Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Mary Pressler
CenterPoint Energy Rebate Programs
CenterPoint Energy has more than 2.5 million customers in the Greater Houston metropolitan area, making them the second largest utility in Texas (after Oncor). CenterPoint manages several energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses, which have achieved:
- 215 million kWh in annual electricity savings
- 152,000 metric tons of avoided carbon emissions
The benefits achieved by the CenterPoint programs are equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 25,000 American homes, or removing 32,000 cars from circulation. CenterPoint currently manages 22 energy incentive programs, which are classified by market segment:
|Market Segment||CenterPoint Incentive Programs|
Coolsaver A/C Tune-Up (Residential)
HVAC System Replacement
Smart Thermostat Instant Discount
Variable Speed Pool Pump
|Builders and Developers||CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes
Multifamily High Efficiency New Construction
Multifamily Water and Space Heating
Multifamily Direct Install Program
|Commercial & Small Industrial||Commercial High-Efficiency Foodservice (CHEF)
Commercial Standard Offer
Coolsaver A/C Tune-Up (Commercial)
Data Center Energy Efficiency
Healthcare Energy Efficiency
|Distributors, Contractors & Agencies||Residential Standard Offer
Hard-To-Reach Standard Offer
Mid-Stream Market Transformation
Agencies in Action
In this page, we will provide an overview of all the CenterPoint incentive programs listed in the table above.
CenterPoint Electric Efficiency Programs for Homes
As of 2023, CenterPoint Energy manages six electric efficiency programs that offer direct incentives for the residential sector:
|Energy Incentive Program||Description|
|Ceiling Insulation||Effective ceiling insulation provides both comfort and energy savings. This program is offered through contractors, service companies, community agencies and other organizations who install energy efficiency upgrades for homes.
*Incentives only available for existing homes, new constructions are not eligible.
|Coolsaver A/C Tune-Up||Your air conditioning system is inspected and serviced by a CoolSaver qualified technician. You can increase cooling output and energy efficiency by up to 27%.
This benefit is available for AC systems that meet the following requirements:
*Incentive available for residential customers in the CenterPoint territory, excluding apartments.
|HVAC System Replacement||CenterPoint offers a financial incentive when you upgrade to a new air conditioning unit with at least SEER 16 efficiency. The new unit must be installed by an approved contractor.|
|LED Lighting||Get point-of-sale discounts when purchasing ENERGY STAR Certified LED bulbs from approved retailers: Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sam’s Club.
ENERGY STAR light bulbs can achieve up to 90% energy savings, while lasting 15 times longer than standard light bulbs.
|Smart Thermostat Instant Discount||Get a discount coupon of up to $50 to purchase an ENERGY STAR Certified smart thermostat.|
|Variable Speed Pool Pump||A pool pump can cost you up to $500 per year in electricity bills. CenterPoint offers an incentive if you upgrade to a variable speed pump with one of their approved contractors.
The benefits of a variable speed pool pump are:
The incentive programs listed above are provided directly to residential customers. CenterPoint offers additional incentives through builders and developers.
CenterPoint Incentive Programs for Builders and Developers
CenterPoint offers four incentive programs for builders and developers. One program benefits single-family homes, and the other three benefit multifamily projects.
1) High Efficiency Homes
This program offers rebates for homebuilders and HERS raters who achieve energy savings of at least 10% or 750 kWh with respect to a baseline home, demonstrated with approved energy modeling software. Alternatively, a home can use prescriptive design features to earn the incentive. The following table summarizes the four tiers and the three compliance paths in the High Efficiency Homes program:
|Energy Efficiency Tier||Incentive Amount ($)||Path #1
(% kWh Savings)
|Base Efficiency||$100||750 kWh||10%||Not Available|
|Tier 1||$250||1,750 kWh||15%||R38 Attic
16 SEER AC
|Tier 2||$500||2,500 kWh||20%||R38 Attic
>SEER 16 AC
|High Efficiency||$750||3,000 kWh||25%||Not Available|
*NOTE: To qualify as Tier 2 or High Efficiency based on kWh savings or % savings, the home must also include one of the prescriptive Tier 2 measures.
When a home meets the requirements of two or three compliance paths, the incentive is calculated for the highest tier reached. For example, if a home saves 900 kWh (Tier 1) and this represents 15% of consumption (Tier 2), the incentive amount is $250 (Tier 2). In addition to offering rebates, the program supports developers with floor plan reviews, sales and operations training, and marketing materials.
2) Multi-Family High Efficiency New Construction Program
This program was created to promote the construction of low-rise multifamily projects with the ENERGY STAR certification. This is achieved by providing incentives and support for developers and HERS raters. The program targets developers and builders who meet one or more of the following conditions:
- Working with qualified raters during the design and construction stages.
- Achieving performance above code in their construction projects.
- Obtaining a building certification above code, from a recognized program.
As of 2021, the programs recognized by CenterPoint include: LEED, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, ENERGY STAR Multifamily High Rise (New Construction), Enterprise Green Communities, National Green Building Standard, Passive Building Certification, and the Living Building Challenge Certification.
The following table summarizes the incentive rates available under this program, according to the guidebook provided by CenterPoint:
|Energy Efficiency Measures||Incentive Rate|
|Base Performance Incentive, for savings up to 10% with respect to the baseline||$0.02 per kWh, up to $40 per unit|
|Bonus Performance Incentive, for savings exceeding 10% with respect to the baseline||$0.04 per kWh, up to $80 per unit|
|SEER 15 Central AC or Heat Pump||$75/unit|
|SEER 16+ Central AC or Heat Pump||$125/unit|
|Independent Mechanical Ventilation Fans||$50/unit|
|ENERGY STAR Refrigerator||$40/unit|
|ENERGY STAR Dishwasher||$10/unit|
|ENERGY STAR Clothes Washer||$30/unit|
|100% High Efficacy Lighting||$15/unit|
|Above Code Windows||$30/unit|
|R-19 / R13+5 ci Exterior Wall Insulation||$35/unit|
|R-49 Attic Insulation (Alternative: R-25 ci entirely above roof deck for 4+ stories)||$20/unit|
|Duct Leakage Testing (4+ stories only)||$25/unit|
|Air Leakage Testing (4+ stories only)||$25/unit|
|Bonus for Certification Above Code||$5/unit|
|Incentive for the services of a Rater or other Qualified Professional||$20/unit (paid directly to the Rater or Qualified Professional)|
*NOTE: The performance and prescriptive incentives can be added, and at least two prescriptive measures must be implemented to be eligible.
3) Multifamily Water and Space Heating Program
This program provides energy efficiency incentives for non-electric water heaters in multifamily constructions. The equipment must exceed federal standards and local building codes to qualify. In the case of storage tank water heaters, the minimum efficiency factor (EF) is 0.62 for a 40-gallon system, and 0.60 for a 50-gallon system.
The following table summarizes the incentive rates under this program, which vary depending on the market segment of the multifamily building – market rate or hard-to-reach (HTR):
|Energy Efficiency Measures||Incentive Rate|
|Shared Tankless Gas Array||$250/unit (market rate)
|Shared Central Gas Boiler, Water Heating Only||$150/unit (market rate)
|Individual Gas Water Heaters, Tank or Tankless||$200/unit (market rate)
|Combo Gas Water Heating and Space Heating System, In-Unit (incentive based on energy analysis)||$350-$500/unit (market rate)
If a multifamily project qualifies for both the High Efficiency New Construction program and the Water and Space Heating program, it gets an additional rebate of $25-$75 per unit.
4) Multifamily Direct Install Program
Unlike the HENC and WSH programs, which provide incentives for new multifamily buildings, the direct install program is for existing affordable housing. The building is first inspected to determine eligibility, and qualifying properties get free upgrades, which include:
- ENERGY STAR rated LED bulbs, up to 20 per dwelling unit
- Kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators (<1.5 GPM)
- Low flow showerheads (<2.0 GPM)
- Hot water piping insulation (R3 or better)
The program also provides educational materials for residents, which include energy saving tips.
CenterPoint Incentive Programs for Commercial and Small Industrial Buildings
CenterPoint also offers several energy incentives for commercial and small industrial buildings.
1) Commercial High-Efficiency Foodservice (CHEF) Program
The CHEF program from CenterPoint offers incentives for ENERGY STAR commercial kitchen equipment at the point of sale. The incentive is available from wholesalers, manufacturers, sales representatives, brand dealers, design consultants, industry buying groups, franchise groups and service/maintenance providers.
The following table summarizes the incentives available for all the ENERGY STAR product categories covered in the program:
|Kitchen Equipment||Typical Energy Savings (kWh)||Typical Lifetime Savings ($)||Incentive ($)|
|Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation||Up to 30% of HVAC costs||Up to 30% of HVAC costs||$700 per HP of capacity|
|Convection Oven||650 kWh/year||$680||$300|
|Combination Oven||7,000 kWh/year||$7,450||$750 – $1,500|
|Dishwashers||8,500 kWh/year||$18,000||$350 – $1,400|
|Steam Cookers||1,500 kWh/year||$12,000||$1,400 – $2,000|
|Solid or Glass Door Reach-in Freezers||900 kWh/year||$945||$150 – $450|
|Solid or Glass Door Reach-in Refrigerators||400 kWh/year||$420||$150 – $250|
|Hot Food Cabinets||3,000 kWh/year||$3,100||$150 – $900|
|Ice Makers||1,800 kWh/year||$1,345||$150 – $350|
*NOTE: The incentive amount depends on the product model and manufacturer.
These rebates can only be claimed for new ENERGY STAR equipment, and must be used in a facility with a non-residential power meter in the CenterPoint service area.
2) Commercial Standard Offer Program (CSOP)
This program offers incentives for a wide range of energy efficiency measures, in new construction and existing buildings. However, new constructions must exceed the requirements of current energy efficiency standards to be eligible.
The program classifies facilities into large or small, based on their current consumption and the targeted savings:
- Large facilities are those that currently have a peak demand of at least 100 kW in a single site, or 250 kW in multiple sites. They must achieve a demand reduction of at least 15 kW during summer, or energy savings of at least 100,000 kWh.
- Small commercial facilities are those with a peak demand of less than 100 kW. They must save at least 1 kW in demand, or 100 kWh in energy consumption.
In 2023, CenterPoint has a program budget of $6 million and a demand reduction goal of 13.2 MW. The maximum amount that can be claimed by a single sponsor is 20% of the budget ($1.2 million). The program opened for project applications on January 16, and all projects must be completed and submitted by December 1.
The following table summarizes the incentive rates available in 2023:
|Energy Efficiency Measure||Incentive per kW||Incentive per kWh|
|Lighting: Fluorescent, HID, CFL, Halogen||$110/kW||$0.03/kWh|
|Direct Expansion Cooling Systems||$317/kW||$0.11/kWh|
|Chiller-Based Cooling Systems||$374/kW||$0.11/kWh|
|Other Cooling Systems||$276/kW||$0.11/kWh|
|Variable Frequency Drives (VFD)||$200/kW||$0.06/kWh|
|Energy Efficient Window Film||$180/kW||$0.06/kWh|
|Renewable Energy (Solar, Wind, etc.)||$200/kW||$0.03/kWh|
*NOTE: The incentive cap is 50% of installed costs.
The 2022 CSOP had a total budget of $6.2 million and a demand savings target of 13.2 MW. CenterPoint had used $4.2 million by the end of the year, reaching 9.7 MW in demand savings.
427 commercial energy efficiency projects were submitted in 2022: 131 had been completed when the program closed applications, 251 were in construction, and only 45 had been canceled. The energy efficiency measures installed across these projects can be broken down as follows:
- 80% lighting upgrades
- 3% direct-expansion cooling systems
- 3% refrigeration
- 4% cooling
- 10% all other measures, including electric motor upgrades and variable frequency drives (VFD)
68% of energy efficiency projects completed in 2022 were existing building retrofits, and 32% were new constructions.
3) Commercial Load Management
The Texas electricity grid must deal with demand peaks during summer, and this is caused in great part by air conditioning systems in homes and businesses. The commercial load management program rewards non-residential consumers who can quickly decrease their demand when requested, which eases the transmission and distribution burden on the grid.
To be eligible, participants must be capable of shedding at least 100 kW, and CenterPoint will notify them 30 minutes in advance when load reduction is required.
- The current incentive rate is $30.00/kW. Participants are paid at the end of the year, based on verified demand savings.
- The program budget is currently $3.3 million per year, and CenterPoint aims for a total demand reduction of 110 MW (110,000 kW).
- The availability period for curtailments is from June 1 to September 30, between 1 and 7 PM, on weekdays that are not federal holidays.
- There are two tests in a given year, and four unscheduled emergency events (ERCOT Energy Emergency Alert – Level 2).
Participants must have a Smart Meter or Interval Data Recorder, and the program requires a one-year commitment. They can opt out early without facing penalties, but they will also miss the rewards, which are awarded until the end of the program year.
4) Commercial CoolSaver A/C Tune-Up Program
This program offers free AC tune-ups for commercial customers, which would normally have a cost of up to $190 each. The service is offered by approved contractors, and consumers must meet the following conditions to be eligible:
- Having a central air conditioner or heat pump with at least 25 tons of capacity, at least one year old and currently operational.
- Not having received a CoolSaver tune-up during the last five years.
- Outdoor temperature above 70°F.
An AC tune-up can reduce your electricity bills during summer, without having to invest in a new unit. The measure also contributes to indoor air quality and comfort, since the AC system will work optimally during the summer.
5) Data Center Energy Efficiency Program (DCEEP)
Data centers have a very important role in the modern business world, since they host e-commerce platforms and critical applications. The DCEEP from CenterPoint was created for the data center industry, helping operators improve their reliability and uptime.
- This program offers cash incentives for energy efficiency measures in data centers.
- There is also free technical assistance such as energy assessments, savings calculations, and benchmarking.
- The program is available for non-residential sites with a service voltage below 69 kV, and they cannot be government or non-profit buildings.
Data center projects must be subject to an inspection and approval before the application. Owners can reach out before the planning stage begins, so the CenterPoint program managers can recommend improvements that save energy.
6) Healthcare Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP)
The HEEP is another no-cost program from CenterPoint, which provides cash incentives and technical assistance for commercial healthcare facilities: hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, nursing care facilities, laboratories, medical offices, etc. The technical assistance available includes energy assessments, savings calculations, and benchmarking.
The retro-commissioning (RCx) program for CenterPoint focuses on finding low-cost or zero-cost measures to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings. Eligible commercial buildings can receive a free analysis, which can be compared to an ASHRAE Level 2 Audit. The facility types covered by the program include manufacturing plants, hospitals, university campuses and retail spaces.
The free energy analysis comes with one important condition: Customers who get the benefit must implement the measures proposed, at their own expenses.
- To make sure that this happens, the program requires each participant to commit $5,000 upfront, to be used for measures with a bundled payback period of less than 1.5 years.
- Individual measures can have payback periods of up to 5 years, as long as the combined payback is less than 1.5 years.
- The amount of $5,000 can be reduced if the total cost of the measures identified is smaller.
The program focuses on low-cost measures with quick payback periods. Some examples are HVAC temperature reset, outside air reduction, HVAC start-up optimization, LED lighting schedule adjustments, and speed controls for electric motors. If a commercial customer decides not to install the energy efficiency measures, the recommissioning service must be paid, at a rate of $0.05 per kWh of identified savings.
The 2021 program has introduced an incentive for Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx), which consists of commissioning a building more frequently with the help of hardware and software. MBCx uses data analysis to identify new opportunities to save energy, and also to detect areas in which performance has dropped.
The program provides a cash incentive if the energy efficiency measures are implemented quickly, considering two factors:
- Achieved percentage of the proposed savings.
- Time in which the percentage was achieved.
The maximum incentive for fast implementation is $0.06/kWh, which is available for achieving at least 95% of the identified savings in less than a month. If the savings percentage achieved is lower, or the project takes longer, the incentive is gradually reduced. There is also an incentive of $0.03/kWh for implementing an MBCx system (Monitoring Based Commissioning).
8) Schools and Non-Profit Efficiency Program
This program focuses on electricity consumers such as K-12 public schools, private schools, higher education institutions, places of worship and nonprofit organizations. CenterPoint offers cash incentives to implement energy efficiency measures in both new constructions and existing buildings.
The list of energy efficiency measures eligible for assistance includes:
- Lighting upgrades
- HVAC upgrades
- Variable frequency drives (VFD) for motor equipment
- Window film
- Refrigeration efficiency measures
- Energy efficient roofing (existing buildings only)
- Solar power and other renewables
Cash incentives are complemented with free technical assistance from CenterPoint: energy performance benchmarking, energy master planning workshops, and equipment recommendations (vendor-neutral). CenterPoint also provides communication assistance for participants who want to promote their project results.
CenterPoint Incentive Programs for Distributors & Contractors
These programs focus on high efficiency products and appliances, and they award incentives based on the verified savings (kW and kWh) after project completion.
1) Mid-Stream Market Transformation Program
This program provides incentives for air conditioning systems and pool pumps, working with contractors and dealers to install high-efficiency units.
The program covers AHRI-matched air conditioners and heat pumps, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 5 tons. The minimum cooling efficiency to be eligible is SEER 16, and HSPF 8.6 in the case of heat pumps. The benefit only applies for unit replacements in existing properties, and new constructions are not eligible.
In the case of pool pumps, the program covers ENERGY STAR variable-speed units, which must be installed by licensed and insured contractors.
2) Residential Standard Offer Program
The Residential Standard Offer Program (RSOP) supports various energy efficiency measures in homes, where the incentive is determined by the specific type of measure. The following table summarizes the measures covered, and incentive rates available in 2023:
|RSOP Energy Efficiency Measure||Incentive per kW||Incentive per kWh|
|Heat Pump Replacement||$425/kW||$0.26/kWh|
|Central A/C Replacement||$430/kW||$0.26/kWh|
|Window A/C Replacement||$200/kW||$0.15/kWh|
|Solar PV Systems||$225/kW||$0.08/kWh|
|Standard Incentive (All Other Measures)||$275/kW||$0.09/kWh|
There are also two cases in which a fixed incentive is applied:
- A/C Tune Up = $150 per tune-up
- Refrigerator Recycling = $150 per refrigerator
The 2023 Residential Standard Offer Program closes on November 11. Currently, the program is only available in specific ZIP Codes. You can check the full list on page 2 of the CenterPoint Energy program summary.
3) Hard-to-Reach Standard Offer Program
This program is similar to the RSOP, but it focuses on homes below 200% of the federal poverty guideline. The incentive rates offered are higher than those of the RSOP, and they are summarized in the following table:
|HTR Energy Efficiency Measure||Incentive per kW||Incentive per kWh|
|Heat Pump Replacement||$425/kW||$0.26/kWh|
|Central A/C Replacement||$430/kW||$0.26/kWh|
|Window A/C Replacement||$200/kW||$0.15/kWh|
|Solar PV Systems||$225/kW||$0.08/kWh|
|All other measures||$275/kW||$0.09/kWh|
*There is also a fixed incentive of $125 per AC tune-up.
The 2023 Residential Hard-to-Reach Program closes on November 11.