How many mistakes does it take to change a light bulb?
Premier Rachel Notley’s Getting It Right: A More Energy Efficient Alberta plan, was stated as a catalyst to saving money, create jobs, and reducing emissions. Instead it’s feeling like she’s getting it all wrong.
This week the NDP began rolling the Energy Efficiency program with the announcement of the Direct Install (DI) program – where Albertans can sign up to have their “free” LED lights installed in their homes. Sounds bright doesn’t it? Well we thought so to until we registered.
What media had to say: We were informed of the Energy Efficiency Program roll out and where we can sign up. Then there was argument over these “free” light bulbs given they are paid by Alberta tax payers through the NDP’s green initiatives. Guess it's true – there's no such thing as a free lunch (or light bulb).
The company hired to do the project is an Ontario-based company, Ecofitt. So now, when unemployment rates remain the highest across major Canadian cities and still hovering around 10%, we are outsourcing our so called “efficiency” projects to Ontario companies.
Environment minister Shannon Philips says the program will cost $21.5M and create 70 jobs. Ecofitt currently has 12 of their 14 job postings based in Alberta but of course the Director position of the Energy Efficiency Programs is based in Ontario. Our guess is the remainder 50+ jobs will be completed from Ontario.
Surely we would have hoped the robust oversight process outlined in Notley’s plan would have picked up on this lights out procurement process but typically these things get awarded to the lowest cost provider.
Too bad no one took into consideration the $21.5M heading out of the province with no tax benefit to Albertan’s or having all 70 additional jobs be awarded locally. And what about all the extra emissions that will be generated as Ecofitt manages the project from Ontario? I guarantee there would have been less airline travel if the company awarded was based in Alberta. But at least we are making money off the carbon tax *sigh. Not a very economic or green procurement choice.
What do you think? Should the NDP be outsourcing these projects outside Alberta? Do we need to reevaluate government procurement processes?
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