Everyone is getting a break on their ballooning heat and electricity bills.
The province announced Tuesday an energy rebate equal to the province’s share of the HST — eight per cent.
The rebate kicks in Oct. 1.
It will cost the province $38 million and will apply to all residential electricity bills — not just the portion spent on heat, as well as home heating fuels such as oil, gas and wood.
Provincial officials are hoping to come to an arrangement with the major providers — electricity and fuel — to invoice the province for the rebate, rather than make the consumer file a rebate claim.
Those who use wood or wood pellets would likely have to apply for the rebate.
“As Newfoundland and Labrador becomes an energy powerhouse, it is important that we continue to maximize the benefits Labradorians and Newfoundlanders receive from those developments,” Finance Minister Tom Marshall said in his budget speech.
Marshall and the Tories may have got the glory Tuesday.
But the rebate has been on the NDP platform since 2003, the party’s leader, Lorraine Michael noted.
“So it’s a real victory for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it’s a victory for the NDP as well,” she said.
“He has totally done exactly what I said, for the reasons that I said it needed to happen.”
George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices and the man who predicts home heat and gas prices each week said the energy rebate is long past due.
He said the group has been asking for 14 years and was glad the NDP picked up the charge.
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Tuesday’s announcement was exactly what his group wanted.
“It came right down to (our) estimated dollar amounts,” he said.
The home heating rebate program for low-income individuals and families will continue.
Below are samples of annual spending on energy and the amount of rebate earned. The province announced, effective Oct. 1, a rebate on electricity and home heat in the amount of eight per cent.
Annual purchase Rebate amount
Source: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador