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New program helps seniors take the chill out of winter

Erin Thompson, Senior Energy Efficiency Program Coordinator installs a new water-efficient showerhead in a local senior’s home. — Submitted photo

Coordinators of a new program to help seniors deal with the cooler winter weather are overwhelmed with the interest after more than 100 seniors living in and around Nelson have signed up for Seniors Energy Efficiency Program.

This program, through an initiative of Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave Energy Retrofits Program, offers seniors energy efficiency improved for free.

“The seniors we’ve worked with are so appreciative of this program," said Erin Thompson, coordinator for the West Kootenay EcoSociety.

The West Kootenay EcoSociety joined in a partnership with Nelson Hydro to help senior citizen Nelson Hydro customers install basic home energy efficient materials such as weatherstripping, LED light bulbs, outlet insulators, water-efficient faucet aerators, and showerheads.

The program is free with trained volunteers to do the installations.

“Our seven volunteers have installed more than 250 outlet insulators,  almost 50 LED bulbs and I don’t even know how many feet of weatherstripping, Thompson explained. “We also check hot water tank settings, fridge, and freezer settings, and adjust them if necessary.”

Thompson is the EcoSociety’s coordinator for the new program who is helping seniors be more comfortable at home and save money on energy. In Erin’s role, she signs up the participants, trains the volunteers, and assists with the installations.

Local senior Margaret Stegman wants to encourage other seniors to sign up.

“I wasn't sure what to expect and was relieved that Erin was so easy to work with,” Stegman said.

“She just went around quietly, making our home more energy-efficient, with no muss, no fuss, and without needing us to participate. The whole process took only a couple of hours.  She left us with peace of mind, a cozier house - and a lovely, good-bye smile."

Carmen Proctor, EcoSave Coordinator, has been managing the EcoSave program for over seven years and has helped hundreds of residents improve the energy efficiency in their homes.

“The idea came to me as I noticed a need here in Nelson for seniors to get small handyman jobs done. It can be quite challenging to find someone to come in and do the simple things that a senior may not be able to do themselves,” said Proctor.

“These small fixes can add up and make a  big difference on your utility bill, plus adding comfort by taking away cold drafts.”

The program target was to have 100 senior Nelson Hydro customers sign up, and this has already been exceeded. The program has been extended into 2020 with the hope of reaching over 200 senior residents. 

Nelson Hydro senior customers can benefit from the Seniors Energy Efficiency Program by contacting Thompson at (250)354-1909 or visit the website to sign-up today.

Not a senior but interested in saving energy? Learn more at