‘Lucky’ Stratford residents make energy upgrades before city loan money runs out

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A program that offered interest-free loans to residents of Stratford, Prince Edward Island, looking to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes, has run out faster than expected.

Both Stratford and Charlottetown received funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities last summer for the Switch Efficiency program.

Charlottetown has been popular, although there is still money available.

However, Stratford’s $2.5 million is now completely gone.

It financed 150 worthless projects such as solar panels, heat pumps, new windows and insulation for homeowners.

15 years to repay the loan

Sajith Manuel was among those who took advantage.

Stratford County Derek Smith hopes the federal government will implement a similar program. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

He went from oil to full electricity, a transition that cost over $20,000. He will have up to 15 years to repay it, without interest.

But now, those looking to access the Switch program to make those same changes are out of luck.

“They have to look for another financial option or they have to kind of upgrade to a shorter amount, you know, not like a full house,” Manuel said.

“And I would seriously say, like, I got lucky.”

Officials are now pushing for more money in hopes of helping those who missed out.

Stratford County Derek Smith attended the recent national meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Saskatchewan and spent a lot of time lobbying the federation and federal politicians for more money for the Switch program or something of the gender.

At this stage, nothing has been promised.

“It’s a product that we need, want and demand. Now, whether we will succeed or not, we don’t know. But we have to try.”

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