PEI

1000s of Islanders missing out on energy-saving programs, says Efficiency PEI

There are thousands of homes on P.E.I. eligible for energy-saving programs that aren't taking advantage of them, says the provincial agency charged with delivering them.

Programs left on the table 'alarming,' says Opposition leader

The Efficiency PEI program includes installing energy-efficient light bulbs. (Shutterstock)

There are thousands of homes on P.E.I. eligible for energy-saving programs that aren't taking advantage of them, says the provincial agency charged with delivering them.

Mike Proud, manager of Efficiency PEI, told the legislature's standing committee on Infrastructure and Energy Thursday his office has serviced about 3,600 clients, but he believes there are between 9,000 and 10,000 Islanders eligible.

The free Home Energy Low-Income Program (known as HELP, online here)  is available to Islanders with a total household income of $35,000 or less. The free weatherization program offers air sealing, energy efficient light bulbs, and low-flow showerheads, among other things.

Proud said the program reduces energy usage by 10 to 15 per cent, and is the most cost-effective and effective program they offer.

Finding the people that need the help

Opposition leader Jamie Fox, the energy critic is on the committee, said people need to be informed about what programs are available to them.

"I think it's actually alarming," said Fox.

The province needs to find ways to reach the people who need the energy-efficiency program, says Jamie Fox. (CBC)

"There's been 3,600 people applied and received the program since 2008. Well, we're in 2017. So I think it goes to the actual program and making sure that the people that need it are getting the help they need."

Proud said there may be a number of reasons people don't apply.

He expects people aren't aware of the program, and wonders if that may be because of literacy issues.

He said his office is trying to reach new clients, and always focuses on that program when it does public outreach.

With files from Stephanie Brown

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