Advocacy at its best: Propane users question government decision to not include propane in home heating program
As we have been hearing at CPA seminars held across Canada, propane users are the best advocates as we work to effect change in government policy.
We couldn’t have asked for better promotion on propane when SaltWire Network published the story, Propane users in N.L. question why they are not eligible for provincial home heating supplement on September 21, 2022.
The news outlet published the story, written by journalist Diane Crocker, after Keith Piercey, a propane user who lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador wrote to them about an issue he was having with the provincial government’s home heating supplement program. Specifically, he asked why only furnace and stove oil users are eligible for the program that was launched by the provincial government on Sept. 13.
The news outlet posed that question to the provincial Department of Finance. They received this response: “The Home Heating Supplement Program targets households that use furnace and stove oil heating. Propane is not typically used as a primary source for home heating in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Piercy had also posted the question to the department and received the same response. He then followed up the government’s statement, responding that he did not believe the government was “fully aware of the number of homes which have switched to propane, and plan to switch to, propane heating.
In a separate, additional response, he wrote “…Just because you feel propane heating is not as popular as heating oil is not a just reason to leave out those using propane. If you think about it, if I and people like me had stayed with oil the supplemental cost would still be there. I do not buy what you are telling me.”
The story also states why Piercey says propane is a “smarter choice”: environmentally friendly with water as a by-product and it does not come with the risk of spillage that furnace or stove oil has.
The story covers comments from other propane users – seniors Sandra and Richard Willcott – who wrote to the Department of Finance about this issue. They received a response from Minister of Finance Siobhan Coady who stated that propane was not included because the “cost of propane has not increased as dramatically.”
The CPA had also written to Minister Coady regarding the importance of rebates for energy users – including propane users – in August. The response received a couple of weeks ago mirrored what was told to Piercey and the Willcotts. The CPA has reached out to the province to further discuss the issue with the hopes of having the government consider a more broad and fair approach. These testimonials will help the case.
When propane users raise an issue such as this one with your company, you must encourage them to write to their local, provincial and federal legislator. It is vital that we get as many voices as possible to speak about these issues – the greater the volume, the greater our chance of success.