Manitoba Hydro has a bigger money carrot to get you to re-insulate your house and get a new furnace.
Three new incentives were announced Friday by Premier Greg Selinger as a way to make it even more affordable for customers to make energy efficient home renovations.
It piggybacks on Ottawa’s ecoENERGY Program which offers up to $5,000 in grants for energy efficiency improvements. To access that money, Manitoba Hydro has reduced the cost of the required pre-retrofit in-home evaluation or audit from $180 to $45.
Also, through existing and new Power Smart offerings, Manitoba Hydro will top up grants offered under the ecoENERGY Retrofit program by 20 per cent so that Manitoba homeowners are eligible for up to $1,000 in additional Power Smart grants, resulting in total grants of up to $6,000. The incentive is retroactive to June, 2011.
The rub is that the federal ecoENERGY grants are scheduled to end on March 31 next year, making it vital homeowners take advantage of the incentives ASAP, Selinger said.
And to dangle that money carrot even closer, Hydro has also lowered the interest rate to 3.9 per cent for all new loan applications under its home energy improvement financing plan effective immediately.
It means customers can borrow up to $7,500 to complete qualifying energy efficient renovations to their home and make monthly payments on their energy bill. Some of the energy saving measures covered by the loan include adding insulation and upgrading your natural gas furnace to a high efficient model.
Hydro estimates up to 7,000 homeowners will take advantage of the program within the next few weeks. To meet that crush, Hydro may hire more energy auditors to inspect people's homes for things like insulation, drafts and furnaces.
Hydro also estimates there are up to 60,000 homes in the province that need to be upgraded for energy efficiency.
Selinger said the bonus to lower power bills for homeowners who get into the program is that it keeps local tradespeople busy doing the required work.