The P.E.I. government has begun the process of taking over the strategy for electricity conservation from Maritime Electric.

The P.E.I. Energy Corporation is now a public utility, and Energy Minister Paula Biggar said in an interview that the utility will be filing a strategy to reduce demand on electricity to the regulator in the next four to six weeks.

Paula Biggar PEI Legislature

'We want to have plans in place,' says Biggar. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly)

Biggar said the need to take electricity conservation out of the hands of Maritime Electric was raised in both P.E.I.'s climate change mitigation recommendations and its energy strategy. A coming deadline has made the change more urgent.

"Our contract with New Brunswick Power runs out in 2019, the one that our rates are guaranteed," said Biggar.

"We want to have plans in place, that we know what programs will be there for Islanders to help reduce that consumption, which in fact will help reduce energy bills."

The province hopes to fund programs and projects with up to $34 million over five years available to P.E.I. through the federal government's Low Carbon Energy Fund.

In the legislature on Friday, Progressive Conservative MLA Jamie Fox questioned Biggar on who would administer the Low Carbon Energy Fund and what sorts of projects would be included.

Biggar said Efficiency PEI and the P.E.I. Energy Corporation would administer the fund, Biggar said. The projects will centre on energy efficiency, and Biggar said they will be announced soon.

With files from Laura Chapin