Consumers Energy Rebates, the rebate program offered to low-income consumers, may be more of a hindrance than a help.article Consumers Energy rebates have proven a valuable tool in the fight against climate change, with the program helping more than 300,000 low- and moderate-income households save $2,700 on their electricity bills.
But the program, which provides rebates on bills ranging from $5 to $1,000, may not be helping as much as it could, according to a Consumers Energy report.
The rebate program, known as a Renewable Energy Credit (REC), was created in 2010 as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires oil and gas producers to produce renewable energy.
While RECs were initially intended to help low- to middle-income Canadians save money on their energy bills, consumers are now getting a bit ahead of their self on a number of fronts, according the report.
“Consumers Energy Rebate” was a program created by the Canadian Energy Research and Development Authority in 2012.
But it was extended to include the residential and small business sectors as well as the food and beverage sector, which is where consumers are most likely to be buying energy-efficient appliances.
The study found that for the first time, only one-third of consumers surveyed had a REC.
While the report states that there were more people eligible for RECs in 2016, this was offset by the fact that consumers are more likely to have a REA and are therefore less likely to qualify for a rebate.
Furthermore, only half of the households surveyed had received a RECA.
Consumers Energy said this is because the RECA is a federal government program and many provinces are not participating.
“In the case of the REC, a large proportion of the eligible eligible households had not received one at the time the program was implemented,” the report said.
“Many households did not qualify for the program because they were living in rural or remote areas, or because they did not have the means to buy a power meter, or the right amount of electricity for their household.”
It was found that energy-efficiency improvements made in 2016 were only a fraction of the true savings that could be achieved.
The report also said the RECs are not enough.
“While it is encouraging to see that more Canadians are taking advantage of the renewable energy rebate, the actual number of eligible households is likely to increase in the years ahead,” it said.
The report was released ahead of the release of the 2017 Federal Energy Policy Framework and said the federal government will be able to offer more incentives to low and middle- income households through a range of measures, including a $5 per month rebate.
“A rebate of this magnitude will be a critical step towards meeting Canada’s goal of increasing electricity prices and making energy more affordable for Canadians,” the government said in a statement.
“The government will also provide a $50 credit to those households who choose to purchase an energy-saving appliance and/or energy-smart home.”
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