As spring led into summer, Albertans were left wondering what would come of Kenny’s promises to offer consumer rebates to offset the challenges felt by residences and businesses across the province in January, February and March. Among other financial stressors such as inflation, increased taxation, and the holiday season, many Albertans were taken aback when extreme temperatures led to utility bills that were far beyond the scope of affordability.
Previously, the Natural Gas Price Protection Act prevented electricity rebates from being offered to Albertans. The Utility Commodity Rebate Act has now repealed the Natural Gas Price Protection Act, allowing gas and electricity relief to be offered to 1.9 million Albertans.
After much administration and planning, the Government of Alberta has implemented the rebate program for residents, farms, and small businesses, who can expect to see their first credits on July’s energy bill.
Better Late Than Never
With almost 2 million eligible accounts, the process was time consuming – but the resulting rebate process is simple and automatic for consumers. The rebate was intended to begin in July and continue for three months, providing relief until the end of September, but has since been extended by an additional three months – offering subsidy to electricity customers through December, 2022.
If you are an electricity consumer who receives a bill in your name, the rebate will be automatically applied to your account, showing as a credit on your monthly bill. This program is for utility customers who use less than 250 megawatt hours per year. Additional exceptions and regulations can be found on the government of Alberta’s website at www.alberta.ca
Your credit will be applied to your account in increments of $50.00 per month over a six-month period, ending with your December usage bill. To find this on your bill, look for the item listed as: “GOA Utility Commodity Rebate”.
If you do not see a rebate on your July bill and you believe that you are eligible, contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate at :780-310-4822 (In Alberta) or 780-644-5130(Outside Alberta).
What About Gas?
Heating rebates were also promised as part of our government’s budget for the year, but details were scarce until this point. The government has taken a subsidizing approach, announcing that if the price of gas goes over $6.50 /GJ at ATCO North, ATCO South or Apex Utilities, it will pay the difference for the consumer – provided that they are billed by a natural gas retailer and use less than 2500 GJ of fuel annually. Farmers and other consumers who use alternative fuels for heating (like kerosene and propane) may be eligible for the rebate but will need to undergo a separate application process. Further details will be posted as they become available at: www.alberta.ca
This program will begin October 1, 2022 and end March 31, 2023.
With the influence of COVID-19 Our new reality, whether we like it or not, is that many households now have someone at home throughout the day. With so many residents now working from home, and many others deciding to stay home with their young children, there is more demand on our utility systems. Where, at one time, thermostats could be dropped significantly during the day when no one was home, we now require more heat for longer periods. Still, there are ways for us to reduce our utility usage – and time to accomplish it before winter!
Weather Stripping – Drafts around windows and doors can decrease heating efficiency in the home and should be blocked with weather stripping, silicone or spray foam to prevent heat loss when it’s cold.
Insulation – www.energy.gov provides a detailed outline of where to insulate a home and what materials to use. They recommend assessing and improving your home’s insulation in:
- Cathedral Ceilings
- Exterior Walls
- Foundations and Crawlspaces
Furnace Filters – Is your furnace filter filtering more than it needs to? Unless you have a reason to use a high-quality filter, your furnace may be working unnecessarily hard to circulate the air in your home.
Lifestyle – If you regularly keep your home at 22 or 23 degrees, consider decreasing your ambient temperature. Get the family involved by encouraging everyone to wear an extra sweater to decrease the heating demands in your home.
The Little Things – Small changes like hanging more clothes to dry, putting ceiling fans on reverse to circulate the rising heat, and plugging in your car only for as long as needed (or 3 hours before drive-time) don’t require much effort but do make a difference.
Energy Retailer – Are you certain that you’re getting the best rate on your electric and natural gas usage? Go to www.burstenergy.ca to get a complimentary bill review and quote or view our posted rates for up-to-date pricing.