In Miramichi, New Brunswick, owner Brian Proulx signed up for NB Power’s Enhanced Energy Conservation Program days after it was announced in late September.
After months of waiting for a response, he was shocked when he received a letter from NB Power on January 17, stating that the program was “fully subscribed” for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The program, which is funded by both the federal and provincial governments, allows households that bring in less than $70,000 and need major energy efficiency upgrades to receive them for free.
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Proulx said in an interview Wednesday that it can cost between $500 and $600 a month to heat the house during the winter months.
His house is heated via a hydronic heating system with an electric boiler.
Handyman Proulx has done extensive work on the 1970s bungalow he shares with his roommate, who co-owns the house because they are retired and would like to stay there as long as possible.
Proulx used more than $50,000 of his and his roommate’s RRSPs to cover home renovations, such as redoing the house’s plumbing and electrical wiring.
He and his roommate manage on a combined income of about $46,000 from their pensions.
“The house is basically quite comfortable, except it needs a few things that I…I had no more money to do, and that was basic ceiling insulation which is my number one priority. , there are two windows that need to be replaced, and I’ve never considered that mini split they talk about in their program, but the first time I saw it, I said, “Well, that’s is pretty good,” he said.
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A spokesperson for NB Power sent a statement to PKBNEWS on Tuesday, saying there was “overwhelming interest in the program. NB Power has received over 13,000 applications for the program and the $30 million budget is expected to allow us to retrofit approximately 3,000 homes in total for the year 2022-2023.
The statement said those who were eligible for the program were automatically put on a waiting list for the next fiscal year, for which the budget is still pending.
“Final budgets have yet to be confirmed for 2023-2024, but the $10 million committed will allow us to cover 1,000 households,” the statement said.
Proulx said he finds it perplexing that applications for the program are still open with a waiting list of more than 10,000 applicants.
“What happens to those 10,000? Are we just pushed aside? And in the meantime, they’re accepting more applications for another program? he said, referring to a separate program announced in December for baseboard and oil heating customers.
“I wonder if I’ll just be forgotten?” he said.
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