For more than four months, contractor Jack Parsons has been trying to talk to Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley about energy-efficient homes.
Parsons wants to talk about “net metering” which involves home owners with solar panels or wind turbines. The idea is that a net meter house would attempt to use mostly its own power, but it would be able to draw on the grid if necessary, but also sell electricity into the grid at times when there was excess wind or solar power.
Earlier this month, the provincial government quietly issued a request for proposals — “Net Metering Standard Industry Practices — which essentially calls on a consultant to look at other jurisdictions in Canada and provide a report on what standard industry practice is.
Parsons isn’t impressed by the request for proposals.
“I just think it’s ridiculous,” he said. “It’s too foolish to think about.”
The Telegram also tried to speak to Dalley about net metering and about the request for proposals, but Dalley would not do an interview. A spokeswoman said she would provide a statement on his behalf, but nothing was provided as of deadline.
The Telegram also tried to contact Environment Minister Vaughn Granter to talk about energy efficiency programs in general. A spokeswoman for Granter said that he was still getting up to speed after being appointed minister last Thursday, but he’s committed to doing an interview once he’s fully briefed, on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
Liberal MHA Tom Osborne said that the government record on energy efficiency is shoddy.
Osborne pointed to the 2007 provincial energy plan, which promised that the government would consider a rebate program for hybrid and fuel-efficient cars, develop a program to assist large industrial operations with energy efficiency audits and look at introducing lighting conservation and insulation enhancement in homes across the province.
“They promised a number of initiatives, and failed on almost every initiative,” Osborne said.
The 2007 energy plan also set a target for eliminating 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.
“They’ve got six months to accomplish that; that’s not going to happen,” Osborne said.
He wasn’t in cabinet, but for most of the past seven years since the government unveiled the energy plan, Osborne was a member of the Tory caucus.
“We’d bring up items around the caucus table, including some of these items, actually,” he said. “In the PC caucus, backbenchers are rarely listened to. That may have changed now, but when I was there, they were rarely listened to.”