The Smart Cities Challenge
On June 1, Bridgewater was revealed to be one of only five finalists for Infrastructure Canada’s $5 million Smart Cities Challenge prize. Bridgewater will receive $250,000 to go towards creating a final proposal, with the aim of reducing energy poverty in Bridgewater. A great team effort by town residents, staff, and local supporting organizations has enabled us to move toward achieving our target of lifting 20% of Bridgewater residents out of energy poverty. Over the next several months, Town staff and Council members will be connecting with the community to create our final proposal. We invite you to stay connected through social media and the Town’s website to learn about how you can participate in Bridgewater’s campaign to End Energy Poverty.
For more on the Smart Cities Challenge and ideas from other communities, click here.
Eliminating Energy Poverty Through Clean Energy
Bridgewater’s Challenge Statement: Our community will lift 20% of its residents out of energy poverty by 2028.
What is energy poverty?
Energy poverty is a debilitating problem in our community, as it is for many communities across Canada. A widely accepted definition of energy poverty is when a household spends more than 10% of its income on energy to heat and power the home (electricity, fuel oil, propane, firewood, etc.), as well as for the fuel it needs for its routine commutes.
Why is energy poverty such an important issue in Bridgewater?
Our best available evidence suggests that 2 in 5 residents (40%) experience some form of energy poverty either as a chronic condition or periodically as the household balance sheet fares better or worse depending on its income prospects and its health and social needs. Energy poverty is also closely linked to housing poverty. Living in energy poverty profoundly impacts the wellbeing of individuals and families. The Town of Bridgewater, and its many community partners, have documented physical and mental health impacts, social challenges, and financial hardships among individuals and families living in energy poverty.
While charitable and government poverty relief services exist, there is broad agreement across the community service sector that existing services are unable to address the magnitude of the problem, and are failing to address the structural and systemic causes of energy and housing poverty. The problem also appears to be getting worse as energy prices continue to rise and incomes remain stagnant.
Supportive Partners (Click on link for letter of support)
For further reading on energy poverty and affordable housing in Bridgewater and Nova Scotia, visit the links below:
South Shore Housing Action Coalition: Housing Needs Assessment https://sshac.wordpress.com/housing-needs-assessment/South
Solving Nova Scotia's Electricity Pricing Problem: Energy Affordability vs Rising Electricity Prices https://ecologyaction.ca/issue-area/energy-issues-publications