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New Fortis energy conservation program aimed at low income residents, renters

Fortis Manager Neal Pobran, Fortis Residential Representative Kim Jones, and Fortis Manager Carol Suhan unveil details of two new energy savings programs to Regional District of Okanagan SImilkameen board members on November 5.
November 06, 2015 - 1:00 PM

PENTICTON - Fortis BC is introducing a new energy conservation program it hopes will help low and fixed income residents, as well as renters, in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

Fortis manager Carol Suhan introduced the Energy Conservation Assessment Program, along with a second new program which deals with rental apartments, to regional directors at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board meeting yesterday, Nov. 5.

Suhan says the assessment program is designed to help low income and fixed income customers, those who cannot afford energy saving capital upgrades to their residences. It is aimed at renters as well.

The program is free to income qualified households. It includes an energy evaluation, the installation of number of basic energy saving measures such as LED and CFL lighting, low flow shower heads and advice to residents on how to cut their electrical costs. These basic measures are estimated to save on average, $150 annually in electrical usage.

Five to 10 per cent of those applying for the program will also qualify for between $500 and $9,000 worth of additional energy saving improvements such as more insulation, fridge replacement of units 20 years or older, energy efficient bathroom fans and furnaces. These enhanced measures could save residents between $300 and $500 annually in electrical costs, Suhan says.

Eligible residents include those in government subsidized housing, First Nations, homeowners and renters. Income thresholds are based on the number of occupants in a dwelling. For example, a resident living alone with a maximum annual household income of $31,700 or less would qualify, as would seven people living in one household, where the maximum annual household income was $83,700 or less.

To apply, residents can go online for an application form which can be mailed or emailed. Approval takes one to two weeks.

Suhan says Fortis has been and will continue consulting with social welfare organizations and local governments to access potential applicants. The program is available to all rural and municipal residents in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. Suhan says the program, which is fully funded by Fortis, has no limit on the number of participants who can apply.

The second program introduced by Suhan is directed at rental apartment buildings. It offers direct installation of energy efficient products for suites, free energy assessment for common areas, and assistance with upgrades. Applicants can go to the Fortis BC website for more information.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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