Return of green rebate at Gaz Métro - Financial assistance increases to $1,250 this year



    MONTREAL, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Gaz Métro is pleased to announce the
return of its 'green rebate' from March 5 to June 1, 2007. The additional
$1,250 in financial assistance is aimed at facilitating conversions from oil
to natural gas - a cleaner and more affordable energy. The added 'bonus' comes
from the Assistance Account for the Substitution of Pollutant Energy Sources
(known as CASEP), which was created at the request of the Régie de l'énergie.
    By combining the green rebate with the other programs Gaz Métro's new
customers can save up to 45% on the cost of the conversion, including the
purchase of a new, high energy-efficient heating unit.

    Natural gas - a competitive energy

    All sources of energy are subject to price increases. Just think about
oil, whose price has seen significant increases in recent years, or the recent
increases in electricity rates. Currently, in the residential market, natural
gas is 15-20% cheaper than oil(1).

    To make it green, you need blue

    Natural gas, combined with energy efficiency programs, turns out to be
the ideal solution for replacing more polluting fuels like oil, which emits
50% more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than natural gas. As well, natural gas is the
solution of choice for better air quality and for combating phenomena such as
smog and acid rain, since its use as a replacement for oil greatly helps
reduce the principal atmospheric contaminants.
    As well as encouraging the use of a cleaner energy source, Gaz Métro
offers oil users who would like to convert to natural gas a whole range of
programs, financial assistance, tips and advice for saving energy and for
increasing the energy efficiency of their home.

    Here are the recommendations to renovators from Gaz Métro:

    
    1. Install a new heating unit with a helping hand from Gaz Métro.

    To assist renovators, Gaz Métro recommends calling one of Gaz Métro's
Authorized Partners to install a new natural gas central heating system. They
are trained and accredited by Gaz Métro and respect high quality standards.
They also offer Gaz Métro's financial assistance(2), which varies from $900 to
$1,400, depending on the type of unit chosen. Gaz Métro offers additional
financial assistance to those who opt for a heating system that is certified
ENERGY STAR(R).

    2. Install high efficiency natural gas appliances.

    To add luxury and comfort to the home, take advantage of the visit from a
Gaz Métro Authorized Partner to install high efficiency natural gas appliances
such as a stove, fireplace, BBQ, dryer or water heater. They will increase the
resale value of the home, as well as the comfort of the occupants.

    3. Evaluate the home's energy efficiency - a good start to effective
       renovations.

    The Agence de l'efficacité énergétique offers its Energy Evaluation
service to homeowners, whether they use electricity, natural gas or oil. The
evaluation includes a visit from an energy expert before the renovation work
to conduct a complete energy analysis of the house. If, by the second visit,
the recommended renovations on the building's envelope have been followed, the
Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) will then pay new Gaz Métro customers $1 per
cubic metre of natural gas saved as a result of the improvements made. For the
average home, this assistance can represent savings of about 740m3 or $740.

    Live the blue

    In Québec, the number of homes converting to natural gas has been
constantly growing in recent years, increasing from 544 in 2002 to 1,181 in
2006. New residential construction projects added about 5,000 homes to the
natural gas system in 2006. More than 110,000 families have opted for this
secure source of energy, along with about 900 schools, 200 CEGEP and
university buildings, 900 health care institutions and about 5,000 companies.

    Gaz Métro at a glance

    With more than $2.7 billion of assets and over 1,500 employees in Québec,
Gaz Métro is a leading Québec energy company and one of the largest natural
gas distributors in Canada. It serves some 167,000 customers in Québec through
its approximately 10,000-km underground system, while a subsidiary, Vermont
Gas Systems, serves some 38,000 customers.

    (1) Based on rates in effect on March 1, 2007.
    (2) For owners of a home located on the Gaz Métro gas distribution
        system.


    Example of the average cost of replacing an oil heating system by a high
    energy-efficient natural gas heating system
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Superior          Superior
                                               energy            energy
    Example of average       High energy       -efficient        -efficient
     cost for converting     -efficient        steel             cast-iron
     a central heating       warm air          hot water         hot water
     unit to natural gas     system            system            system
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Connection to gas
     distribution system
     (approx. value $3,500)      Free              Free              Free
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Average cost of
     purchasing and
     installing a
     natural gas unit
    (including labor
     and materials)             $5,690            $7,700            $8,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rebate on purchase
     and installation
     of a central
     heating unit               - $900          - $1,100          - $1,400
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Financial incentive
     for purchasing a
     high efficiency
     unit that reduces
     energy consumption
     (certified
     ENERGY STAR(R))            - $450            - $700           -  $700
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total average cost          $4,340            $5,900            $5,900
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Green rebate when
     heating unit
     replaced used oil        - $1,250         -  $1,250          - $1,250
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total average cost
     when heating unit
     replaced used oil          $3,090            $4,650            $4,650
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    




For further information:

For further information: Frédéric Krikorian, Public Affairs Advisor, Gaz
Métro, (514) 598-3449, fkrikorian@gazmetro.com


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