Rob Ferguson
Toronto Star
February 25, 2009

Ontario residents won’t be able to sell their houses or condos without first getting a home energy audit – which now costs about $300 – under the proposed new Green Energy Act.

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That’s one of several measures in the legislation unveiled by Energy Minister George Smitherman to boost incentives for electricity conservation and encourage renewable sources of energy.

The legislation was applauded by environmentalists as ambitious, although the David Suzuki Foundation says its green intent is undermined by government plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Darlington.

But critics fear the energy audits and Smitherman’s estimated 1 per cent rise in household electricity bills as a result of the law will pinch pocketbooks as the recession deepens.

“It’ll be used to beat down the seller of a home,” Progressive Conservative MPP and energy critic John Yakabuski warned of the audit, which would put detailed information on a home’s energy efficiency into the hands of buyers.

Toronto homeowners are already concerned about the impact the city’s new land transfer tax – in addition to the provincial one – is having on sales and prices. Both taxes add up to thousands of dollars even on cheaper houses.

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