Rebate and Voucher Programs
Financial incentive programs usually include rebates or vouchers to induce customers to replace water wasting fixtures and appliances, or alter the customer’s purchasing decision in a store when the customer has choices in the water efficiency levels of products to be purchased. The most common items rebated for the residential sector are toilets, irrigation controllers, and high efficiency clothes washers. The most common items rebated for the commercial sector are toilets, urinals, cooling tower controllers, irrigation controllers, laundry water recycling systems, etc. There is a difference between rebates and vouchers: rebates provide money to the customer after the purchase is complete, whereas vouchers act as coupons to provide a discounted price at the time and place of purchase. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both strategies. The “best program” is determined by local conditions and water utility goals, and water suppliers should use their avoided cost from the projected water savings of the devices to guide them in determining the appropriate level of financial incentive levels offered.