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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Additions at Chilliwack schools may eventually replace portables

District’s capital plan illustrates which schools need to expand as community grows

Pedestrian struck in late-night collision on Highway 1 in Hope

RCMP were on scene at the incident near Flood Hope Road where traffic was rerouted for eight hours

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

New executive director for Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

Karen Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean, who has retired after 22 years

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read