NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece by Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.
The year 2007 will herald a number of new, positive happenings for Nova Scotians. New employers such as Research in Motion, Corporation Service Company, Marsh and Citco will be hiring for well-paying positions in our province. Tuition for Nova Scotia full-time students at our province's universities will decrease by $440, beginning in January.
The new year will also see savings for hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians on household energy costs.
These savings will come from Your Energy Rebate, a new program offered by the government of Nova Scotia through Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Nova Scotians will see residential energy costs reduced by the amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on fuel bills.
Your Energy Rebate is part of the government's plan to help people deal with higher household energy costs.
For many years, Nova Scotians have struggled with rising energy prices. We see it in the price we pay when we fill up our cars or trucks. We see it in the price we pay to our local oil dealer to fill our furnace oil tanks. We see it in the price we pay for electricity.
In past years, the Nova Scotia government has offered targeted relief to some Nova Scotians facing higher energy costs. Your Energy Rebate provides a break to a much larger part of society -- quite simply, every Nova Scotian who is responsible for paying a household energy bill. This bill could be for fuel oil, electricity, wood, wood pellets, natural gas, kerosene, coal or propane.
For electricity, home heating oil or natural gas, savings from Your Energy Rebate should automatically come off your bill. For heating oil, Your Energy Rebate should be included on any bill received on, or after, Dec. 1, 2006. For electricity or natural gas, Your Energy Rebate should be included on any bill dated on, or after, Jan. 1, 2007.
Some questions have come up from people who wonder why they are not receiving the rebate. For example, many businesses that are run out of a home qualify for Your Energy Rebate, but the homeowner who receives the energy bill must apply for the program from the provincial government.
Every new program that is introduced by government requires careful review to make sure it is operating as effectively as possible. We appreciate the concerns that some Nova Scotians have brought forward about Your Energy Rebate, and are working hard to address them.
I encourage anyone who has questions about eligibility or why they have not received Your Energy Rebate to visit the website, www.yourenergyrebate.ns.ca.ns.ca ,e-mail the department at email@example.com or call toll-free, 1-800-670-4357.
As Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, which is administering Your Energy Rebate program, I would like to thank oil heat vendors and their staff, employees of Nova Scotia electrical utilities, Heritage Gas employees and other retailers for working with the provincial government to deliver savings at home to Nova Scotians through this program.
And to everyone in our province, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season with warmest best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.