'Lucky' Stratford residents make energy-efficient upgrades before town's loan money runs out

·1 min read
Stratford resident Sajith Manuel went from using oil to going completely electric, a transition that cost more than $20,000.  (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
Stratford resident Sajith Manuel went from using oil to going completely electric, a transition that cost more than $20,000. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

A program that offered zero-interest loans to residents of Stratford, P.E.I., looking to make energy efficient upgrades for their homes has run out of money faster than expected.

Stratford and Charlottetown both got funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities last summer for the Switch Efficiency Program.

Charlottetown's has been popular, though there's still money available.

Stratford's $2.5 million, however, is now completely gone.

It has funded 150 interest-free projects such as solar panels, heat pumps, new windows and insulation for homeowners.

15 years to pay back loan

Sajith Manuel was among those who took advantage of it.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

He went from using oil to going completely electric, a transition that cost more than $20,000. He'll have up to 15 years to pay it back, interest free.

But now those looking to access the Switch program to make those same changes are out of luck.

"They have to look for like another financial option or they have to kind of put their upgrading to a shorter amount, you know, not like complete home," Manuel said.

"And I would seriously say, like, I was lucky."

Officials are now lobbying for more money in hopes of assisting those who missed out.

Stratford Coun. Derek Smith attended the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities' national meeting in Saskatchewan and spent a lot of his time lobbying the federation and federal politicians for more money for the Switch program or something like it.

At this point, nothing has been promised.

"It's a product that is needed, wanted, and being asked for. Now whether we'll be successful or not, we do not know. But we have to try."

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