Energy-saving programs available to more lower-income customers
BC Hydro, Fortis BC customers can get free energy saving kits, energy assessments
Changes to two long-standing offers for lower-income customers mean that more British Columbians will be able to take steps to reduce their energy bills. Program changes announced in July will nearly double the number of eligible customers and make it easier to apply.
The income cut-off for the definition of "low income household" has been increased. For example, a family of four with a combined total annual income of $57,000 is now eligible for the programs, compared to a cut-off of $44,000 previously.
- Learn more and apply for a free energy saving kit
- Apply for a free home energy assessment and upgrades
Energy saving kits for apartments and houses make it easy to save
Customers on low incomes can start by applying for a free Energy Saving Kit. This kit comes loaded with a number of simple, easy-to-install, energy-saving products including:
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that use up to 75 per cent less energy than regular light bulbs and can last up to 10 years.
- Weatherstripping for installation around windows and doors to help keep out drafts.
- Fridge and freezer thermometers to set ideal temperatures where food stays cold while using less electricity.
- A high-efficiency showerhead that uses significantly less water than a regular showerhead.
Depending on the type of home you live in, the kit will come with the products that will work best for your needs. Apartments and townhomes have access to different products than customers living in single-family homes.
Installing all the products in the kit could help save up to $100 a year in energy costs.
Sign up for an energy assessment now to ensure savings for fall and winter
Lower-income customers in detached houses, duplexes, townhouses, and mobile homes can also apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP), which offers free energy assessments, and completion of energy upgrades by a qualified contractor.
Upgrades offered under ECAP range from $300 to $5,000 depending on the needs of the home. As a first step, an energy assessment pinpoints the potential for the biggest energy savings and identifies the best upgrades for your home.
Some of the energy-efficient products that might be installed in an ECAP upgrade could include:
- energy-efficient light bulbs
- faucet aerators for the kitchen and bathroom
- water-saving showerheads
- water heater pipe wrap
- door weather-stripping
- ENERGY STAR® refrigerators
- Insulation for an attic, wall or crawlspace
Customers who receive a fridge could save up to $165 per year in energy costs, and customers who also receive insulation upgrades could save over $300 per year.
If you're a customer in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, you can sign up for an energy assessment at any time.
If you live in the north or south Interior of B.C., it’s especially important to sign up early for an energy assessment. Assessments are scheduled in groups when the program visits the region, and upcoming visits are scheduled for September and October:
- North Interior: Williams Lake, Prince George, Burns Lake, Smithers, and Terrace
- South Interior (eastern region): Burton, Nakusp, Summit Lake, New Denver, Radium Hot Springs, Sparwood, Canal Flats, Cranbrook, Edgewood, and Revelstoke
Applications for the northern and southern Interior received before August 31 will have priority for fall appointment bookings.
Space heating during the winter can make up 40 to 50 per cent of our electricity bills. Upgrades through ECAP can make your home more efficient and reduce your heating needs.
Winter heating costs can go up by as much as 140 per cent compared to the rest of the year, so be sure to get your assessment and upgrades completed this fall before the winter heating season begins, and you’ll see bigger savings on your bill.