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Released November 22, 2005

6.9 million Residential Energy Efficiency Program unveiled

A new Residential Energy Efficiency Program will assist low-income households to reduce home heating costs by making homes more energy efficient and encouraging better energy conservation practices. Over the next five years, government will invest $6.9 million in the second component of its plan to address rising home heating costs. The new program was unveiled at a news conference today by Tom Osborne, Minister of Environment and Conservation, and Paul Shelley, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC).

“Long-term solutions to rising home heating costs are found by making homes more energy efficient and encouraging better energy conservation practices - such practices will help households to reduce heating costs and thereby save money. And, that is the overall goal of our Residential Energy Efficiency Program,” said Minister Osborne. “Households which avail of this program may save as much as 25 per cent on home heating costs, and that will be a real help to low-income individuals and families.”

“The new Residential Energy Efficiency Program, coupled with the home heating fuel rebate, is a solid and strategic plan. This will assist Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the rising heating costs both in the immediate and longer terms,” said Minister Shelley.

Administered by NLHC, individuals and families with a household income level of $30,000 or less who use either home heating fuel or electricity as the primary heating source may be eligible for initiatives under the new program. The program includes:

  • up to $200 grant for furnace testing and tune-ups, which can help reduce home heating fuel consumption by 20 per cent;

  • $1,000 top-up for the new federal EnerGuide program for low-income families, which will help families save up to 25 per cent on heating costs;

  • real time power meters for 3,000 households in the province, which will help households monitor energy consumption and reduce energy costs by up to 20 per cent; and

  • energy efficiency training courses for contractors and homeowners.
“As a government, we always need to consider how policies relate and impact the individuals they are meant to assist,” said Minister Shelley. “In this case, I am pleased to see that these initiatives and measures are also in keeping with the integrated, comprehensive approach government is taking in the development of its provincial poverty strategy. Through this energy program, we’re providing options to low-income households that can help reduce energy use, keep home-heating costs affordable, and keep people in their homes.”

Minister Osborne explained that this new program also complements the provincial Climate Change Action Plan. “Under that plan, government committed to promote energy efficiency in public and low-income housing. The new program launched today will help low-income families save money on their home heating bills, and help to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. It is a solid step to addressing climate change in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Program complements government’s $9 million investment to expand the home heating fuel rebate initiative announced in October, and brings government’s total investment to address rising home heating costs to almost $16 million.

Media contact:

Diane Keough
Department of Environment and Conservation
(709) 729-2575, 685-4401

Jenny Bowring
NLHC
(709) 724-3055
E-mail:  releases@nlhc.nf.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Residential Energy Efficiency Program

The Residential Energy Efficiency Program is available to families in the province with a household income level of $30,000 or less which use either home heating fuel (furnace fuel, stove oil, propane) or electricity as the primary heating source. It will be administered and delivered by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC).

Over the next five years, government will invest $6.9 million in the program and approximately 5,000 households are expected to avail of the new initiatives.

Components of the Residential Energy Efficiency Program include:

  • A grant up to $200 will be provided for furnace upgrades and tune-ups. Improved combustion efficiency can yield as much as a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, providing immediate savings. The grants will be available to homeowners in January 2006.

  • A $1,000 top-up for the federal government’s new EnerGuide program for low-income housing. The $1,000 grant will be available to coincide with the start of the federal program anticipated in January 2006. This initiative is available to houses built prior to 1980, and having an income of $30,000 or less. This is in keeping with the regulations of the federal program.

  • Real time power meters will be installed in 3,000 homes whose primary heating source is electricity. Government will purchase the power meters through tender call and will offer the meters to low-income homeowners at a nominal cost. The power meter acts as an awareness tool, whereby a homeowner can read how much energy is being consumed and how much it is costing them at any given time. It is estimated that the meters can help provide between 10 and 20 per cent energy savings. The real time power meters will be available to homeowners in January 2006.

  • Energy efficiency training courses will be offered to contractors and homeowners. Further course details will be available through NLHC in February 2006.

  • Application forms for the Residential Energy Efficiency Program will be available in January 2006 from any NLHC office around the province, or may be downloaded from the NLHC Web site at www.nlhc.nf.ca.