Utilities join in for home upgrades
Local utilities are footing the bill to help customers conserve energy.
BC Hydro and FortisBC have teamed up to pay for upgrades in homes of low-income customers through the Energy Conservation Assistance Program.
“Our low income program is a power smart program that really targets customers that are least able to participate – where the cost is a barrier,” said Pat Mathot, Power Smart marketing manager.
“Rather than just offering an incentive to purchase a product, we take care of the whole cost.”
Low-income customers trying to conserve energy could benefit from items ranging from light bulbs and shower heads to upgraded insulation or even a new fridge.
The result will save power and save the customer money on their heating and/or electricity bills.
“It can be as much as $300 a year,” said Mathot.
The initiative has reached more than 6,500 homes in B.C. since its launch in 2008.
Despite saving hundreds of customers the cost of such upgrades, which result in reduced heating/energy bills, the program also benefits the utilities.
“The value of the electricity or gas that we save is of value to the utility,” said Mathot.
Kamloops resident Lynn Tillotson is one customer who recently benefitted from the program.
Following approval and a mini-energy audit, contractors came into Tillotson’s duplex and completed a thorough energy test.
“They look everywhere and test everything,” said the 63-year-old who also learned a lot from the process. “It was really fascinating.”
Among the list of items replaced in Tillotson’s 30-year-old home were: a new bathroom fan, carbon monoxide detectors, weather stripping around the door, energy efficient aerators and shower heads, added insulation in the attic and she has also qualified for a new energy efficient fridge.
“I was just so thrilled,” said Tillotson, who expects she will notice a big difference in her heating and cooling costs with the new insulation, as well as the weather stripping that blocks the outside from coming in.
“I just feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity.”
Qualifying customers can access the program application at www.bchydro.com/ecap or by calling 1-877-806-3242
Contractors are currently in Vernon scheduling appointments.
“Now is the time, take advantage of it while it’s there,” said Mathot.