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A coalition denounces the abandonment of Éconologis, the only program aimed at reducing the energy bills of low-income households.

Fondation Rivières

The coalition, supported by more than 250 Quebec organizations…

2010-01-19 08:54 – Press release

Alma, January 19, 2010 – A coalition of organizations from across Quebec denounces the decision of the Energy Efficiency Agency (AEÉ) to abandon Éconologis, the only energy efficiency program intended for low-income households. The coalition, supported by more than 250 Quebec organizations, is requesting the intervention of the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Nathalie Normandeau, to get the AEE to review its position.

The AEE recently asked the Régie de l'énergie to authorize it to put an end to the Éconologis program as of April 1, 2010. Launched in 1999, this program has enabled more than 60,000 low-income households, as many tenants as owners, to benefit from free home visits to receive advice and benefit from light energy efficiency work as well as the installation of energy saving products. “Éconologis is the only energy efficiency measure that makes it possible to specifically reach a clientele who otherwise does not benefit from any program,” explains Gilles Girard, general manager at Négawatts Production Inc.

The decision angered consumer defense organizations, particularly because the AEE intends to replace Éconologis with a program that will exclude a large proportion of low-income people. In addition, the pilot phase of the replacement program is already worryingly behind schedule. If the pilot project fails, the hasty withdrawal of Éconologis will leave many poor households in the lurch.

Low-income families generally have old, energy-consuming appliances and often live in cold, poorly insulated homes that consume a significant amount of energy. Traditional energy efficiency measures reach these households with great difficulty, particularly because many are tenants or have no money to invest in work.

“It would be unfair and unacceptable if disadvantaged households, who finance energy efficiency programs through energy rates and who need these programs more than others, could no longer have access to them,” denounces Gilles Girard.

Éconologis, delivered by 12 non-profit organizations such as Négawatts, enabled in 2008-2009 some 12,700 disadvantaged households, from all regions of Quebec, to benefit from free energy saving measures, reduce their bills and better face the rigors of winter.

Source: Gilles Girard

(418) 668-2626

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