Frequently Asked Questions
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Why is NorthWestern Energy offering a HPWH Program to customers and installers?
NorthWestern Energy intends to further advance market adoption and knowledge of residential HPWHs, aka Electric Hybrid Water Heaters, by engaging distributors, Licensed Contractors (Installers) and customers in Montana. The program goal is to familiarize installers with HPWH technology and encourage them to identify opportunities by installing HPWHs rather than standard electric resistance tanks.
What is the customer’s incentive for installing qualified HPWHs?
NorthWestern Energy will pay an incentive of up to $3,000 for qualifying residential HPWH installations. The NorthWestern incentive will be paid directly to participating contractors using the banking information provided in the Enrollment Form. Contractors must show that the full incentive (up to $3,000) was deducted from the total cost on the customer’s invoice.
What is the contractor sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) for each HPWH?
The contractor sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) is $500 for each qualifying HPWH installed. The contractor SPIF will be paid directly to the participating contractor using the banking information provided in the Enrollment Form.
Are there limits to the number of customer incentives and SPIF payments available?
Funds are limited and project eligibility is determined by pre-approval.
Is this program available for all utility service areas in Montana?
NorthWestern Energy electric water heating customers are eligible. NorthWestern customers who have natural gas water heaters or customers who receive electric service from other utilities are not eligible.
My customer needs an emergency replacement, what do I do?
What are the participation requirements?
- Enrollment and Training
A one-time application includes qualifying details to participate in the HPWH Program, including mandatory training.
- Project Pre-Approval
When a project has been identified, submit a Project Site Eligibility Form to confirm the customer’s eligibility. Do not proceed with the installation until you have received project approval. A response will be sent within 3 business days. Project pre-approval is required for each installation.
- Project Installation Details
Once the installation is complete, submit the project installation details to request the customer incentive and SPIF. A detailed customer invoice is required. Installations may be subject to inspection.
Are HPWH trainings required?
HPWH trainings are required for enrollment. Online HPWH trainings are ready now and in-person options may become available. Continuing education credits (CEUs) will be offered for both online and in-person trainings. To sign up for the trainings, click here.
Which homes are eligible?
NorthWestern Energy electric water heating residential customers in Montana are eligible. Homes must be existing single-family or manufactured homes (on a permanent foundation). One incentive is available per residence. Natural gas water heating replacements, multifamily, commercial installations, self-installs and rentals will not qualify. New construction projects may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Which HPWHs qualify for the incentive?
Only Tier 3 and Tier 4 HPWHs from the HPWH Qualified Products List (QPL) are eligible.
Is an HPWH right for my customer?
Considerations for installation
Air Temperature: Generally, HPWHs will deliver hot water most efficiently in temperatures above 37 degrees Fahrenheit. In ambient air temperatures below 37 degrees, their electric resistance elements will engage and meet a home’s hot water demands. Check the unit’s product specifications for more information about operation in low temperatures.
Tight Spaces: You will need space. New HPWHs will most likely be taller and wider than the existing unit. Unlike conventional electric water heaters, it will require at least 700 cubic feet (about 8’ x 9’ x 10’) of surrounding air space to operate effectively. Measure the location for your new HPWH and check the installation manual for all requirements.
Living Area: If the homeowner wants to install the HPWH in or near a living space, we recommend careful review of techniques for ducting, venting, and noise mitigation. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a living area installation. Do not be afraid to tell the homeowner that you do not recommend a HPWH if the homeowner’s comfort will be negatively impacted.