Premier expands energy-efficiency program in campaign-style announcement

Premier expands energy-efficiency program in campaign-style announcement

An $8-million expansion to the province's home-energy efficiency program will allow First Nations communities and non-profit organizations to qualify for free assessments and upgrades.

Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement Friday during a visit to the Dartmouth home of Aline and David Keddy.

The couple received a free energy audit in 2013 and had work done to add insulation to their home as part of the government's HomeWarming program.

First Nations and non-profits

McNeil said the program's budget will be increased by $4 million this coming year and next year as well.

People who live in First Nations communities as well as non-profit groups will also soon have access those energy savings. 

Currently, only people who own their own homes are eligible. That made residents of band-controlled territories ineligible, but the province is now creating a $1.5-million program specifically geared to First Nation communities. The same assistance will also be extended through a program for non-profits groups and people who rent.

Campaign-style announcement

The campaign-like appearance and announcement was one of dozens staged by the governing Liberals during March. A spring election call is widely anticipated.

The premier continued to brush aside speculation over when he will drop the writ during Friday's media event, which took place in the Keddys's living room.

"They've been talking about an election since last October, November. At some point, one will happen," he told the couple as invited TV cameras and photographers recorded the event.

Fuel savings

Meanwhile the Keddys, who are both retired and living on pension checks, said they are fans of the HomeWarming program.

"By doing that, we saved … over half of our fuel bill. So, we've saved an awful lot of money," Aline Keddy said.

The most they paid for a fillup of oil this winter so far has been $447. "That's a gift!," David Keddy said.

The couple acknowledged they are Liberal supporters.