Illinois Municipal Electric Agency

IMEA Electric Efficiency Program

The IMEA Electric Efficiency Program is comprised of four components. Please click on the section you are interested in learning about.

IMEA Electric Efficiency Program Changes Starting with FY2016-17 (May 1, 2016) 


At its February 2016 meeting, the IMEA Board of Directors voted to renew the IMEA Electric Efficiency Program for three years, including the popular Commercial/Industrial Projects program and, on a year-to-year basis, the Recycle my Fridge program. However, going forward, several procedural changes will take place in order to conform to the recommendations of an outside evaluation of the IMEA Electric Efficiency Program.


The Agency’s electric efficiency program is undergoing an evaluation from CLEAResult, one of the nation’s leading firms in the area of electric efficiency program implementation and evaluation. The goals are to provide an evaluation of past results and gather recommendations for moving forward.


CLEAResult’s recommendations are to align the program – especially the Commercial/Industrial program – more closely with the prescriptions of the Illinois Statewide Technical Reference Manual for Energy Efficiency (known as the TRM), which describes the guidelines under which the state’s investor owned utilities’ electric efficiency programs must operate. In addition being considered best practices in the state, it’s possible that if the state’s compliance program for the federal Clean Power Plan includes the granting of CO2 allowances for electrical efficiency programs, then only those programs that operate in adherence to the TRM would qualify to earn allowances.


Due to the extent of the procedural changes, the program may not be able to fully restart on May 1, 2016, but plans are to be operational as soon as possible after that date. Plans call for more user friendly application forms and more useful program reporting.


Commercial/Industrial Program

On the Commercial/Industrial side of the Agency’s program, moving toward a program that is more in step with the TRM involves some changes to the way the program operates and calculates kWh savings.


In addition, CLEAResult has recommended that IMEA rework its program application and procedures in order to coordinate with energy savings calculators that CLEAResult is building for IMEA and to make the application process more user-friendly to applicants.


Starting in 2016-17, incentive levels will dip slightly, to bring the program’s cost effectiveness in line with the industry average and the number of allowable measures will decrease to exclude measures that are outside the TRM.      


New Commercial/Industrial Applications and Procedures to Come

Rather than one 25+ page application that seeks to cover all possible measures that are eligible to receive incentives, going forward, there are likely to be six distinct types of applications. Each application will cover a specific “family” of measures. Plans are to make the applications shorter, more user-friendly and self-calculating. The “families” and their measures are as follows.


1.      Refrigeration: The specific measures are:

a)      Commercial Solid and Glass Door Refrigerators and Freezers;

b)      Evaporator Fan Controls;

c)      Automatic Door Closers for Walk-in Coolers and Freezers;

d)      Strip Curtain for Walk-in Coolers and Freezers;
Anti-sweat Heater Controls;

e)      Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) for Walk-in and Reach-in Coolers / Freezers;

f)       Beverage and Snack Machine Controls.

2.      HVAC: The measure is Small Commercial Programmable Thermostats.

3.      Lighting and Occupancy Controls: The measures are:

a)      Commercial ENERGY STAR Compact Fluorescent Lamps;

b)      Commercial ENERGY STAR Specialty Compact Fluorescent Lamps;

c)      High Performance and Reduced Wattage T8 Fixtures and Lamps;

d)      LED Fixtures and Bulbs – Including Exterior (e.g., street lights);

e)      Commercial LED Exit Signs;

f)       Fluorescent Delamping;

g)      LED Traffic and Pedestrian Signals;

h)      T5 Fixtures and Lamps – Including High Bay, Exterior;

i)       Occupancy Sensor Lighting Controls

4.      Air Compressors: The measure is VSD Air Compressors

5.      Efficient Fans and Motors: The measures are:

a)      Variable Speed Drives for HVAC Supply and Return Fans;

b)      Variable Speed Drives for HVAC Pumps and Cooling Tower Fans

6.      Custom Projects The measures are measures not listed as one of the prescriptive measures above. Certain motors and power factor correction projects may be examples of acceptable Custom Projects. IMEA will evaluate Custom Project applications and will require additional measurement and verification for all Custom Projects. IMEA will not give Notice to Proceed to any project that relies on changes in customer behavior to obtain electricity savings and is highly unlikely to give Notice to Proceed to any project for measures that are not covered in the Illinois Statewide Technical Reference Manual for Energy Efficiency.


If an electric efficiency project at a specific facility encompasses more than one “family” of electric efficiency measures, then the applicant must divide the project into multiple projects by family and submit one project application per family of measures.


When ready, application forms will be posted at


Roll Out Date for the FY2016-17 Commercial/Industrial Program

CLEAResult will begin delivering energy savings calculators to IMEA in April. With those in hand, IMEA can begin to develop the appropriate applications for each family of Commercial/Industrial measures.


The goal is to have at least the lighting measures application up and ready as close as possible to the May 1, 2016 start of the fiscal year. However, because the systems and applications will be completely new this year, CLEAResult and IMEA would like to “crash test” the application forms and tracking procedures, and also make sure IMEA staff is adequately trained on their use before the new applications go live to the public. That may push the effective start date of the program into late May or early June.


Plans are to post the lighting applications to the Web site first, since historically lighting measures have accounted for more than 85% of the Agency’s Commercial/Industrial electric efficiency projects. The other application forms will follow as soon as possible.


Other Procedures and Features of the Commercial/Industrial Program

When up and running, the program will operate much as it has in the past. The basic process will be:

1.      Applicants will send the pre-application to IMEA to review.

2.      IMEA will review the application and will send it to the appropriate IMEA board member who will work with city officials to determine the amount of the incentive amount to grant to the project. (Members can grant a project anywhere from $0 to maximum amount for which it qualifies.)

3.      IMEA will issue a Notice to Proceed to the applicant.

4.      The applicant will do the project and send a final application to IMEA to review.

5.      IMEA will review the final application, pay the incentive and report to the member.


Going forward, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis (until a member municipality’s funding is completely allocated) and IMEA board members will be asked to provide a decision on incentive levels within 2 weeks of receiving a pre-application. 


As in the past, any Member that wants to use all or part of its Commercial/Industrial incentive funds to operate a locally administered residential program may do so. The city must first get approval from IMEA and demonstrate how it will account for funding and deem kWh savings according to the methodology described in the Illinois Statewide Technical Reference Manual for Energy Efficiency.


Residential Measures

For Fiscal Year 2016-17, the IMEA will continue the Recycle My Fridge program and will seek to develop additional residential offerings administered at IMEA.


Recycle My Fridge  

People who receive their electricity from an IMEA-member electric system have an easy way to get rid of an unwanted freezer or refrigerator taking up space in the basement or garage. For doing so, they will receive a $50 prepaid card.


For the coming fiscal year, IMEA will continue to team up with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), Inc. to implement the Illinois Recycle My Fridge program.


Residents of owner-occupied homes can schedule an appointment to have their refrigerator or freezer picked up from inside their homes, free of charge, by calling 877-341-2313 (toll free) or visiting the program’s Web site ( The unit is then properly recycled.  


Roll Out for Recycle My Fridge

Since the customer facing end of this program will not change from prior years, the Recycle My Fridge Program is expected to make a seamless transition from fiscal year 2015-16 to fiscal year 2016-17.


Rodd Whelpley
IMEA Program and Communications Administrator