According to Clean Energy BC, an industry trade association representing and advocating for clean energy project developers in the province, the average annual electricity consumption per BC household is 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) or 11 megawatt hours (mWh). When you consider that BC Hydro charges you 7.52 cents per kWh for the first 1,350 kWh you use over an average two-month billing period, and 11.27 cents per kWh above that level, you can see that it works to your benefit to do what you can to reduce your household electrical consumption.
The reality is that as the population of British Columbia grows, and the demands on the electrical generating system increases, those costs will be going up. This is especially true if large scale electrical generating projects have to be constructed to help meet the increasing demand for electricity in the province. It therefore is in your best interests as a homeowner to reduce your personal electrical consumption levels. Not only will it save you money, you’ll also be doing your part to conserve the energy being produced, and ultimately delay the need to build more dams or other mega projects in BC. It’s a true win-win for everybody.
In reality BC Hydro would much prefer to make a better use of the electricity it’s currently producing than to have to find new generating sources. Toward this end the provincial electric company offers a number of different programs to assist homeowners in making their homes more efficient and cheaper to operate. One of these programs is called the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP).
Working in partnership with BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC, the Energy Conservation Assistance Program provides qualified low-income BC Hydro and FortisBC residential account holders with a number of free services including:
- Personalized home energy evaluation.
- Installation of energy saving products by a qualified contractor.
- Personalized energy efficiency advice to help you create a more comfortable home for your family.
The Program is available to both renters and home owners in detached houses, townhouses, duplexes as well as mobile homes. The Program was created to help individuals with the installation of a range of energy saving products including energy saving light bulbs, faucet aerators for the kitchen and bathroom, water-saving showerheads, water heater pipe wrap and winterizing tools such as door weather-stripping. In some cases homes surveyed may also qualify for ENERGY STAR® refrigerator, wall, attic, and/or crawlspace insulation and even high-efficiency gas furnaces. Each home is unique and as such the on-site evaluator would have to determine which energy efficiency upgrades the specific home is eligible for. The installation of some products may require multiple visits.
Qualification for the Program is dependent on the ability for an individual or family to pay for the upgrades. In essence more support is provided for those who need the upgrades but lack the fiscal means to carry them out. While each case is examined individually, a general rule of financial thumb BC Hydro uses states that a person living alone, with an annual income of less than $30,800 would qualify. A two-person household’s income level would have to be less than $38,300, a three-person household would be pegged at less than $47,100 and so on. Check with BC Hydro to learn if your home qualifies for the evaluation and savings.