Energy Minister Bill Bennett

Energy savings offered to lower-income families

BC Hydro and FortisBC are expanding their low-income energy conservation programs to reduce the impact of rising electricity costs

BC Hydro and FortisBC are expanding their low-income energy conservation programs to reduce the impact of rising electricity costs.

One program offers free energy saving kits, including compact fluorescent light bulbs, weatherstripping, thermometers to optimize operation of the fridge and freezer and a high-efficiency shower head. The other offers free home energy evaluations to see if they home qualifies for an energy-efficient refrigerator or extra insulation.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the government changed regulations to increase the low-income cutoff to qualify for the programs. A family of four earning up to $57,200 can now qualify, up from $44,000, a change Bennett said will almost double the number of households who are eligible. The threshold for a two-person household is $47,100.

Customers of the two utilities have to apply and provide proof of income to take advantage of the programs.

Bennett said last November he would seek ways to provide extra help for lower-income customers when he unveiled a new BC Hydro rate plan. That plan will see electricity rates rise by 28% over the next five years, with further increases to be determined at that time.

BC Hydro has other energy-saving incentives that are not income-tested, including a rebate program for installation of insulation, draft-proofing, heat pumps and water heaters. Those require homeowners to pay for assessment to see if they qualify for rebates.

Bennett said BC Hydro spends $160 million a year on its whole range of energy efficiency programs, including those for commercial and industrial customers.

The utility has set an “aggressive” goal to meet 78% of its demand growth through energy conservation, reducing the need to build new generating capacity, he said.

 

Just Posted

Caps end road trip with loss to West Kelowna

Cowichan goes 2-1 on Interior jaunt

Drivesmart column: Fear of police retaliation

While I won’t say that this is impossible, I would certainly like to think that it is highly unlikely

Former Cowichan Capital helping create BCHL Alumni Association

Shayne Taker a driving force behind new initiative

Helpline means nobody in Cowichan has to face dementia journey alone

Someone might call in because they’re starting to see changes in themselves or someone close to them

Cowichan Div. 2 women out-paced in last match of 2018

Soccer team has second game of the weekend postponed by weather

VIDEO: Cobble Hill welcomes Christmas with frolicsome show

From lovely carols to humorous skits: a big crowd enjoyed it all on Sunday, Dec. 9

Coming up in Cowichan: Celebrate the second floor with the HUB

Celebrate the second floor this weekend at HUB at Cowichan Station Dec.… Continue reading

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

Most Read