8 FAQs about New Jersey’s Custom & Prescriptive Energy Programs

Did you know there are energy efficiency incentives for New Jersey’s mid and larger size facilities? Through the New Jersey Clean Energy Custom & Prescriptive Programs, customers can upgrade equipment with no out-of-pocket costs and receive significant incentives plus 0% financing for up to 5 years.

Here are the answers to the top questions our customers ask:

1. What is the Custom & Prescriptive Program

The Custom and Prescriptive Programs are provided through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program (NJCEP). It provides New Jersey utility customers with a “turnkey” program that makes it easy and affordable to upgrade to high-efficiency equipment. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program offers incentives for the installation of energy-efficiency equipment while allowing flexibility for innovation in custom energy-saving projects.

Through the Custom and Prescriptive Programs, mid-size and larger organizations can tailor their energy efficiency upgrades to their individual equipment deployments. Upgrading outdated equipment is a great way to start reducing energy use in commercial facilities. Newer equipment uses less energy and reduces unplanned maintenance, saving customers money on their bills and on their operational expenses. The Program offers a variety of incentives for pre-qualified energy-efficient equipment, including lighting, appliances, HVAC systems, food service equipment, and more.

2. How Does the Program Work

The local NJ utility company has a network of vetted Trade Allies (like CM3) that provide sales and installation services. The Trade Allies provide customers with a no-cost facility assessment and cost proposal for relevant upgrades. The proposal includes costs, eligible incentives, and the project’s simple payback (the length of time an upgrade is estimated to pay for itself in terms of monthly energy savings).

Customers have two options for paying for their upgrade. They can choose to pay it directly or they can finance it through their utility company’s On Bill Repayment plan (see Financing below).

3. Who is Eligible for the Program

New Jersey organizations (non-residential customers) that have an annual electric demand greater than 200 kW will typically participate in the Custom or Prescriptive Program. For organizations that have an annual electric demand of less than 200 kW, the small business direct install program is applicable instead.

4. What is the Process

Project Application and Review

Once you have the scope of work finalized for your project, you or your contractor can submit an incentive application. The project will be reviewed for eligibility within two business days by your local utility company (or their designated agency). The process includes a pre-install review which may require a site visit where measurements and supporting data may be collected, to include in the final application. Data collected during the inspection will be used to determine eligibility.

Measure Review and Project Implementation

Once a review is complete and your project is approved, incentive funds will be reserved for 90 days. If you and the contractors are unable to complete the project within that time frame, you may apply for a 30-day extension. If your project needs to require additional time, an additional extension may be granted subject to your utility company’s approval.

Proof of Completion and Final Project Review

After the project is complete, a final application that includes all invoices showing material and labor cost breakdowns is submitted. The completed project will be reviewed against the measurement and verification plan set forth during the preinstall review, and a post-project inspection that could include additional measurements and data collection may be required.

Receive your Incentive

Incentive checks will be mailed out once all reviews of submitted applications and required inspections have been finalized and approved.

5. Is Financing Available

Qualifying customers may be eligible for 0% financing up to a 5-year term. There is no application fee. This process is called the On Bill Repayment plan, in which customers repay the applicable cost of the equipment installed via their utility bill. Both equipment and labor costs can be included in the OBR plan.

For most customers, OBR is a highly attractive option. Although the overall utility bill increases (to cover the cost of the new equipment that was not covered by incentives), the energy usage decreases and this helps to offset the cost of the equipment that was purchased. In essence, the OBR functions like a mini-ESCO, with energy savings paying for equipment investments.

6. How is the Incentive Determined

Incentives are determined based on the category of installed new equipment and realized annual energy savings. Prior to approving the work, the customer will know what work qualifies and the amount of incentive that will be paid.

7. What Upgrades Qualify for the Program

Because the Custom and Prescriptive programs are generally for mid and larger-size organizations, they provide a lot of flexibility regarding what efficiency opportunities qualify. The variety of incentives for pre-qualified energy-efficient equipment includes lighting, appliances, HVAC systems, food service equipment, and more.

8. What is the difference between the Custom and Prescriptive Programs?


Generally for mid-size and larger facilities. Offers one-for-one incentives to customers installing high-efficiency electric equipment across a wide range of technologies.

  • Lighting and lighting controls
  • HVAC upgrades and controls
  • Building automation controls
  • Refrigeration equipment
  • Motors and variable frequency drives
  • Commercial appliances
  • Office equipment


Designed for projects that do not fall under the Prescriptive Program. Measures include:

  • Building energy management systems
  • Electric chillers
  • Building shell improvements
  • Compressed air
  • Custom HVAC/chillers/controls
  • Custom refrigeration
  • Custom motors drives
  • Retrofit of existing electrical & electric mechanical