Demand increased for province’s home heating program in OctoberNews WAALI
With increasing costs to Islanders due to Post-Tropical Storm Fiona, as well as a rapid increase in the price of home heating oil, there is growing demand for a provincial home heating subsidy program for PEI. .-P.-E.
The Salvation Army administers the provincial program, which provides up to $1,000 a year to low-income households.
“Unfortunately, this increase in the cost of fuel oil is really affecting many people affected by the hurricane and their normal lives,” said Lt. John Burton of the Salvation Army in Charlottetown.
“Their coffers are tight as they need to replace food that was lost in the storm. And now they have to buy fuel oil because it’s getting cold.
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After Wednesday’s recent spike, the current price of home heating oil has peaked at $1.87 per litre, a record high for this time of year in PEI.
According to Burton, applications for the grant program have more than doubled this month compared to September 2022, when between 80 and 85 applications were received.
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The Salvation Army receives $3 million each year to run the program, which means it can supply PEI. to approximately 2,700 homes.
“I would be surprised if there was anything left”
Last year the program drained all of its funds, and Burton said he expects the same for this year.
“If the program were to be extended, I would be very surprised if there was anything left,” Burton said.
He said the group plans to ask the government to increase its budget next year and other government officials have already come forward to ask how the program is doing so far this fall.
“There has to be a debate about whether that $1,000 is enough,” Burton said.
The Icelandic Regulatory and Appeal Board sets the prices of petroleum, including fuel oil, in PEI.
RAIC spokesperson Jaclynne Hamel said CBC News: Compass Animate Louise Martin prices have risen rapidly recently due to a combination of increased seasonal demand and current market conditions.
“Normally at this time of year we would see an increase in the price of heating oil during the fall and winter months due to increased demand during cold weather,” Hamel said.
She said increased demand for diesel in Europe and a recent decision by OPEC to cut production were also affecting the price at the moment.
The RAIC must respect its mandate
Hamel said the IRAC recognizes the islanders are still recovering from Fiona, but said the commission must continue to uphold its mandate.
“The commission’s job is really to make sure that prices are fair for islanders, but also that wholesalers and retailers are able to make a reasonable return,” Hamel said.
Burton said the Salvation Army will set aside additional funds to help islanders if they need more help than the program is providing this winter.
And he hopes the temperatures won’t drop too much.
“We’re going to keep an eye on the weather…and sincerely hope we have a mild winter,” Burton said.