(Toronto/Halifax) The Affordable Energy Coalition (AEC) in Nova Scotia and the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) of Ontario released their recommendations today to ensure maximum success in the delivery of the federal government's recently announced programs, the EnerGuide for Low-Income Households and the Energy Cost Benefit.
"The new federal programs are great news. Our concern is that low-income consumers must have direct access to energy conservation measures that don't rely on reimbursement. People who are having a hard time juggling paying for both rent and food are in no position to spend money up front," says Claire McNeil of the Affordable Energy Coalition.
"We are hoping our recommendations will be welcomed by the federal government. The more closely the departments can work with their community partners, the better the chance of success of the programs," says Mary Todorow of the Low-Income Energy Network.
The LIEN/AEC recommendations include:
· direct program delivery
· energy conservation measures at no cost to participants
· comprehensive approach which includes education and outreach
· focus on renters as well as homeowners and social housing residents
· appliance and system upgrades for all types of energy use, including electricity, gas and oil
· ongoing rate assistance
· include families with no children and low-income singles who are not seniors
· additional ways of identifying those in need (other than National Child Benefit or Guaranteed Income Supplement)
· no clawback of benefits by provinces or territories