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ON: CPA Proposes Plan to Reduce GHGs in Rural Ontario

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In an effort to enhance the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in rural Ontario, the CPA has proposed a Rural Propane Retrofit Program to the Ontario government. The objective of the program is to switch rural Ontario consumers from heating oil to clean-burning propane.

Since late 2016, the Ontario Home Energy Conservation Incentive Program (OHECIP) has operated as part of the Ontario Government’s Green Investment Fund. This program provides funding for home energy retrofits that increase energy efficiency. Homeowners who heat their homes with natural gas, oil, propane or wood are eligible for rebates towards energy audits and retrofits. 

However, there are several challenges that have developed with OHECIP, making it a sub-optimal option for achieving efficiency and emission reduction goals in rural and remote areas of the province. 

Consequently, the CPA has developed a program document proposing that the Ontario government fund a Rural Propane Retrofit Program. It provides a turn-key solution that can immediately make a difference without large-scale energy infrastructure spending or a need for technological advancements. Homeowners who upgrade their furnace and convert from heating oil to propane will reduce their GHG emissions by as much as 39%. 

Rural Propane Retrofit Program Goals:
  • Incent energy upgrades ahead of typical appliance replacement schedule;
  • Reduce, as much as possible, administrative barriers that limit rural participation in previous and existing energy conservation programs;
  • Effectively maximize value from the expenditure of government funds and limit program administrative costs;
  • Signal to rural and remote residents that their energy costs and emissions are important to government;
  • Significantly reduce GHG emissions; and
  • Significantly lower energy costs.
Basic program Overview:
  • $2500 rebate for homeowners who:
    • Change their primary heating fuel from oil to propane; and
    • Install a new, high-efficiency 95 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency propane furnace 
  • Maximum of 10,000 homes over an initial 3-year period
  • Program independently administered and audited to ensure transparency and effectiveness
This fall, CPA staff met with government officials to explain the program and make the case for funding from cap and trade revenues. Meetings will continue to ensure the program is funded. In the past few weeks the CPA met with Arthur Potts, M.P.P. (Beaches-East York) and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Phillip Donelson, Senior Policy Advisor (Energy) to Premier Wynne; Mitchell Davidson, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs to the Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown; David Black, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Infrastructure and Todd Smith, M.P.P. (Prince Edward—Hastings) and Energy Critic for PC Caucus.

The CPA will continue to meet with senior Ontario officials. If approved in Ontario, the Rural Propane Retrofit Program could serve as a model for rural communities across Canada.

 

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