Province Launches Low Income Pilot Energy Efficiency Program

first_imgThe province is investing $650,000 in a new program designed to help low-income Nova Scotians take control of their energy costs. “This program will help homeowners permanently save up to 30 per cent on their energy costs,” said Bill Dooks, Minister responsible for Conserve Nova Scotia. “Through the program, we can evaluate and determine the best way to help people with low incomes achieve a more energy efficient house.” Conserve Nova Scotia is piloting two different approaches to help 105 low income households through its Residential Energy Affordability Program. In western, eastern and northern regions of the province, Conserve Nova Scotia will work with the Department of Community Services to identify 25 homes in each zone through their low income home repair programs. In Halifax Regional Municipality, 30 homes will be selected based on referrals from Conserve Nova Scotia’s EnerInfo phone line and the central region office of Community Services. “This is an excellent opportunity to tie energy efficiency into homes that are already getting work done,” said Heather Foley Melvin, chief executive officer of Conserve Nova Scotia. “Our program will also allow us to measure both the energy and environmental savings while making a difference in the lives of Nova Scotians.” All participating homes must meet program criteria. Participation is limited to homes built before 1985 with a dry basement. Participants must also pass an income test through Community Services. The central region program will be administered by Clean Nova Scotia. In the central region pilot, homeowners must also agree to provide 30 hours of upgrade work by helping the contractor with energy efficiency improvements. The 30-hour contribution can be made by the homeowner, a family member, or a friend. The time commitment can also be shared with more than one person. Clean Nova Scotia’s executive director, Judy McMullen, said the time put in by the homeowner will give participants the skills to help improve the energy performance of their home and share that information with their neighbours. “Organizations like Habitat for Humanity have long recognized th value of involving the homeowner in the work on the home,” said Ms. McMullen. “That sense of pride and involvement is key to developing and growing communities.” Each participating home will be assigned an energy rating through the Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program to determine where the home is losing energy. The evaluator will provide suggestions to help the homeowner and the contractor improve the energy performance of the home. An on-site contractor will then work with the homeowner to make the changes, including installing insulation, sealing drafts, and applying weatherstripping and caulking. Information on the program is available on the Conserve Nova Scotia website at www.conservens.ca or by calling 1-800-670-4636. The retrofits are expected to be completed by April.last_img read more

Loblaw verifying accuracy of its coincounting machines after TD Bank ditches theirs

TORONTO — Canada’s largest grocery chain says it’s trying to verify the accuracy of the coin-counting kiosks in its stores after TD Bank got rid of similar machines from its branches over allegations that they’ve been nickel-and-diming customers.“We are aware of the concerns recently raised about coin-counting machines,” Kevin Groh, the vice-president of corporate affairs and communication for Loblaw, said in an email.“We have been working with Coinstar to confirm the accuracy of the coin-counting machines located in our stores and have no current plans to remove the machines. Should customers have a concern with any of the coin-counting machines in one of our stores, please contact our customer service team to let us know.”Toronto-Dominion Bank facing class action lawsuit over coin-counting machines in CanadaTD Bank retiring coin-counting machines following complaints customers were short-changedThe coin-counting machines located in Loblaw stores are owned and operated by U.S.-based Coinstar, the same company that owned and operated the machines that TD Bank pulled from its Canadian branches in May.Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed against TD on behalf of everyone who used the coin-counting machines at the bank’s branches between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 25, 2016.Grocery store chain Metro also has Coinstar machines in its stores. A spokeswoman said the company has not received any complaints about the machines and therefore has no plans to remove them.But Metro will continue to monitor the machines to “ensure our customers’ satisfaction,” Genevieve Gregoire said in an email.The lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit is Lisa Ram, a woman from Kitchener, Ont., who says she counted her coins before depositing them in a machine at a TD Bank in the city.Ram says she had a total of $854.25, but was shortchanged by $159.50. She alleges that she complained to the bank but they failed to do anything.A statement of claim filed by Toronto-based law firm Sotos LLP alleges that the bank knew about accuracy issues with its machines south of the border, but still proceeded with a national rollout across Canada in January 2013.The allegations have not been proven in court.In order to proceed as a class-action, the suit requires certification from the Ontario Superior Court.TD Bank declined a request for comment, saying it could not comment on the pending litigation.Coinstar said in an email that it aims to provide customers with “convenient, reliable and accurate” service and that its machines have processed more than one billion transactions over the last 25 years.Any customer who has questions or concerns should contact customer service staff, the company added. read more