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Nova Scotia bill would allow regulator to authorize more energy efficiency programs

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government is aiming to increase the ability of its energy efficiency utility to add programs for low-income households.

Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton says changes to the Public Utilities Act would direct the province’s regulator to allow more programming by Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Efficiency Nova Scotia offers programs that help reduce energy demand through the use of such things as insulation, heat pumps and solar panels.

According to the province, the utility has also helped more than 21,000 low-income Nova Scotians get free home assessments and energy efficiency upgrades.

Rushton says the amendments are aimed at helping to get more people off home heating oil in order to reach greenhouse gas targets.

According to provincial government statistics, as of 2019, fuel oil accounted for the largest share of residential heating energy in Nova Scotia at 36 per cent.

“We know there are many out there who still need help,” Rushton said. “There are huge strides that we have to make here.”

The province has legislated goals to to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. There is also a promise to have 80 per cent of the province’s energy supplied by renewable sources by 2030.

On Wednesday, the government introduced separate amendments to the act limiting a proposed rate hike for Nova Scotia Power to 1.8 per cent over the next two years, with the exception of its fuel costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press