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

Andrea Rondeau column: Why the Notre Dame fire touched us all

None of us could look away from the sight of the fire

U17 Gold boys finish second after delayed Island final

Cowichan edged out in penalty kicks

Sarah Simpson column: Hang on for the sunrise

Last weekend my son and I found ourselves alone on Maple Bay… Continue reading

Academic honours for Duncan Christian grads

Groenendijks add to national medals

Duncan curlers win Curl BC bronze

Reintjes sisters third in girls provincials, Troy Cowan third in boys provincials

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read