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Green Party leader David Coon speaks in the legislature on Oct. 5, 2022. Image: Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick video capture

Boost Budget For Energy Efficiency Program: Green Party

By Brad Perry Oct 6, 2022 | 3:00 PM

The Green Party is calling on the province to put more money into a new enhanced energy savings program.

Under the program, low-income homeowners who use electric baseboard heating are eligible for a mini-split heat pump and upgraded insulation.

In announcing the multi-year program with NB Power last week, the province said it would invest $30 million.

But Green Party leader David Coon said the program is “underfunded” and the province should increase the budget to $150 million a year.

“There’s only enough budget so that five per cent of New Brunswick’s 40,000 low-income homeowners will receive a heat pump, five per cent will receive insulation over the next three years,” Coon said in the legislature on Tuesday.

“Can the minister responsible for NB Power tell us how the other 95 per cent of low-income homeowners who will not be funded for heat pumps or insulation are going to afford to pay their power bills?”

Coon’s comments came a day before NB Power announced it had applied to the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board for an 8.9 per cent rate increase.

Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland did not directly commit to increasing the program’s budget.

But Holland acknowledged it is a “multi-year program” and the funding announced will allow it to get started.

Coon also described it as “utterly unfair” that NB Power has a sole source contract with a single company to install heat pumps and insulation under the program.

In response, Holland said the program “absolutely” needs to expand on that front.

“Absolutely this is a program that will roll out that will discriminate against no contractor that has an opportunity to participate, but I’d far sooner get going than sit and talk about it forever,” he said.

Holland was also questioned by the Green Party leader about why the program does not include those who heat with oil.

In September, Ottawa announced it will spend up to $250 million over four years to help those who use home heating oil move to other heating sources, like electric heat pumps.

But Coon said only about $120 million of that will come to Atlantic Canada and will be shared among the four provinces.

“NB Power provides and generates electricity, they do not deal in the home heating oil system,” Holland said in response.

“Rather than have them look at a broad-based approach and do nothing, we said ‘focus on what you provide, make it better, make it more efficient, and let’s do better by the whole system.'”


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