Media Release

Long-Term Energy Plan a positive move, but affordable energy rate program needed to protect the vulnerable

Media Release from the Low Income Energy Network

Dec 03 2013

(Toronto) The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) strongly sup ports the government’s commitment to energy conservation and renewable energy in the upd ated Long-Term Energy Plan which was unveiled by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli yesterday.

“Conservation and efficiency is the fastest and easiest way to meet our energy needs, and cheaper than building new generation. It also reduces our en vironmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions,” noted Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Dir ector of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, a founding member of LIEN.“We welcome t he government’s effort to develop a culture of conservation, and trust that low-income consumer s will have equal opportunities to participate.”

While the announcement of on-bill financing for energ y efficiency retrofits in the new plan is encouraging news for homeowners wishing to undertake renovations, special considerations must be made to ensure that low-income consumers are prote cted from disconnection in the event that they default on their utility bill.

Despite aggressive conservation, electricity rates a re expected to rise. This is especially troubling for low-income consumers who are vulnerable to increases in shelter and utility costs and will be forced to make difficult choices between heating, eating and paying the rent.

“What is required is a long-term, proactive solution tha t will help keep the lights on for low-income households in the province,” said Zee Bhanji, Coordin ator of LIEN. “We have been advocating for a permanent, province-wide low-income electricity rate as sistance program since 2006.”

The Ontario government has shown leadership in gree ning the electricity system and spurring a healthy renewable energy sector. We hope they continu e this leadership by ensuring that progress is made on establishing a rate affordability program target ed to low-income consumers.

LIEN is a network of anti-poverty, affordable housin g, environmental and social justice organizations that works to address the needs of Ontario’s low-inc ome households by ensuring the implementation of effective energy assistance and conservation progr ams and policies.

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For further information:
Zee Bhanji, LIEN Coordinator 416-597-5855 ext. 5167
www.lowincomeenergy.ca