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Government program reconnects vulnerable Albertans to heat and power when temps plunge

Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Government of Alberta

A consumer watchdog for home heating and electricity is working to get dozens of Albertans who have had their services cut off during the summer months get reconnected.

Since November 1, the Utilities Consumer Advocate has helped reconnect 43 Albertans whose services were cut off during the summer.

Under current regulations, utility retailers cannot shut off a consumer’s service between November 1 and April 14 and any time of the year when the overnight temperature is forecast to drop below zero degrees in the next 24 hours for natural gas and October 15 to April 15 for electricity.

“Every Albertan deserves to feel warm and safe in the winter,” said Minister of Service Alberta Stephanie McLean. “Our Winter Reconnection Program protects the most vulnerable in our province.”

The program runs until December 23.

On average, the UCA helps reconnect 75 homes per year. Based on previous statistics, people living on First Nations or Metis settlements are twice as likely to face disconnection.

As a result, the UCA has hired a new consumer education staff member to reach out to indigenous communities.