Left behind: National energy efficiency scorecard shows second consecutive year Higgs Government fails to help low-income New Brunswickers live comfortably and save energy at home

Efficiency Canada’s national ranking of provincial energy efficiency policies shows that New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Government under Premier Blaine Higgs is once again failing to help low income New Brunswickers such as seniors and single-family households live more comfortably and save on energy costs at home.

Released today, the report (2020 Canadian Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard) finds that New Brunswick spends a fraction of what our Atlantic neighbours do on programs to help low-income households living in energy poverty improve the energy efficiency of their home or dwelling. New Brunswick spends $18 per household, compared to Nova Scotia which spends $121 and Prince Edward Island’s $215.

The province performed best on its electric vehicle charging network, with one DC fast charging outlet for every 200km of road (slightly behind Quebec and P.E.I.). The Higgs Government should lean into this strength with sorely needed incentives and electric vehicle mandates to get more EVs on the road. 

A key weakness identified in the report is our building energy code. While the government passed a new Act in March 2020 allowing it to adopt the National Energy Code for Buildings, the Higgs Government’s current plan is to adopt the 2015 version of the code.

This is despite the fact that the 2017 version is currently available, and the 2020 code will be released soon–the latest providing a path for net-zero energy-ready buildings by 2030. As the report points out—why would the provincial government not follow through on the recommendation in its own low-carbon economy action plan (which Premier Higgs himself committed to fulfilling in full in December 2018) to adopt the most advanced building codes in Canada?

Preparing for net-zero homes and supporting citizens and small businesses in improving their homes and building’s energy efficiency has always been important, but certainly even moreso amid a global pandemic when more New Brunswickers are staying home and working from home than ever before, and when small business owners need all the support they can get to save money on energy costs.

Read the one-pager on New Brunswick’s ranking here.

Read the full 2020 Scorecard here.

Read our statement on the 2019 Scorecard here.

Want to learn more about energy efficiency and climate change solutions? Head to our new climate action hub, For the Love of New Brunswick.