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Letter: B.C.’s free air-conditioning program is a 'boondoggle'

New West resident says provincial air-conditioning program is a "feel-good" gesture, but better options exist for keeping folks cool.
Better options? A New West resident said the province's air conditioning rebate program is flawed.

The Editor,

Re: The free air-con boondoggle

B.C. government spent $10 million to buy 8,000 air-conditioning units for low-income folks to beat the heat? Sounds grand, but few have received them, and that’s $1,450 per unit or does that includes installation? (14,000btu units are currently selling for $600.) And who will pay for the near doubling of recipients utilities bills?

It’s midsummer, and only 300 or so people have been approved for the units, while many landlords reject the installation.

We have lived comfortably with two fans and black-out curtains in a west-facing, full-sun suite for many years. Even the cost of running the fans spiked our electricity bill, but energy-saving models are surely available.

Fans are a fraction of the $1,450 government price tag for an air-con and require no installation; black-out curtains cost $20 to $60 a set.

Yes, we have an air-con in our bedroom now, but only because a friend in the biz got us an end-of-line model for $140. It adds about $60 to our bi-monthly electric bill, which is a lot for low-income people.

The program is a nice feel-good gesture, one also suggested by two of our councillors, but how sensible is it?

- Mary Ruth Olson, New Westminster