Cornwall Electric energy saver program will finish early due to ‘big time’ response

The Ontario Affordability Fund Trust, which gives out energy saving kits (pictured) and also Energy Star appliances and other upgrades, will be ended for Cornwall Electric customers on July 31, 2020 due to an overwhelming response to the program. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A provincial program in the Cornwall area to give Cornwall Electric customers energy saving gadgets and appliances is having a good problem – they’re wrapping up early due to a better-than-expected response.

The Affordability Fund Trust, which helps owners outfit their home with energy-saving appliances and items, like power bars and timers, will finish taking applications at the end of the month.

“We got the unexpected news literally the other day that the program is going to end a little sooner than expected because enrollments have been up big time,” spokesman Melinda DeNicola told Cornwall Newswatch Friday.

DeNicola says 1,728 Cornwall Electric customers have participated and they have given out $2.6 million in upgrades as of Friday.

Since Cornwall Electric is not on the Ontario power grid, “Cornwall, especially, has never really had access to a lot of the Save on Energy programs. It’s a nice first for them too so we really want the citizens of Cornwall to take advantage of it,” DeNicola explained.

She also believes the program has been very popular because people in the Cornwall area couldn’t take advantage of the Home Assistance Program for low-income households in Ontario, exclusively for homes on the Ontario hydro grid.

DeNicola adds that “absolutely everybody is eligible” and many customers – just over two-thirds – are finding themselves automatically eligible for Level 2 or Level 3 upgrades which are the environmentally-friendly appliances, insulation and heat pumps. Level 1 is the energy saving kit with $300 in items like shower heads and LED light bulbs.

“There’s a lot of electrically-heated homes in Cornwall so quite a few…participants were actually able to get into Level 2 and Level 3 with the Energy Star appliances as much as even getting the heat pumps as well as insulation for their homes,” she said.

DeNicola says the easiest way to apply is online but you need to have a phone call back from the Affordability Fund. She suggests to make the online application to be in the queue before the July 31 cutoff. For quicker results, you can call the provincial call center at 1-855-494-FUND (3863). Make sure you have a copy of your most recent hydro bill when you call.

The call center will close at 8 p.m. July 31 (it’s open weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) while the online application will close at 11:59 p.m. July 31.

If you’ve applied before and didn’t get any response, DeNicola says you should still call because the call center attempts to call applicants five times before putting the file in a “did not answer” list and moving on to the next applicant.

Cornwall Electric services over 24,800 customers in Cornwall, South Stormont, South Glengarry and Cornwall Island (Akwesasne).

Click here for access to the Affordability Fund website to apply.