program, via Nedco, has assisted more than 100,000 companies. Each has benefited from assistance in executing its energy transformation.

  • +25%

    of SME in Ontario benefited from a lighting retrofit managed by Nedco

  • $50M

    saved by all the program beneficiaries

  • 1.5TWh

    of energy saved over these 7 years

  • 1.9M

    lamps recycled

  • +55

    local contractors at work

Nova Scotia replicating the success

In 2010, Nova Scotia introduced a similar energy efficiency Program by Efficiency Nova Scotia, with the major difference being it targeted even larger SME businesses. From 2010 to 2015, Nedco Atlantic (now Rexel Atlantic) was a “delivery agent” for the program adopting and adapting many of the same principles and organization as Nedco Ontario.

Delivery agents (DAs) are important actors in program success as they are responsible for all aspects related to the marketing, administration, ordering, delivery and installation of the materials as well as to the proper recycling of old materials. Therefore, they are required to have experienced staff members who can fulfill such responsibilities.

In 2012, Nedco Atlantic was awarded the Guiding Star award for Outstanding Energy Efficiency Partnership by Efficiency Nova Scotia.

  • 3,100

    SME benefited from the program

  • $29M

    saved by all the program beneficiaries

  • 52GWh

    of energy saved

  • +800,000

    lamps recycled

  • +100

    partner contractors performed the work

Entrepreneurs – in their own words

“Thanks to this program I have renovated my restaurant’s electric installations for the first time since 1988.”

“With the cost of energy rising so fast, we wanted to take advantage of it immediately.”

“It saves money, it’s good for the environment, and it’s easy.”

“We are an extremely environmentally conscious company, and this program helped us a lot to reach our goals.”

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