It is that time of year when many of us are thinking ahead to the winter season and that means among other things, prepare our homes for the cold weather that we can expect. One of the steps homeowners take at this time is to look at ways to reduce heat loss in our homes. In a typical house, 80% of that heat loss is caused by drafts around doors and windows and as a result of poor insulation. Upgrades like improving insulation, installing new windows and doors and general draft proofing can help keep our homes warmer in the winter.
The Liberal Government of Nova Scotia continues to provide programs to assist low income families in keeping their homes warm during the winter season.
Home Warming is a new program for low income families made available through Efficiency Nova Scotia and supported by Clean Foundation, Nova Scotia Power and the Province of Nova Scotia. Home Warming asks us to think about ways to reduce heating and power bills and provides upgrades to those Nova Scotians who qualify. Home Warming offers no-charge energy assessments to eligible Nova Scotians.
You may be one of those Nova Scotians and the Home Warming initiatives will help make your home more energy efficient. To be eligible your maximum annual household income (line 236 from your Notice of Assessment) must meet this criteria.
1 person $21 186
2 – 4 people $39 367
5 or more people $56 064
In addition to your income you must own a single unit home and be able to provide proof of ownership and it must be your current primary residence and it must be your year round home. If you qualify for Home Warming an energy audit will be conducted to determine the energy efficiency upgrades required. To determine if you are eligible contact Efficiency Nova Scotia at 1-877-434-2136 (toll free) or by visiting HomeWarming.ca.
Another program for low income families is the Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP). The HARP program is available to Nova Scotians who buy energy to heat their homes with oil, electricity, natural gas, wood, wood pellets, coal, or other heating source and you may be eligible to receive a rebate on those costs and eligibility is based on program requirements. Service Nova Scotia, as of October 31, 2016, is accepting applications for the HARP program to help with up to $200 toward home heating costs. Those who were recipients of the HARP program last year will receive an application automatically to ensure that the process is as convenient as possible for homeowners. Last year, almost 42,600 people and families received a rebate from the Heating Assistance Rebate Program.
The new online system will allow Nova Scotians to apply for the rebate online, and will allow both those who apply online and by paper form to check the status of their application online in real time. Before now, applicants had to call Service Nova Scotia to ask for an update on their application. Those registered for direct deposit with Canada Revenue Agency can also receive their rebate directly to their bank account.
HARP paper applications will still be available by contacting the Public Enquiries phone number at 1-800-670-4357, at Access Nova Scotia locations, Department of Community Services' offices, MLA offices and through more than 70 community groups, and other locations across the province. Go to http://www.novascotia.ca/heatinghelp for more information and to apply online.
Karen Casey, MLA