Nothing wrong with efficiency

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Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. In the case of the provincial Liberal government, let’s hope they are giving honest thought to the future of Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Before winning government, the party delivered its thoughts on the agency designed to help Nova Scotians conserve energy – and it’s looking like that position was taken prematurely. The Energy Department has since praised what Efficiency Nova Scotia has to offer, painting the Liberals into a political corner, unless they want to recant their expressed disenchantment with the non-profit organization.

Essentially, the Liberals said customers shouldn’t be paying the approximately $4 monthly fee, money that goes toward programs and rebates customers can access to make money-saving improvements.

Briefing notes from the department, obtained through access-to-information by The Canadian Press, describe an extremely effective organization that saves customers money.

In addition, conservation of energy helps keep demand in check, a factor in future capital costs for the utility.

Originally, the Liberals said they didn’t feel customers should be paying the fee, that if anything it should be borne by the utility.

For argument’s sake, let’s say it was set up that way, does anyone believe Nova Scotia Power wouldn’t find the opportunity to increase rates equivalent to making up for such a loss? History would tell us that’s no stretch.

So far the government is saying little in response to this endorsement of Efficiency Nova Scotia, but has indicated it still feels change is in the cards.

If that’s the case, they should be careful, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when indications are it is working.

If anything, increased publicity and education about what can be done to improve the energy efficiency of homes is in order. Also, those programs that can achieve significant savings – the costlier upgrades – find ways to make them even more available to lower-income households.

Organizations: Energy Department, Canadian Press, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Nova Scotians

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