Nova Scotia is investing $140 million over the next four years for energy efficiency programs to help low- and middle-income homeowners end their use of heating oil.
Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton says the money will also offer low-income households free heat pumps and the electrical panel upgrades needed to install them.
Rushton says the funding — combined with promised federal money — is expected to help about 13,500 low-income and 30,000 middle-income households.
The minister says about $300 million in federal-provincial funding will be available for home-heating programs over the next three years, once the final details are worked out with Ottawa.
The federal government announced a $250-million grant program last month to help homeowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to electric heat pumps from heating oil.
It’s still unclear how much of that federal money will go to Nova Scotia, although the province is also getting about $60 million in heating assistance from a separate $250-million federal envelope.
About 30 per cent of homes in Atlantic Canada use oil for heating, including nearly half of Nova Scotia’s 400,000 households.
“The sooner we help people move away from oil the sooner they’ll be saving money and lowering their energy costs and emissions,” Rushton told reporters.
He said $10 million of the provincial funding envelope will be used to process applications this winter, with allocations of $43.3 million to follow over the next three fiscal years. About 30 per cent of the funding is to go to the heat-pump program.