Ontario is helping thousands of additional families reduce their energy use and save money by updating the eligibility for the Energy Affordability Program which provides free home-efficiency upgrades for Ontarians who are looking for support with their energy bills. To ensure families have access to these critical supports and help keep costs down, the income eligibility threshold is being raised by $11,715 for a four-person household, and by $8,285 for a couple.
“As the home heating season continues, our government is helping families reduce their energy use and save money on their bills”, said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “With this update to the Energy Affordability Program, Ontario is ensuring access to free home energy-efficiency upgrades like insulation, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient refrigerators and air conditioners.”
The Energy Affordability Program offers energy saving measures that can help participating households manage their energy use and lower electricity costs by up to $750 per year depending on eligibility, at no cost to the customer. The energy-efficiency upgrades and types of support available are tailored based on various factors including home heating system, location and an assessment of energy needs.
Under the increased income eligibility threshold, a four-person household with a before-tax income of $84,872, or a couple with a before-tax income of $60,014, is now eligible for support through the Energy Affordability Program. That represents an increase of 16 per cent compared to the previous income threshold.
The government is also continuing to invest in other critical programs to support Ontarians who are looking for support with their electricity or natural gas bills. The Ontario Electricity Support Program provides an on-bill credit of up to $75 per month to provide support for low-income households when paying their electricity bills. Customers can also access the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program and receive up to $600 in emergency assistance if they are behind on their electricity or natural gas bill and face having their service disconnected.
“Updates to the Energy Affordability Program will provide greater comfort and lower bills for income-eligible Ontarians,” said Chuck Farmer, Vice-President, Planning, Conservation and Resource Adequacy at the IESO. “Energy efficiency programs like this reduce electricity demand and contribute to the overall reliability of Ontario’s power system.”
The Energy Affordability Program and Enbridge’s Home Winterproofing Program, which provides home energy upgrades to income-eligible natural gas customers, are now coordinated though a one-window approach. That means an improved customer experience and making it easier than ever for families to receive energy-efficient upgrades that will help them reduce energy costs and improve comfort at home.
“Energy affordability and climate change are among the most pressing issues we face today, and energy efficiency is one of the most effective solutions that addresses both,” said Michele Harradence, President, Enbridge Gas. “That’s why we are excited to coordinate efforts to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver conservation programs that can help Ontario families reduce their household energy use, affordably. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the IESO and the Government of Ontario as we chart a path to a dependable, resilient, and sustainable energy future, at the lowest cost for consumers.”
In October 2022 the government announced it was increasing funding for the province’s energy-efficiency programs by $342 million, bringing the total investment to more than $1 billion over the current four-year electricity conservation framework.
The Energy Affordability Program, which is funded by the province’s current four-year electricity conservation framework, has provided free energy-efficiency upgrades to more than 47,000 Ontario households since 2018.
Free energy upgrades may include insulation, draft proofing, smart thermostats, showerheads, aerators, pipe wrap, energy-efficient refrigerator, air conditioner and health and safety measures where needed such as carbon monoxide detectors and attic dampers.