Energy saving kits save money for those who need it most
Winter is tough on many B.C. household budgets, and free kits really help
During some of the coldest months of the year, the community team at BC Hydro travels across the province to distribute free energy saving kits to income-qualified customers.
These customers range from large families to seniors who live alone, and they all have one thing in common – the desire to conserve electricity and save money.
The kit comes with a variety of products that help draftproof your home, improve lighting efficiency, and save on water heating costs. Included are items such as weatherstripping, LED bulbs, and a high efficiency showerhead. Depending on your situation, using everything in the kit could save you as much as $100 a year.
Lower income customers can lower their bills with free kits
Before joining BC Hydro's community team, I spoke with hundreds of customers on the phone each week while working at BC Hydro's contact centre. Whenever I talked to someone having troubles paying their bills, I would recommend the Energy Saving Kit. Many of these people mentioned they had drafty windows and doors, and couldn't afford to get them replaced.
I'll never forget the relief in the voices of customers who discovered they're eligible to get a kit – complete with weatherstripping – for free.
While working recently in my new role as a community representative, I attended an event held at the Prince Rupert Salvation Army Food Bank. I spoke to one of the organizing volunteers, and we talked about how winter is an ideal time for giving out these kits, as many customers have drafty homes and could use the extra savings over the holidays.
She mentioned that the biggest barrier is typically the combination of high expenses and low income, so anything to help make smart energy choices and cut down on expenses is greatly appreciated. She showed me a local resident's Facebook post – a photo of her husband smiling with an energy saving kit they had received the same day.
Easy to use, kits come with clear instructions
A guide on how to install everything is included in each kit, making the process simple and straightforward. While installing weatherstripping and foam gaskets to stop drafts at electrical switches and outlets, you can learn a lot about where you're losing heat in your home. If you've already received an energy saving kit, you may be eligible for more free home upgrades through the Energy Conservation Assistance Program.
Community team member Michaela Mamonluk also contributed to this story.