Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia announces program to pay for heat pumps for low-income households

Nova Scotians with low incomes can now get a free heat pump.

Four-year program will also assist middle income households with energy upgrades

Tory Rushton, Nova Scotia's minister of natural resources and renewables, announced funding Tuesday for low-income earners to get free heat pumps for their homes.

Nova Scotians with low incomes can now apply to get a free heat pump for their homes.

The provincial government announced details Tuesday about its four-year, $140-million energy efficiency program.

"The sooner we help people move away from oil, the sooner they'll be saving money and lowering their energy costs and lowering their emissions," said Tory Rushton, minister of natural resources and renewables. "That's why we're spending ten million of this investment right now so these programs can still take applications and we want to roll this program out to Nova Scotians this winter."

The price of home heating oil and rising inflation have combined to pack a mighty punch to the pocketbook for Nova Scotians, especially those living with fixed incomes.

Rushton says the province is expanding some old programs and will help leverage federal programs.

An indoor component of a heat pump is installed at a home in Halifax.

The criteria for low-income households that can qualify for the funds varies and is based on the number of people living in the home. Qualification for free heat pumps will be based on after-tax household income as follows: $27,250 per year for one person; $50,635 per year for two to four people; $72,113 per year for five or more people.

"Prices for home heating oil have increased and inflation is impacting the cost of just about everything," said Stephen MacDonald, president and CEO of Efficiency One, the non-profit operator of Efficiency Nova Scotia. "Higher energy costs disproportionately impact households with lower incomes and depending on fuel prices, 40 per cent of households in Nova Scotia experience energy poverty."

Low-income earners can apply now to the HomeWarming program for free heat pumps and any electrical panel upgrades that may be required to install them. People who have already received energy efficiency upgrades through the program can apply again for the new funding. Installers of heat pump systems are already busy and should only get busier with the provincial funds now available.

"There are going to be more green jobs in relation to this," said Rushton. "In speaking with some contractors they were anticipating this announcement and looking forward to it, so it will allow them to grow their business as well."

When combined with federal contributions the new funding is expected to help about 13,500 lower-income households and 30,000 in the middle-income range.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across Nova Scotia for 30 years.

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