Premier Shawn Graham announced a set of four residential energy efficiency programs Wednesday that will help homeowners reduce their power bills.

The premier says the programs, developed and administered by Efficiency NB and the Department of Family and Community Services,will put New Brunswick ahead of its neighbours. Thepackage is the first provincial program of its kind in Canada.

"In this country, it's the most comprehensive base program," Graham said. "Regardless of fuel source, regardless of income, all New Brunswickers will be able to tap into making their homes the most energy efficient in the country."

The program works in four ways:

  1. Homeowners can receive up to $2,000 toward energy efficient upgrades.
  2. People earning low incomes can also qualify for free home energy evaluations and a provincial grant of more than $4,000for home improvements.
  3. Those who build homes with non-electric central heating or energy smart lighting can receive financial assistance.
  4. Owners of small apartment complexes canget help making their buildings more energy efficient.

Graham said these programs represent a commitment of more than $26 millionthis yearby the provincial government for residential energy efficiency improvements.

TheLiberals cancelled aTory tax rebate last monththat was meant toeliminate the provincial portion of the HST on power and home-heating fuel bills, and blamed the former government for leaving the province's finances in a downward spiral.

"The HST rebate was flawed public policy," Graham said in December. "It was put in place by the Tories to win votes … but the public policy did not entice New Brunswickers to conserve on energy."