The need to replace heating oil tanks under new regulations on P.E.I. is causing concerns for seniors and other people on fixed incomes, says independent MLA Olive Crane.
Two years ago the P.E.I. government started phasing out metal tanks, and introduced new rules that require existing tanks be replaced as early as 15 years from the date of manufacture. All tanks on P.E.I. carry inspection tags, and the tags on about 3,500 oil tanks will expire this year.
Crane said some Islanders can't afford replacement tanks, which can cost $2,000 or more.
"What I'm suggesting is if government gave some dollars to the seniors' federation, and they hire an inspector that's qualified that could go out and check over these tanks," she said.
"If it's in good working order, extend the life of the tag so that people could get their insurance, and so they can get oil delivered."
Without a valid tag homeowners can be refused oil deliveries and have their home insurance cancelled.
William Comeau of Fort Augustus said he has to replace his tank this year. It's 15 years old and located in his basement. He said it hasn't weathered like it would have if it was located outside. He said a replacement will cost him at least $2,000, something he and his wife can't afford, relying on their old-age pensions.
"You know we're trying to survive here, we're seniors, I'm 72 years old."
He said he hopes to be able to pay for a new tank in installments.
"We'll buy a tank. We got no choice here, unless we want to freeze to death."