Carbon pricing a good idea, compounded by rising energy costs: NS Advocate IG News

IG news Update,

An affordable energy advocate says consumer carbon pricing is a good idea in Nova Scotia, but adds that rising energy costs continue to cause problems for low-income people.

Brian Gifford, chair of the Affordable Energy Coalition of Nova Scotia, believes the federal government’s plan to provide quarterly rebates to offset carbon pricing costs starting in July will help most people.

The rebate will give households in Nova Scotia $248 with each payment, while the other two provinces where carbon pricing was imposed on Tuesday — Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island — will see rebates of $328 and $240, respectively.

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But Gifford said more help will be needed.

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“In this time of high oil prices, especially, and rising electricity rates, it’s still going to be a problem for people,” Gifford said in an interview Wednesday.

The carbon price is expected to increase the cost of heating oil by an initial 17.4 cents a litre.

Gifford said the $250 million federal grant announced Monday meant to help people switch from home heating oil to electric heat pumps would also help as another offset, but only marginally. . The money is in addition to a $250 million envelope over four years announced by federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault in September to help people with the cost of heating their homes.

“It (the grant) doesn’t work for low-income families because they can’t pay their share of the cost,” said Gifford, who added that grants of up to $5,000 may not be enough to switch on their own. Is. heat pump.

“Our own house was converted for about $12,000 and that was about seven years ago,” he said. “It (the grant) needs more money per family. The range is too low.”

Brian Gifford, president of the Affordable Energy Coalition of Nova Scotia, poses in this undated handout photo. Brian Gifford, chair of the Affordable Energy Coalition of Nova Scotia, says consumer carbon pricing is a good idea in his province, but adds that rising energy costs continue to create problems for low-income people. The Canadian Press/HO – Brian Gifford.

About 30 percent of homes in Atlantic Canada use oil for heating, including nearly half of Nova Scotia’s 400,000 homes.

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With the amount of money potentially available, Gifford believes that only a small fraction of those homes will actually get the help they need to replace their heating systems. There is a need to align the funding with existing provincial programs to make it more effective, he added.

Still, Giffords was careful not to criticize carbon pricing. “The carbon tax is not the problem,” he said. “Fossil fuels are the problem.”

Growing demand for heat pumps is also a potential complication, said John Deveraux of Ground Hog Geothermal & Heat Pump Ltd., which serves customers in the Annapolis Valley and Halifax Regional Municipality.

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Devereaux said the phone has been “off the hook” in his business with recent demand. Currently there is a waiting list of six months for the service, he added.

The popularity of heat pumps “has been increasing over time,” he said, “but this year has been particularly busy, and much of that is attributed to the price of oil.”

Devereaux said there is also a shortage of technicians to install heat pump systems. He said about a dozen companies in the province are actively trying to hire qualified workers. Ground Hog has 10 technicians, and Devereux said he could easily put another four to work “no problem.”

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“There’s been a shortage for a while,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 24, 2022.

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press


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