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FortisBC expands energy conservation assistance program for electricity customers
Nov 26, 2015
KELOWNA, BC – FortisBC is extending the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP), a program aimed at helping income-qualified customers make energy efficient improvements to their home, to an estimated 25,000 residential electricity customers in the Southern Interior and the Kootenays. This will help more customers lower their household energy use and have more comfortable homes.
“We want to support customers in their efforts to understand and manage their energy use,” said Roger Dall'Antonia, executive vice-president, customer service and regulatory affairs at FortisBC. “Through this program, we remove the upfront cost of making energy-efficient home improvements and help customers who face financial barriers lower their energy costs.”
ECAP participants will receive, at no cost, a visit by an energy evaluator who will provide a home energy assessment and personalized energy saving advice. The evaluator will also install simple energy savings products like energyefficient lighting, draft proofing and low-flow water fixtures. The home will be assessed to determine if it’s suitable for insulation upgrades, a refrigerator upgrade or a more energy-efficient furnace.
The installation of these simple energy-saving measures alone can save participants up to $165 per year in energy costs. This can have the greatest impact for customers who likely experience higher than average utility bills over winter because their homes may be less efficient or they have heating systems that are more expensive to operate, like electric baseboards, as compared to heat pumps.
Heating and cooling can account for more than 50 per cent of a home’s energy use and utility bills can spike during periods of cold weather. Water heating can account for more than 25 per cent of use throughout the year. Taking steps like the ones offered through this program are important for all customers to consider especially prior to the winter heating season.
FortisBC works closely with the B.C. government and other utility providers to make sure all B.C. residents have access to energy savings programs regardless of their energy provider and location.
Hon. Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, Province of B.C. —
We are pleased FortisBC is offering more British Columbians access to energy conservation programs and are encouraged to see more families undertake energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. Our government is working hard to keep electricity rates affordable for British Columbians. By making smart energy choices, families can save on their own energy bills plus create significant power savings that benefit the whole province.
Manfred Bauer, Mayor, Village of Keremeos and Director, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen —
The new FortisBC energy conservation program particularly meets the needs of households with a lower income threshold. The program is a welcome, affordable opportunity for our communities to address energy efficiencies and save money through energy conservation.
Racquel, ECAP program participant, Kelowna —
I signed up for the program because I think it's important to be conscious of your energy use and this is a good opportunity to know where you stand and get help to do something about it.
- With the energy efficient upgrades and simple behavioural changes offered through this program, a household could realize savings of around $165 a year.
- FortisBC first partnered in the program with BC Hydro in 2012 and since that time, has provided help to 2,500 of its natural gas customers.
- With this expansion into the FortisBC electricity region, the program is now also available to customers with electrically-heated homes in Kelowna, the South Okanagan-Similkameen and the West Kootenays, and customers of the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, City of Grand Forks and Nelson Hydro.
- To broaden the potential reach of this program, the income qualification is 30 per cent above the low-income cut-off (LICO) set by Statistics Canada. It is estimated that 17 per cent of the population within FortisBC’s electric service area meet this criteria or approximately 25,000 residential electricity customers.
- To simplify participation for customers, the energy evaluator will make all the arrangements for the customers, including booking appointments and installing the basic energy saving measures. If the customer is eligible for advanced measures, the evaluator will arrange and pay for the contractors. The services are offered at no cost to participating customers.
- ECAP is one of many programs FortisBC provides to help customers save both natural gas and electricity. Other residential customers who want to make energy efficient upgrades to their homes are encouraged to participate in the Home Energy Rebate Offer. Find out more at fortisbc.com/rebates.
- FortisBC has offered electricity energy efficiency and conservation programs since 1989 and over the last 10 years, has helped southern interior customers save about 275 gigawatt hours of electricity or equivalent to powering 21 thousand homes in the region for a year.
- FortisBC has invested more than $30 million annually since 2012 in energy efficiency and conservation for customers across the province and all customers, from residential to large industrials, can find programs, tools and advice to help manage energy use at fortisbc.com/rebates.
Corporate Communications Advisor
FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,150 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 46,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.