Lighting upgrade

100s of local businesses and non-profits have upgraded their lighting taking advantage of the 70% NYSEG subsidy (they call the program the “Small Business Direct Install”), with payback periods of 1-4 years. Here are a few local testimonials:

Pat Moe, Owner of the Finger Lakes Beverage Center

"We used the NYSEG incentive which repays 70% of your commercial lighting upgrade for a business our size. The payback calculation was less than a year, and through NYSEG we are paying our cost in installments to NYSEG over 6 months, so the savings & financing are a no-brainer. We couldn't afford NOT to take part in this opportunity, once we became aware of the quick payback. We could schedule the contractor to the lowest traffic time of our business week, so the disruption was minimal. These fixtures will be much easier to maintain now, with four 3-foot bulbs instead of two 8-foot bulbs. Other businesses should do this and soon.

One of the tenants in our building took part right away as well since they pay their own utilities. The corporate offices of the other tenant is considering the investment also.

The paperwork was so smooth, we will now pursue a full NYSERDA energy audit to see how we can save on our heating bills & condensers for our 4 coolers."


Ken Jupiter, Owner, Fifteen Steps:

"When the representative from NYSEG's Small Business Energy Efficiency Program visited my store and informed me that she could help me to significantly reduce my electricity costs, she had my interest. As a specialty shop with extremely high ceilings and the need for lots of lighting, I run my business lights constantly. During our initial conversation she documented some basics. A few days later she returned with a proposal that:

  • Promised to save me roughly 60% on my annual electric bill if I changed to more energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs and ballasts;

  • Promised to subsidize my cost for retrofitting my fluorescent lights by 70%; and

  • Promised to pay my investment in business lighting retrofits back within the first year based on my electricity savings!

On the day of the work, I came in early and assisted the contractors so my business would be back up and running as soon as possible. All things considered I'd have to say the disruption was minimal. 

As a small business owner in this economy, this investment seemed like a no-brainer. Given the savings, the financing, and the back office support, I'd suggest other small businesses consider working with the Small Business Energy Efficiency Program as soon as possible.

And here are stories from other places which show specific savings achieved:

Parkleigh, a gift store in Rochester, had 410 energy efficient lights installed, including 355 LED lamps. The store will save more than 87,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, and will see an approximate 69% reduction in lighting costs. That’s a 148% return on investment and a payback of just 8.1 months.

Kristt Kelly Office Systems Corporation in Monticello had 201 energy efficient lights and 5 LED exit signs installed, saving an estimated $3,554 in the first year with a payback of just 18 months.

Craft Antique Co-Op, a 55,000-squarefoot facility in Rochester, had 287 energy efficient lights installed. The Co-Op will save an estimated 61,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and $7,100 on electricity bills each year.

Super Casuals, a clothing store in Geneva, replaced the lamps in 105 fixtures saving 17,605 kilowatt-hours of electricity and $1,700 each year with a payback of 17 months.

Share your savings story by writing

NYSEG offers a free lighting assessment and up to 70% of the cost of the lighting upgrade for eligible businesses. Over 500 businesses and non-profits in Tompkins County have taken advantage of this program, cutting down on their electricity bills.

How to upgrade?

1. Get a free lighting assessment by signing up with Enerpath/Lime Energy, NYSEG's chosen contractor:

  • Call 1 (877) 359-9814

  • Write

  • Register Online (scroll to the bottom of page)

2. Review the assessment with the contractor and explore your options for lighting, including LEDs.

3. Sign the contract. Get on the installer’s construction schedule. They will complete all of the project engineering, permitting, interconnection, and financing paperwork, including what you need to claim the incentives.  

Who is eligible?

Business customers with demand of less than an average of 110 kilowatts (kW) per month. (Note this is different from the amount of electricity you purchase, which is in kWh.) You can check your eligibility here or by calling 1 (877) 359-9814.

Got Questions?

Contact Guillermo Metz, Energy Team Leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, at or (607) 272-2292.