Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Budget Restoration of EcoENERGY Program - Good and Bad

Yesterday's federal budget restored the popular EcoENERGY home retrofit program, though the government's heart really isn't in it (apparently this is a sop to bribe, oops, accommodate a demand of, the NDP) since the funding of $400 million is only for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The temporary short extension of the program is bad but at least the program itself is good for homeowners. Home energy efficiency investment is a one-time cash outflow that replaces future constant regular cash outflow on energy bills. It provides permanent inflation protection against energy price rises (see my original post on my friend's actual geothermal home installation for the financials of his situation). For the retiree especially, a cash flow saving that automatically exactly matches inflation on an essential living expense is a great boon. Consider the difficulty of trying to find an investment that even gets close to doing that.

This budget item is also a good thing for investors (of which I am one) in WaterFurnace Renewable Energy (TSX: WFI), a manufacturer of EcoENERGY-eligible ground source home heating and cooling systems whose Canadian sales dropped 14.3% in 2010 per the annual report after the EcoENERGY program was allowed to lapse last year. For a year at least, WFI's Canadian sales should get a boost, though they are at such a low proportion (12.7% in 2010) of WFI's total sales, that won't make a huge difference.


Sustainable PF said...

I don't see ANY bad here. Hundreds of small business owners will continue to do assessments and retrofit work. That money will then be spent on other things which makes the economy stronger. Homeowners save money on energy costs and can spend those savings, or better yet SAVE that money (which far too many of us don't do). Lastly, less fossil fuels are burned.

This is a great program. I fail to see adequate proof of the "bad" in your points.

CanadianInvestor said...

Hi Sustain,
Bad = it only gets renewed for one year. Why not have it more or less permanent?

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