As the weather gets colder and furnaces fire up again, it is important to remind Nunavik residents and business owners about the Heating Oil Subsidy Program. To be eligible for the program, one must be a Hydro-Québec customer with a facility (building) that is unsubsidized.
Makivvik acts as a liaison between the customer, Hydro-Québec, and Nunavik Petro. Makivviks’s Mike Iorio explains that it’s important to understand what it means to have an unsubsidized facility and how an eligible client can be enrolled.
“For example, if you are a private homeowner, you qualify. If you rent from KMHB, you do not qualify because your rent is already subsidized,” he says. Public institutions are not eligible for this program. For example, “if you’re a municipality, all the buildings of the municipality, NVs, they do not qualify. Why? Because they receive the money from government, whether it be from the provincial level or municipal level.” Private institutions may qualify provided that the buildings they own or rent are not subsidized. Landholding Corporations, however, as they generate revenue, may qualify, if the facility is used as a business.
The process to apply to the program is very simple. If someone is in the Nunavik region, has an account with Hydro-Québec, and owns or rents an unsubsidized facility, they need to be enrolled in the program. An application form will be provided by Makivvik. Makivvik will send the application to Hydro-Québec, where it is validated, and a confirmation sent back. Makivvik then sends a notice to both the customer and Nunavik Petro that, effective of the date of application, the customer will be enrolled in the Heating Oil Subsidy Program. Once enrolled, the customer remains a part of the program until they change their facility and Hydro-Québec account. Then they need to reapply to receive the subsidy.
Iorio says it is important to remember that every building is linked to an account. “Let’s say you have a business and operate a warehouse. You sell your business, then person going into that warehouse has a new account number with hydro. They need to apply. Because it links to the account holder and the facility,” he says.
The price of oil in Nunavik is set once a year on September 1. Nunavik Petro has a list of clients who receive subsidies, and they invoice the client the net of subsidy amount. There are no cheques issued. If the price of heating oil, for example, is $2 per litre, a private homeowner will usually save about 60 per cent, so they wouldn’t be invoiced $2 per litre, but the subsidized amount. There are also two rates, Iorio explains, the residential rate and the commercial rate depending on the type of building (residential or commercial) which are all linked to the Hydro-Québec price per Kilowatt. The residential rate is less than the commercial.
In 1994, Makivvik and Hydro-Québec entered into an Electricity Supply Plan Agreement to subsidize the cost of heating oil for Nunavik, to, in effect, level the playing field, and bring the rates more in line with what would be paid if electricity was a viable option for the region. The program also provides for the maintenance and repair of oil-fired furnace burners and water heaters used by its commercial, industrial, institutional, and private customers in all Inuit communities. The Subsidy Program was renewed in 2010 with some changes. For further information please visit https://www.makivvik.ca/heating-oil-subsidy-program/