Free heat pump program helps Islanders and the environment
Shovelling a path to her oil tank is something Jeannie Dixon says she won’t miss.
“My oil tank is at the back of my house,” says the single mother, who lives with her three-year-old daughter in Charlottetown.
“To not have to worry about clearing eight feet of snowbanks to get an oil delivery, yeah, I’m quite happy that we’re getting this heat pump.”
Dixon is one of over 1,200 Islanders who applied for a free heat pump under the Province’s new program since it was introduced in December.
Under the program, homeowners are eligible to receive a heat pump and installation at no cost if they have a household income of $35,000 or less and a property tax assessment under $300,000. This means zero out-of-pocket expenses for qualified Islanders—throughout the entire process.
“Some government rebate programs require Islanders to pay for a portion of the cost of the equipment upfront, but that’s not possible for all Islanders,” says Steven Myers, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action. “The free heat pump program takes this financial barrier away.”
The program is part of government’s Net-Zero strategy to reduce carbon emissions and move away from fossil fuels.
Achieving these goals has to be done in a way that makes it easy for all Islanders, says Mark Arsenault, Chief Citizen Experience Officer with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Getting to net-zero is about more than offering programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also about making sure these programs are easy to access for everyone,” Arsenault says. “People can apply online, at any Access PEI location, or we can meet people in their own communities and help them fill out the application. Then we work with a local contractor and the client to get the heat pump installed.”
Dixon says the application process was easy and she was approved for a free heat pump only one week after applying.
“So fast, so efficient, and so friendly. It was amazing.”
To date, approximately 80 heat pumps have been installed in Islanders’ homes in the two months since the program began. Arsenault says response has been incredible and staff are working hard to get through all applications.
“We have many clients who meet the program’s criteria, and we are working as quickly as possible to help make sure these Islanders have a warm home—and we’re doing it in a way that helps the environment and helps the Province reach its net-zero goals.”
As more people learn about the program, energy efficiency will be top of mind for many Islanders, says Minister Myers. “I expect this is one of many steps government will be taking in offering support to Islanders who want to improve the efficiency of their homes, save money, and do right for the environment.”
Dixon says she learned about the free heat pump program through loved ones who keep her up to date on new programs and services the Province offers.
“They keep me very updated as to what the government can do for single moms like myself.”
She’s even told all her friends to fill out an application, too.
“Whether they’re a single parent or not, I’ve told everybody to apply. It’s a beautiful program.”
Plus, it doesn’t cost anything to apply, she says.
“Government is willing to help us out, so why not?”