Heating change questions answered

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Puff of smoke . . . Woodburner restrictions will soon be in place in a bid to reduce air pollution in Timaru. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES

Woodburner rules are about to change for Timaru residents. ECan answers some of the community’s frequently asked questions in a bid to help them understand how the new rules apply to them. 

Q Why are these temporary waivers necessary?

“We have indicated that we will accommodate any delays beyond the control of the individual, such as those people waiting on building consent approval, waiting on a retailer or installer, or waiting on a home heating assessment from EnergySmart.

“Now we have identified that a small group of people may need a temporary waiver at the discretion of our home heating officers after a face-to-face meeting. After their temporary waiver agreement with ECan ends, an ultra-low emission woodburner or other non-emitting forms of heating needs to be used (e.g. heat pump).”

Q How do I know if I am eligible for a temporary waiver?

“If you or someone you care about have extenuating circumstances that mean you do not feel able to upgrade your woodburner at this time, you may be eligible for either a home heating subsidy or a temporary waiver agreement.”

Q I’m renting. How can you help me?

“If you think you have an older-style woodburner aged 15 years or more, talk with your landlord or, if you prefer, call us and we can talk to your landlord. Home heating subsidies of up to $5000 are also available for rental properties if the tenants meet the low-income criteria.”

Q What proof do I need to provide about my situation?

“It depends on your individual case, but some examples might include a medical certificate or proof of low income.”

Q What will Customer Services ask me?

“They will ask you some basic questions to ascertain your suitability for a temporary waiver (or a home heating subsidy). This will include your living situation, the type of heating you use and your reasons for not being able to upgrade your woodburner in time for next winter.”

Q Can I get a temporary waiver to install a low emission woodburner?

“No. After the end of October 2017, lodging a building consent for a low emission woodburner is no longer an option if your woodburner is expired.”

Q How long do I have to get a temporary waiver? Do I have to do it now?

“Contact us between now and winter 2018.”

Q Can I use my non-compliant woodburner while I’m waiting for an agreement to be signed?

“Hopefully you won’t need to light up your woodburner too often in the warmer months of the year, but if you do, yes.”

Q What happens if my agreement is terminated?

If terminated, you would need to stop using your non-compliant woodburner and find an alternative heating source.