Power to the PeopleThinking (and rethinking) energy poverty in British Columbia, CanadabyMaryam RezaeiB.Sc., University of Calgary, 2009A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENTOF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDoctor of PhilosophyinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES(Resource Management and Environmental Studies)The University of British Columbia(Vancouver)August 2017c Maryam Rezaei, 2017AbstractEnergy poverty, or the experience of struggling to meet one’s energy needs, is increasingly the subject ofattention in Canada— though no established definition for it exists and the definitions that are used oftenobscure its connections with the systemic processes that create it. In this dissertation, I situate energypoverty as a justice issue and operationalize various understandings of justice (distributive, procedural,recognition-based and restorative) to discuss how energy poverty may be conceptualized in the settler-colonial context of Canada, and, indeed, how different conceptualization reveal different processes ofits creation, as well as different approaches to addressing it.Based on empirical work with two First Nations communities in British Columbia (Musqueam andTsay Keh Dene), I outline the unfolding of energy poverty in BC amidst a constructed narrative ofenergy plenty, which aims to expand the reach of the extractive energy industry in the province. Indoing so, I link specific energy planning processes that create precarious energy access, with mundanedetails of how energy poverty manifests itself in household practices that use energy. This linking of theexperience of those who experience energy poverty and energy planning processes that create it revealsnot only how industrial energy demand in BC is privileged over residential energy use broadly, but alsohow the energy demands of off-grid indigenous communities such as Tsay Keh are deemed ‘artificialand illegitimate in the community energy planning process.This ethnographic work (including surveys, interviews, energy mapping exercises and energy ana-lytics) is complemented with a statistical analysis of data from Statistics Canadas Survey of HouseholdSpending. This analysis highlights patterns in energy poverty across Canada and demonstrates a gapbetween the experience of energy poverty and the design and targeting of the residential energy retrofitprograms that aim to address it. I conclude by making a series of recommendations for those whofight for energy justice, including the development of community-based energy programming (e.g. deepiiretrofits and community renewable projects) and broadening the scope of energy poverty alleviationprograms from a focus on low-income households to include lower-middle class households as well.iiiLay SummaryIn this dissertation, I look at the experience of households and communities that struggle with meetingtheir energy needs. This experience is referred to as ‘energy poverty’ and I investigate it here fromseveral perspectives, including spending a disproportionately large part of ones income on paying forelectricity and heat, having to compromise on comfort, cleanliness and convenience, and feeling ex-cluded from energy planning processes that shape a communitys energy future.I, then, link this experience with resource planning paradigms and moments in energy planningpractices that privilege some energy demands over others in British Columbia. Then, drawing uponwork with Tsay Keh Dene and Musqueam Nations (two communities that experience and manage en-ergy poverty differently), I explore two approaches (developing community energy projects and doinghousehold energy retrofits) to addressing energy poverty.ivPrefaceThis dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Maryam Rezaei. The fieldwork re-ported in Chapters 4-6 was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate numbers H11-00009, H12-03044, andH12-00071. Some of the interview materials presented in Chapter 4 also appear in Rezaei, M andDowlatabadi, H (2015). I designed the study described in this paper, conducted the research, analyzedthe material and wrote the paper. Hadi Dowalatabadi provided editorial and supervisory feedback onthe various stages of that work.vTable of ContentsAbstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiLay Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ivPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vTable of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viList of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viiiList of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ixAcknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.1 Energy poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61.2 Outlining this dissertation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81.3 A note on terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122.1 (Environmental) justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172.2 What we talk about when we talk about justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192.2.1 Distributive and recognition-based notions of justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212.2.2 Procedural justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222.2.3 Critiques of recognition and questions of self-determination . . . . . . . . . . 232.2.4 Restorative justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282.2.5 Concluding thoughts on (environmental) justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292.3 The opposite of (energy) poverty is (energy) justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312.4 A relational social practice — or notes on how various pieces of this thesis fit together 352.5 Social practice theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383 Poverty and Energy Poverty: Who Suffers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463.2 Defining energy poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 473.3 Energy poverty and income poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 493.4 Energy poverty models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 533.5 Conclusion: energy poverty in Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56vi4 Nobody is Cold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 574.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 574.2 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 594.2.1 Social practice theory and inequality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 594.2.2 A language of access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 634.3 Tsay Keh and energy access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 664.3.1 Meeting energy service needs in Tsay Keh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 674.4 How people do things or a note on methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 714.5 How people do things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 734.5.1 Laundry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 734.5.2 Heating their homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 814.5.3 The third ingredient: electricity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 884.6 Vulnerability, resilience and living with precariousness: lessons from Tsay Keh . . . . 934.7 Conclusions: energy poverty in Tsay Keh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 975 Tension in the Wires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1005.1 The industry that never comes: energy planning and provision in BC, 1960-1985 . . . 1035.2 The so-called beautiful Williston lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1085.3 Tension in the wires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1175.3.1 The beginnings of the Williston reservoir biomass project . . . . . . . . . . . 1185.3.2 Relational (energetic) encounters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1215.3.3 Renewables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1245.3.4 Demand projections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1265.3.5 Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1285.4 Lessons from engagement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1325.5 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1356 Structural Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1396.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1396.2 Insights from the residential retrofit literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1406.3 ECAP, an overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1436.3.1 Program objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1446.4 Overview of our work in Musqueam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1456.4.1 Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1476.5 Energy poverty in Musqueam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1486.5.1 Energy bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1486.5.2 Psychological stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1496.5.3 Shame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1516.6 Evaluating ECAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1536.6.1 Energy use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1536.6.2 ‘So, Hydro recommends’: energy advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1576.6.3 What’s it good for, then? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1616.7 Concluding thoughts on designing better ECAPs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1647 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1727.1 In lieu of policy recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183viiList of TablesTable 3.1 Median expenditure on household energy services as percentage of net income (byprovince) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48Table 3.2 Energy poverty rates (percentage of population in energy poverty) and numbers ineach province . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49Table 3.3 Before tax LICO values for the year 2011 (Statistics Canada, 2015a) . . . . . . . . 50Table 3.4 Percentage of Canadian population struggling with poverty and/or energy poverty . 51Table 3.5 Percentage of households in different demographic categories according to theirplacement in the 2 x 2 matrix of low-income and energy poverty . . . . . . . . . . 52Table 3.6 Percentage of households in different housing tenure categories according to theirplacement in the 2 x 2 matrix of low-income and energy poverty . . . . . . . . . . 53Table 3.7 Logistic models of energy poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54Table 4.1 Access to electricity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69Table 4.2 Access to propane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70Table 4.3 Access to wood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72Table 4.4 Examples of how people explain their use of cold water for laundry as means ofeconomizing the use of propane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76Table 4.5 Examples of people invoking habits and normality as explanation for doing laundryin cold water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78Table 4.6 Examples of reasons for preferring wood heat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83Table 5.1 Rating of priority developments with equal cost as the purchase of new generatorsfor the community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132Table 6.1 Participation in ECAP. Data from BC Hydro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144Table 6.2 Incomes for ECAP and Control groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148Table 6.3 Electricity and gas use for reference periods in 2011 for ECAP and Control groups . 148Table 6.4 Median values for percent of household income spent on energy services (The valuesfor Vancouver, BC and Canada are from the 2011 cycle of Survey of HouseholdSpending) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149Table 6.5 Coefficients from regression model described by Equation 6.2 (N=56) . . . . . . . 154Table 6.6 Coefficients from regression model described by Equation 6.3 (N=52) . . . . . . . 157viiiList of FiguresFigure 1.1 Image from BC Hydro’s 2013 IRP projecting future electricity demands . . . . . . 3Figure 3.1 Energy poverty and distance from poverty line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51Figure 4.1 Main source of heat among Tsay Keh households . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70Figure 4.2 Main source of for water heaters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71Figure 4.3 Monthly propane costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75Figure 4.4 Water temperature and the rationale for its use by age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79Figure 4.5 Water temperature and the rationale for its use by age and pathway of access to hotwater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80Figure 4.6 Subjective ratings of thermal comfort vs. living room temperature . . . . . . . . . 87Figure 4.7 Reasons given for saving electricity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90Figure 5.1 Image from BCHydro’s 2013 IRP projecting future electricity demands (BC Hydro,2013, 2-2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107Figure 5.2 Electricity transactions under RCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126Figure 5.3 Electricity transactions with the community biomass project and RCE. Note thatthe reported values of 60 and 30 cents/kwhr are average values used for purposes ofpreliminary calculations. Actual EPA terms are confidential, where EPAs exist. . . 126Figure 6.1 Finding one’s home warm enough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150Figure 6.2 Energy poverty by indicator used . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151Figure 6.3 Psychological stress about utility bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152Figure 6.4 Weather-corrected gas use before and after ECAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155Figure 6.5 Electricity use before and after ECAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157Figure 6.6 Recollections of advice received during audits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160ixAcknowledgementsI’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to spend nearly 7 years thinking about and learninginteresting things. Much of this thinking and learning happened outside of the academy (as it alwaysdoes), but a PhD is a good thing to say you’re doing while you’re huddled over a laptop reading theinternet. I’m grateful for the people and institutions that made this possible:First and foremost, I’m grateful to Musqueam and Tsay Keh Dene Nations for welcoming me intotheir territories (doubly so for Musqueam lands on which UBC sits), tolerating my annoying questions,and teaching me all the things. In particular, none of this would have happened without Chief Izony inTsay Keh, the Housing Department in Musqueam and my kind, patient and funny research assistants,Wayne Campbell, Burton Pierre, and Vera Izony.I’m also incredibly thankful to my supervisory committee: My supervisor, Hadi Dowlatabadi, forputting up with years of me not listening to him (and jokes aside, for the financial, emotional, andintellectual support). And my committee members, Terre Satterfield, for the incisive feedback and thequirky turns of phrase, and Baruch Fischhoff for saying very few things, all of them very on point. I’malso grateful for every nudge and push from Leila Harris in the environmental justice direction.Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Peter Wall Solutions Initiative, and the Cen-ter for Energy and Climate Decision Making have generously supported various parts of my work,allowing me to eat, pay the rent and buy books.The Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) gave me a home from whichto do the kind of interdisciplinary work you can’t squeeze into any other department. I’m grateful forthis home, and the wonderful staff and students at IRES that make it so. I’m forever indebted to mycolleagues Sylvia Coleman, Johnnie Manson, Jana Kotaska for helping me think through tough things,and Sonja Wilson for explaining many technical things to me (and also for writing a fantastic reportxon Tsay Keh’s biomass project without which Chapter 5 of this dissertation would have been infinitelymore difficult to write).I’m grateful for the weekly reminders from the Humanities 101 program, during two dark years ofthis PhD affair, of the fact that education can actually be interesting, relevant, challenging, and empow-ering. I’m so honoured to have been a part of this program.I’m also lucky to have made some of the kindest, funnest and most brilliant friends over the courseof this PhD. I have learnt so much and felt so much thanks to Angela Eykelbosh, Brian Just, Tee Lim,Cynthia Morinville, Olivia Freeman, Marleen de Ruiter, Sara Elder (and Sylvia, Johnnie and Jana,again). An unreasonable amount of my happiness and sanity is completely dependent on my bookclubpeople, Raji Mangat, Allie Slemon, Michelle Turner, Alyssa Stryker (and honourary member for lifeDarlene Seto).And of course, the people without whom I would cease to function (like, materially, emotionally,financially, intellectually, cardiovascularly, nutritionally, horticulturally, thoroughly, forcefully, abruptly,endlessly, absurdly. . . ): Maman, Alyssa, Darlene, Mo, and Simon.xiChapter 1IntroductionOn September 27th 2016, Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, JimCarr, the Minister of Natural Resources, and Dominic LeBlanc, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans andthe Canadian Coast Guard flew to Vancouver, where they were joined by the British Columbia Pre-miere, Christy Clark, to hurriedly announce the federal government’s approval of the Pacific NorthwestLiquified Natural Gas (LNG) project, owned in majority by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas. Duringthe press question period, a woman, holding a jar of salmon, wearing a cedar hat and a blanket with anindigenous crest stepped to the front, interrupting the moderator:Moderator: [Simultaneous with Christine] We’ll take one more question from the floor,from the press please, who are here to ask questions.Christine: A question here - My name is Christine Smith-Martin and I’m from Gitwilgy-oots of the Lax Kw’alaams and my question is to you [Moderator: We’re taking questionsfrom the press, we’re running out of time here. Thank you very much]: the salmon thatwe’re talking about in our community is a very important piece and you’re not addressingthe salmon. [Journalist starts asking her question] What about our salmon in our commu-nity? Answer the question. Our chiefs are out in Ottawa right now, waiting for you guys.Journalist: [identifies herself, but the recording is inaudible] A lot of people are not goingto be clearly satisfied with the process and with the decision made here. They’re threateningprotest. They’re already threatening legal action. How will you respond to that?1Christy Clark, who is also sporting a blazer with an indigenous crest (how many of these does shehave?), clarifies with someone that it’s she who should answer the question. Then, responds, facing thejournalist:Christy Clark: I will say, just like Site C, which is a clean energy project, which is goingto benefit our children for a generation with low cost clean energy, in an era where peopleare getting hungry for clean energy, it is impossible to move ahead with a major economicproject that has 100% support. But I will say with respect to this project, we worked forfive years with First Nations and communities around the North. And we worked on eco-nomic benefit agreements, employment agreements, ensuring that First Nations are a partof ensuring environmental sustainability and as a result of that work we have received, notunanimous, but overwhelming support from First Nations and other communities aroundthe country. [some one yells: what about our salmon?] And I think that sometimes govern-ments need to lead. And for us, leadership means moving ahead on projects that are goingto be environmentally sound [someone else yells: like (inaudible) residential schools?] andbenefit the people of British Columbia and ensure that we’re creating jobs and looking afterthe middle class in our province.Sometimes governments need to lead. In the case of the liquified natural gas industry, the cur-rent government of British Columbia has been leading hard to create an LNG industry in the province,purportedly to take the abundant supplies of gas in North Eastern BC to new markets in Asia. This ‘lead-ing’ goes on despite market conditions that at least in the medium term make economies of LNG exporthighly unfavourable (IEA, 2016). The Pacific Northwest LNG project which proposes to bring naturalgas from North Eastern British Columbia to a liquefaction facility on LeLu island, is in fact, supportedby the government of British Columbia in multiple ways. For one, as part of a deal struck betweenPetronas and the BC government (and also applicable to other LNG facilities), future governments, for25 years, are required to compensate the industry if they raise income tax rates for LNG operations, or ifthey reduce the current subsidies to the gas industry (e.g. natural gas tax credits), add carbon taxes thatsingle out the industry, or if they make changes to GHG emission regulations that financially affect theindustry (Province of British Columbia and Pacific North West Limited Partnership, 2015, see). Muchof the risk in the development of the industry is, then, transferred to BC publics.2But the government of British Columbia’s support for the LNG goes even further with implicationsfor the provincial energy policy more broadly. More specifically, the government’s support of the LNGindustry goes as far as promising a cheap supply of hydroelectricity. The provincial electric utility com-pany, BC Hydro is, therefore, left to increase its supply capacity to accommodate the expected increasein provincial electricity demand. BC Hydro’s latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) (2013), in fact, ex-plicitly plans for meeting LNG demands (see Figure 1.1), noting that the LNG industry will probablymeet its compression needs by burning natural gas rather than using electricity. It nonetheless antici-pates 3,000 GWh/year of increased energy demand for non-compressive loads corresponding to about360 MW of peak demand by 2020 (BC Hydro, 2013, 2-2). To contextualize these values, the contestedSite C hydroelectric project that Christy Clark mentions in her response above is expected to produceabout 5,100GWh/year of electricity each year. In other words, about 60% of Site C’s expected annualoutput is being earmarked for the LNG industry. Site C, again, represents a 9 billion dollar investmentby the BC publics, mostly to meet the demands of an industry that the government is courting.Figure 1.1: Image from BC Hydro’s 2013 IRP projecting future electricity demandsMost importantly, in the case of Site C, these expenses are directly financed by BC Hydro rate pay-ers, who have seen an increase of 20% on their electricity bills over the past 3 years and will continue to3see price increases in the future. The impact of these rate increases on those who are already strugglingwith paying energy bills receives little attention in the discourse around energy development in BC, evenas it’s being actively exacerbated by provincial energy policy. Energy poverty, or the experience of hav-ing a hard time in meeting one’s energy needs, affected 16% of British Columbians in 2011(see Chapter3), and though statistical data for the past few years reflecting the electricity price increases is not yetavailable, it is expected that the number of those who experience energy poverty has grown and willcontinue to grow. Yet, even as the concept of energy poverty is gaining ground in the Canadian energypolicy discourse (see, for example, recent publications by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives(Lee et al., 2011) and the Fraser Institute (Green et al., 2016)), it is rarely discussed in the context of (oras a consequence of) particular energy planning and extraction processes.I open this Introduction chapter with the announcement of the federal approval of this LNG projectto highlight its links with electricity planning in BC and the effects on incidences of energy povertyof an approach to electricity policy that prioritizes industrial energy demand. However, this approachis more than a contemporary problem in BC. Prioritizing industrial electricity demand, particularlyfor extractive industries that do not yet exist in the province (and often never materialize), has a longhistory in British Columbia. Starting in the post-war period, the government of British Columbia haspursued an economic development agenda which has aimed to attract extractive capital to the provinceand enticing it to process its extractions locally by promising a cheap supply of electricity (as well aseasy access to markets). This provincial approach to electricity planning has had important implicationsfor BC’s electricity sector, including the glut of electricity in 80’s, which ultimately led to reforms inthe sector through the creation of the BC Utilities commission. However, (whether tragedy or farce) thegovernment of British Columbia in recent years has returned to its old approach to electricity planning,so much so that the development of Site C dam, the first major dam to be constructed in the provincesince the completion of the Revelstoke dam in 1984, was exempted from a review by the UtilitiesCommission.I also open with this announcement because this LNG project and the Site C dam, which it ne-cessitates, are all part of the creation of a discourse of ‘energy plenty’ in British Columbia. In 2014,Canada was the world’s 4th largest producer of natural gas and 5th largest producer of crude oil (Nat-ural Resources Canada, 2015). While Alberta currently accounts for about 63% of all primary energyproduction in Canada, British Columbia comes second at about 14% of total primary energy produc-4tion(Natural Resources Canada, 2016). The government of British Columbia would certainly preferthat percentage to be higher, and actively works towards that outcome and the creation of an ‘energyplentiful’ BC. During the same announcement, for example, Christy Clark said that “British Columbiahas as much natural gas — as much energy stored under the earth in the northeast as Alberta does in itsoilfields.” Whether this statement is factually accurate or not (and it may or may not be depending onwhat you count as exctractable energy), it is part of the discourse of ‘energy plenty’ in BC, which aimsto grow the natural gas industry in the province (and electricity production along with it, to support itselectric demands). This ‘energy plenty,’ of course, is an interesting artifact in the context of the real‘energy poverty’ that it seems to create for some people in British Columbia.Both the Pacific North West LNG project and Site C have encountered heavy opposition within BC,including over the financial risks and burdens placed on the publics in their development. Oppositionto both projects, however, also includes a host of issues ranging from environmental concerns (Climatechange, earthquakes due to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and loss of significant salmon habitat in thecase of the LNG projects), to food security concerns (loss of significant salmon habitat and farmingland in the case of Site C) and to violation of indigenous rights (in both cases). Many First Nationscommunities along the path of pipelines that would transport this natural gas to the coast and treaty 8Nations whose lands are due to be flooded by the Site C dam are opposed to these developments. At thetime of writing, though both projects have received federal and provincial regulatory approvals (or whatstood in for provincial regulatory approval in the case of Site C), there are ongoing court challengesfrom First Nations communities impacted by the projects. The communities challenging these projectsare encouraged by the fact that the federal approval of another energy project with a significant footprintin BC – the Northern Gateway Project– was recently overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal dueto its failure to properly consult several First Nations communities impacted by the project. Whilethe outcome of these court challenges are interesting in their own rights (and certainly a much morevital matter for some communities), I mention the opposition of many First Nations communities tothese projects to highlight another key tension between the ‘energy plenty’ of British Columbia and its‘energy poverty’ — namely, that some of the most extreme forms of energy poverty in the province areexperienced by First Nations communities, particularly those who are remote (relative to my discursivelycentral position in Vancouver, but also to the materiality of roads and energy transmission infrastructure).5Energy poverty in BC, then, unfolds amidst a constructed narrative of energy plenty created toexpand the extractive energy industry in the province, and its parallel contentious energy policy madematerial (and resisted) in the forms of pipelines and dams. Investigating the colonial-extractivist policiesof ‘resource development’ and the ways that they have historically and contemporarily unfolded to createparticular patterns of energy access is at the core of studying energy poverty— if the goal of such a studyis indeed to highlight the systemic processes that bring it about, rather than presenting it as an isolatedproblem experienced by some individuals.1.1 Energy povertyWhen I started the research which eventually became this dissertation, ‘energy poverty’ was a termrarely used in the Canadian context. A few public advocacy organizations in different provinces used thephrase ‘energy poverty’, mainly focusing on the household energy burden faced by low-income peoplein Canada, as well as some in the energy efficiency community who were interested in using ‘energypoverty’ as a framework for their work. The only analysis of energy poverty, in fact, was a backgroundpaper to a conference organized by a small Ontario-based NGO, Green Communities Canada, entitled“Tackling energy poverty in Canada through energy efficiency” (Maynes, 2008). The background paperincluded a statistical analysis on energy expenditures in Canada, as well as some discussion of howenergy poverty may be defined using an expenditure based measure. The key question in using thisclass of definitions is where to draw the energy poverty threshold among the values for percentage ofhousehold incomes spent on energy services — a question which the aforementioned background paperraises, makes helpful suggestions on and then leaves open to discussion.Though the public discourse on energy access is still fairly limited, since Maynes’ (2008) back-ground paper, two of Canada’s most prominent policy think tanks have published reports on energypoverty. Purportedly occupying opposite sides of the political spectrum, the publications by both theFraser Institute (2016) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (2011) use the same expenditure-based definition of energy poverty, borrowed from the UK without attention to detail, and without en-gaging with the question of whether it is appropriate for Canada. While the United Kingdom has sincechanged its policy definition for energy poverty, there were a couple of elements of the former definitionwhich the analyses by the CCPA and the Fraser Institute neglected. First, is the choice of thresholdat 10% of household expenditure, which was originally set in the UK context as a relative measure of6poverty — in other words, the threshold was set at two times the national median, which happened tobe 10% in that context (Boardman, 2010). Using a similar approach for Canada would yield a thresh-old of between 6 and 7 percent of net household income beyond which a household may be said to beshouldering higher energy burdens (see chapter 3).Second, the UK definition served a particular purpose in the UK energy poverty context — it wasmostly a definition used for policy level calculations and decisions, and in fact, defined energy povertyas the experience of a household who would need to spend more than 10% of its income on meeting itsenergy needs, regardless of whether the household actually did or not. This ‘needing to’ spend stipula-tion meant that in practice determining how many households suffered from higher energy burdens wasdone through an energy modelling exercise paired with sociodemographic statistics (Boardman, 2010,pp. 4-5). Though there are certainly concerns with the ability of models to accurately capture house-hold behaviour, the ‘would need to’ clause has the benefit of potentially capturing households that maynot be heating their homes adequately in order to save money on their bills. In practice, for purposesof program implementation, such as determining eligibility for winter fuel subsidies, however, oftena measure of vulnerability was used (e.g. senior citizen or disability status, or the presence of youngchildren in the house).What is important to note is that different definitions of energy poverty can serve different functions.For the purpose of policy-level decisions, an actual expenditure based measure may be complementedwith subjective measures of household’s ability to maintain thermal comfort, avoiding the modellingexercise all together. For analytical examinations of how energy poverty comes about, it might still bemore appropriate to use an abstract qualitative definition (such as inability to meet one’s energy needs),or vary the unit of analysis from household to community-level. For examination of the ways in whichenergy poverty may affect people who experience it, it may indeed be more appropriate to allow them tohighlight facets of the experience rather than prematurely zeroing in on specific aspects like the abilityto maintain thermal comfort.This dissertation is the first academic exploration of energy poverty in Canada (as far as I’m aware).For this reason, I have deliberately worked with a fairly broad definition of energy poverty, and adaptedthe indicators that I use in discussing it to best suit the questions I address in each chapter. Throughoutthis dissertation, therefore, I use the terms ‘energy poverty’, ‘precarious energy access’, ‘experience ofhigher energy burdens’ and others like them interchangeably to broadly mean struggling with meeting7one’s energy needs. What counts as an energy need, what it means to struggle and what unit of analysisdoes ‘one’ refer to are, then, questions that I explore, rather than taking them as given.1.2 Outlining this dissertationIn the following chapter, I present a review of the literature on energy poverty and construct a theoreticalframework, based on theories of justice for discussions of energy poverty and more broadly energyjustice in Canada. This framework starts with Walker’s (2012) simple anatomy of a justice claim as away of organizing the material in this dissertation. This framework suggests that a justice claim shouldbe composed of a description of an inequality, a discussion of how that inequality affects those whoexperience it (or why that matters) and an analysis of how it comes about. To this suggestion I adda fourth element: some discussion of what justice in the context of addressing that inequality mightlook like. In doing so, I include discussions of some of the policy instruments used for addressingenergy poverty and some that perhaps should be. Next, in chapter 3, I present an overview of the trendsin energy poverty in Canada using a relative and expenditure-based definition and data from StatisticsCanada’s Survey of Household Spending. Then, having outlined some of the trends in energy povertyacross the Canadian Provinces1, I go on to analyze energy poverty and its relationship with incomepoverty.Beyond the overview of energy poverty across Canada that I present in Chapter 3, I discuss energypoverty and justice in the specific context of British Columbia, and more specifically grounded in workcompleted in collaboration with two First Nations communities in BC — Tsay Keh Dene, an off-gridcommunity, and Musqueam, a community with access to the electricity grid and natural gas distributionnetworks. My work with these communities was inspired by my supervisor’s existing relationships withthese communities and in each community it evolved to reflect the community’s particular interests andenergy pain points. In Musqueam, households were experiencing high energy burdens; So the projectthat we designed aimed at improving the energy performance of the homes. Tsay Keh was in the midstof designing its own community renewable energy project, and understanding household consumptionwas key to its ability to develop an energy forecast that the various parties involved in the project could1the 2011 cycle of the Household spending survey which I used for my analysis does not include the northern territories.This was the last cycle I had access to at the start of my analysis. The 2012 cycle became available during the course ofmy analysis. However, though conducted in the territories, it did not use measures that are consistent with the provinces andtherefore excluded the territories from the dataset, again. I continued using the 2011 cycle.8agree to; my work in Tsay Keh, therefore, focused on understanding household practices that use energy.The two communities and their differing locations in networks of energy infrastructure also pre-sented interesting perspectives on the role of energy infrastructure in shaping the dynamics of energypoverty in the context of the provincial energy policy. It is my hope that in grounding this work in thespecifics of these communities I will be able to not only shed light on some of the more severe cases ofenergy poverty but also reveal the processes that produce energy poverty in British Columbia (perhapsnot just for First Nations communities, but for settler communities as well) as processes that are deeplyenmeshed with the colonial-extractivist pursuits which form the backbone of the government of BC’seconomic development and energy policies.I suggested that First Nations communities, particularly those that live in off-grid communities tendto experience some of the most severe forms of energy poverty. However, the extent of energy povertyin Northern and First Nations communities is largely unknown for both on and off-grid communities.Neither Statistics Canada, nor Natural Resources Canada or Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada(INAC), which is often responsible for funding energy infrastructure and fuel in the case of remotecommunities, collect data on energy use on reserve. In BC, while some Nations have collected some ofthis data in support of particular energy projects, different data collection methodologies are often usedincluding varying timeframes for the data collected, and different foci on residential and/or commercialfacilities. Furthermore, the collating of this data, even if it existed in a consistent format, would requirethe consent and collaboration of many Nations. As a result, the extent of the problem remains poorlyunderstood. What is known, however, is that electricity costs in remote communities in Canada are be-tween 3 and 10 times higher than grid-connected electricity (Weis et al., 2008; Rezaei and Dowlatabadi,2015). And where propane is used for heating, it costs up to 10 times what natural gas costs per unit ofenergy (see Chapter 4). All of this does not even take into account the fact that appliances, on reserve,tend to be less energy efficient (see Chapter 6), meaning that to achieve the same level of service, moreenergy must be consumed in the first place. My other hope is that this dissertation, in documenting thestate of energy access in Tsay Keh and Musqueam, can provide some evidence of the claim that FirstNations communities experience some of the most severe forms of energy poverty.The empirical chapters that follow attempt to do the following: Chapter 4 documents modes ofenergy access in Tsay Keh, describing the relatively high burden of accessing energy services in thiscommunity, while discussing how this inequality in energy access affects the lives of families in Tsay9Keh. This chapter uses a theoretical framework which sees energy as an ingredient of many householdpractices and documents the ways in which trouble in accessing energy as part of these practices requiresacrificing comfort, convenience, cleanliness and also often, dignity. Chapter 5 presents an overviewof BC energy policy starting in the 1950s and into the mid 80s which directly shapes specific facetsof energy poverty in Tsay Keh. It then turns to the contemporary question of addressing this energypoverty in line with community desires for a community renewable energy project and discusses howcurrent energy planning practices of the provincial electric utility company continue to reinforce TsayKeh’s energy poverty. Chapter 6 presents a brief description of the ways in which energy poverty isexperienced in Musqueam and discusses the use of household energy efficiency retrofits as a commonpolicy tool for addressing energy poverty. In evaluating the process of delivering energy efficiencyretrofits to households in Musqueam as part of the BC Hydro Energy Conservation Assistance Program(ECAP) this chapter also demonstrates the limitations of such programs in addressing higher energyburdens.1.3 A note on terminologyThere are a few terms that I should clarify before beginning this dissertation in earnest. First is theterm poverty, which I view as fundamentally a matter of relative disadvantage. I do not mean to sug-gest that there is no material core to the experience of poverty (indeed, the material survival of manyindividuals and households in poverty is at stake in this discussion). Rather, I consider this securingof material survival a particular problem, only because it affects some, while others live lives of plentyand profligacy. Poverty and energy poverty, then, are problems (from a justice perspective) preciselybecause some people do not have access to what is socially and materially necessary to go on living livesof full participation and dignity in their communities. Access to resources (energy included) not onlyhelp ensure material survival, but also allow participation in activities that make up social life. Differentchapters of this dissertation, in fact, shed light on some of the ways in which struggling to access energyservices affect people’s ability to perform the living of lives that are deemed socially acceptable, free ofstigma, and full of dignity. The Theory chapter (Chapter 2), expands on this idea, but for now suffice itto say that when I say poverty, I mean poverty in relative terms.Next is the matter of some of the more technical terms I use to talk about energy. Energy, is theability to perform work, stored in energy carriers, such as propane, natural gas, electricity, and coal.10This ability may be unleashed through various conversion processes to yield energy services, which arethings like hot water, refrigeration, and lighting. Energy efficiency is a term that describes how muchof the stored energy was converted to the desired service, rather than wasted.And last on this eclectic list of terminology clarification is the set of terms I use to talk about theindigenous people of Turtle Island (north America). In Canada, First Nations is the term most com-monly used to refer to indigenous people who live south of the Arctic circle. I use both ‘First Nations’and ‘indigenous’ to refer to these groups of people. When speaking about their political organizationin communities, I use the term Nation — and when specifically talking about governments elected onbiannual cycles under the Canadian Indian Act, I use terms like ‘‘nation’s elected government” or bandcouncil government. Some of my interviews refer to this entity as the band, and this term appears inmy text, on occasion, particularly when someone else uses the term.The relationship between various Nations (or rather ‘band council governments’ as things that some-times represent Nation’s interests and are predominately responsible to their members, but also underthe Indian Act, to the government of Canada) and the Canadian federal government is managed throughthe ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). However, in the years that I havebeen working on this dissertation, this ministry has gone by three different names: Indian and North-ern Affairs Canada (also INAC), and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)under the Conservative government, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) under theLiberal government. I use the latter term in this text for the sake of being consistent, however, whenmy interviewees refer to them, I’ve kept whatever acronym they used (I do so because this constantname changing says a lot about the way settler-colonial Canada struggles with its relationship with theindigenous nations whose territories it occupies and because I enjoy the opportunity to draw attentionto this fact).11Chapter 2TheoryThe earliest investigations of energy poverty in OECD countries define it as a situation where a house-hold would have to spend more than 10% of its income on maintaining comfortable temperatures intheir homes. In fact, the UK, which remains one of only three European countries to have an officialdefinition of energy poverty and policy directives for its eradication (Thomson and Snell, 2013), untilvery recently relied on this definition in its estimations of the severity and extent of energy poverty. Itdefined comfortable temperatures as 21 C for the main living area and 18 C for other rooms. Thesevalues, though arbitrary, seem to have been taken from a range recommended in a WHO (1987) reporton requirements for thermal comfort (Hills, 2012). However, the normative and quantified notion ofcomfort employed in this class of definitions, not only relies on data that is now 30 years old, but alsocontradicts field reports of temperatures and conditions in which people report being comfortable (seeShove, 2003, for a discussion). Furthermore, the thermodynamic energy modelling that determines theamount and cost of energy used is based on estimation of heating requirement for ‘typical’ households,in particular climates, with particular patterns of occupancy. It also ignores the multitude of ways inwhich people’s interactions with their built environment diverges from the technical conditions envi-sioned at the design stage of this built environment. Even more important, still, is the fact that thisconception of energy use and energy poverty takes no account of the experience of the ‘condition’ ittries to quantify.In practice, most studies of energy poverty that operationalize this class of definitions (see Board-man, 2010; Healy and Clinch, 2002; Santamouris et al., 2007, for example) consider actual householdenergy expenditures rather than relying on arbitrary estimations and calculations (Healy, 2004). How-12ever, relying on energy expenditures obscures the experience of those who, for example, intentionallyheat their homes to lower than comfortable temperatures in order to manage their bills. In fact, empir-ical studies show this group to be particularly difficult to identify for policy implementation purposes(Dubois, 2012). Attempting to capture these experiences, more recent studies of energy poverty use sub-jective and consensual (Townsend, 1962) measures such as ratings of households’ ability to keep theirhomes at a comfortable temperature (Healy, 2004; Thomson and Snell, 2013). However, there is gen-erally poor overlap reported between the expenditure-based measures and the subjective ones (Dubois,2012; Fahmy et al., 2011; Scott et al., 2008; Price et al., 2012).Regardless of the measures used in quantifying the experience (and the robustness of these mea-sures) this earlier literature was predominately concerned with identifying the socio-demographic groupsmost vulnerable to the experience of energy poverty, and the “determinants” of this experience. Energypoverty in this literature was conceptualized as the interaction between energy prices, low incomes andhousehold energy efficiency (Boardman, 1991). Though policy was an ever present fixture in this lit-erature, the understanding of energy poverty underpinning most of these studies implicitly seems to bean apolitical one where energy poverty is often presented as a techno-economic problem with techno-economic solutions.A shift from the techno-economic conceptualization of energy poverty began when a number ofmore recent studies expanded discussions around its “determinants” and conceptualization to includeissues of access to networks of infrastructure and regulatory and governance regimes that create un-equal energy access in the first place. The work of a number of geographers, Stefan Bouzarovski’sin particular, have highlighted the role of access to infrastructure like the natural gas network (Buzar,2007a; Harrison, 2010), and the policy and regulatory regimes within which the provision of energy ser-vices take place (Buzar, 2007b; Bouzarovski et al., 2012). Collectively, these more recent studies pointto governance questions and in exploring them attempt shifting analytical levels from the household toquestions of governance and regulation.Starting with discussions around the inclusion of subjective measures of energy poverty, a parallelstream of the literature began engaging with the experience of the households grappling with the prob-lems of precarious energy access. Though, there are few qualitative studies that take account of the livedexperience of energy poverty (Middlemiss and Gillard, 2015), studies such as those by Anderson et al.(2012), Harrington et al. (2005) and Brunner and Spitzer (2011) have investigated the coping strategies13employed by households living in cold homes. Documenting the increasingly more desperate measurestaken by households experiencing energy poverty, these studies predominately focus on the experienceof feeling cold and the ways in which households manage it. There are, however a few curious absencesin these studies. One is the absence of investigations into ways in which energy poverty is experiencedat home beyond the experience of the cold. The exclusive focus on ‘feeling cold’, and its health im-plications leaves the literature curiously silent on manifestations of energy poverty at home beyond theexperience of the cold. Certainly, the experience of the cold, is an important manifestation of the prob-lem of precarious energy access, however we may wonder if there are other manifestations of precariousenergy access that the literature is not exploring and what the implications of this absence might be onunderstandings of energy poverty.A further absence in the qualitative studies of energy poverty is the integration of the discussionsaround understanding energy not as a commodity but in terms of the services it provides. While explor-ing the manifestations of energy poverty in households’ experiences of maintaining thermal comfortis indeed reflective of an understanding of energy in terms of a service that it provides, this type ofanalysis usually lacks a full engagement with the social scientific interpretations of it, which sees these“services” as embedded within cultural practices that aim at and have consequences for achieving thingsbeyond staying warm. The implication of a full integration of a social scientific understanding of theseservices would include seeing the maintenance of thermal comfort at home, including both the thingspeople wear at home and things people do to heat their homes and keep themselves warm, as not justabout staying warm, but also as implicated in social judgments around “properly” maintaining a home,and being a ‘competent’ adult/parent/spouse. This understanding of home heating activities would seethem as important in maintaining social relations as well as personal identities and would acknowledgethe importance of stigma (Hards, 2013; Hitchings and Day, 2011) around failing to observe variousnorms on how one maintains one’s home.In this sense many studies do not engage with how the activities and ways of being that signifyenergy poverty, as well as responses to it, are motivated by other imperatives than managing the cold inthe everyday lives of those who might be struggling with it. Some, like Wright (2004) even go as far assuggesting that “cultural” heating practices like keeping the bedroom colder than other parts of the houseamong older people is a case of persistent old-fashioned attitudes that must be “addressed” through“health promotion initiatives” (p. 502). Absent from studies of energy poverty is, then, an engagement14with energy consuming household practices that scrutinizes them in context, and explores what theymean beyond supplying an energy service. One notable exception is Day and Hitchings’ (2011) studyof older people’s winter warmth practices in the UK, which recasts policies aimed at addressing energypoverty among older people as part of a discourse that pathologizes aging and argues that often in theirrejection of these recommendations (like wearing hats in bed), older people are motivated by concernsbeyond the imperative to keep warm, and are rather engaged in the active management of older ageidentity and avoiding social stigma.Middlemiss and Gillard’s recent work (2015) on energy vulnerability offers an avenue for explor-ing energy poverty with an eye to how the normative discourses of vulnerability and poverty play outagainst the concerns and understandings of those who are said to be experiencing them. Their vul-nerability framework makes an explicit point of focusing on households understandings of their ownvulnerability. To this end, Middlemiss and Gillard use a vulnerability framework with roots in Nurs-ing that attempts to offer an ‘emic’ understanding of vulnerability that define it as understood by theperson or community considered to be vulnerable. Energy vulnerability/poverty, as understood in this“bottom-up” way, foregrounds the experiences of households, emphasizes their adaptive capacity andresilience, and has the potential for taking account of how energy use is implicated in things beyondmeeting material needs. However, critiques of vulnerability approaches, especially around their abilityto take account of structural processes that produce vulnerability apply here as well. In fact Middlemissand Gillard acknowledge the limitations of this framework:Incorporating bottom-up understandings of vulnerability could mask political attempts todisengage from a fair and reasonable treatment of vulnerable people. Households’ interpre-tations of their own vulnerability are dependent on their understanding of what is sociallyacceptable. As such, bottom-up interpretations may underestimate structurally producedvulnerability due to high levels of perceived and actual coping capacity among individualsand communities even in straightened circumstances. (p.148)This inability to take account of how energy poverty is produced remains a key critique of the streamof energy poverty research that focuses on the experiences of people with precarious energy access.Furthermore, by reformulating energy poverty in terms of vulnerability, rather than inequality, certainparts of this stream might be reinforcing the marginalization of those who suffer the consequences of15systemic injustice.These two parallel streams of energy poverty research are of course both important in developingnuanced understandings of energy poverty, both in terms of how it is produced and how it is experienced.However, they delineate a space for experience (i.e. the home) and a space for politics (i.e. governance),which is arbitrary at best. A robust conversation between the two approaches, therefore, can certainlyadvance the field in new and productive directions, one of which, I hope, will be the dissolution ofthis arbitrary delineation between the spaces of experience and politics. Households experiences ofenergy poverty matter, of course, not just as a way of “grounding” the analytically produced categoriesof ‘poverty’, ‘vulnerability’ and ‘precarious energy access’, but because I take as axiomatic that whatis done in the private spaces of the home as deeply political acts. The processes that produce energypoverty, whatever they are, continue to perform their productions in the home —it, therefore, seemscurious that accounts of household experiences would be devoid of politics. So I ask, in this thesis, whatwould an account of household experiences that is serious about the political nature of the practicesof home keeping look like? Of course this is nothing new: feminist scholars have long done this withregards to gendered labour in the home, revealing the imprint of a patriarchal social order presence inthe most intimate and mundane moments of everyday life. I merely aim to follow suit, pursuing thepolitics of energy production and distribution into the practices of mundane everyday life.A corollary pursuit to that of taking “politics into the experience” is the taking of experience intothe realm of politics. The literature that concerns itself with household experiences of energy povertymaintains that these experiences have important implications for how policy is designed. A conversationbetween these two streams of research can certainly make these implications explicit rather than merelyhint at their existence. This thesis is very much concerned with creating such dialogue. Throughout thisdissertation I engage with questions of how household accounts of their experience of energy vulnera-bility might change how we think about what vulnerability is in the first place and the ways in whichit is addressed. However, what is needed is a framework within which these two parallel streams canengage with one another productively. My task in the remainder of this chapter is fleshing out what thisframework might look like.162.1 (Environmental) justiceOne framework, which may be used to productively put the two streams of research on energy povertyin conversation is a justice framework. Fuel poverty has, in fact, already been discussed as an envi-ronmental justice problem (see Boardman et al., 1999, for example) —Walker and Day’s (2012) paper,explicitly discusses how fuel poverty might be situated within a justice framework and Sovacool et al(2015) situate energy poverty in the emerging field of energy justice. Before I delve into the details ofhow a justice framework might be used to discuss energy poverty, I want to outline some basic tenets ofan (environmental) justice framework, as well as my motivations for using it.Firstly, I want to elaborate on the brackets I place around ‘environmental.’ Energy poverty certainlyfalls within the remit of environmental justice as an activist, policy and academic pursuit broadly con-cerned with the intersection of issues of environment and social difference. Inequalities in access toenvironmental resources has been a classic interest of environmental justice scholarship — and thoughenergy access is less commonly talked about in environmental justice terms, it certainly can be thoughtof as a problem of unequal distribution of access to services or resources as Boardman et al (1999) argue.Furthermore, the distribution of burdens associated with the production and consumption of energy areincreasingly the subject of work on climate justice, particularly focusing on the disparities in climateimpacts between the global north and south. Moreover, there are important connections to be madebetween these two discussions with regards to the ways in which access inequalities will be exacerbatedby carbon pricing policies that aim at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.Despite the many connections between energy poverty and environmental justice scholarships, I put‘environmental’ in brackets, mainly because the diversity of theoretical and methodological approachesthat constitute environmental justice scholarship do not offer a concrete framework for the analysisof environmental inequalities. Since its birth in the US in the 1980’s as a political movement, theenvironmental justice literature has grown to cover a diverse range of topics from the intersection ofrace, poverty and the distribution of waste sites in US to the global flow of e-waste and toxins (Pellow,2007). The field embraces numerous theoretical frameworks, as well as methodological approaches thatcover various techniques both within qualitative and quantitative methods. Indeed, much of the literatureon environmental justice is dedicated to documenting the existence of environmental inequalities alongrace and class lines (Ringquist, 2005; Szasz and Meuser, 1997; Evans and Kantrowitz, 2003; Brown,171995). However, this literature remains contentious quite often because there is no clear sense of whatis to be done about the environmental inequalities that it documents (Mohai et al., 2009).This diversebody of literature contributes many insights to understanding environmental inequalities, but despitedeveloping sophisticated critiques of itself (see Pulido, 1996, for an example on environmental racism),it does not readily offer a critical frameworks for the evaluation of the evidence that is brought to bear onmaking claims of environmental (in)justice (Walker, 2012). In fact, as Pellow and Brulle (2005) arguethe breadth of the material covered under the environmental justice banner has grown so vast that it’shard to ascribe any analytical power to it (see also Getches and Pellow, 2002).Of course, what gets covered under ‘environmental justice’ only matters in the context of what onehopes to accomplish by amassing a body of literature called environmental justice. If the goal is todevelop analytical and theoretical tools for understanding how environmental inequities come to be,perhaps, the recommendations of Pellow and colleagues for restricting the definition of environmentaljustice has merit. If the goal is movement building, perhaps, the case Schlosberg (2007) makes forkeeping the definition broad is more persuasive. My interest, here, however, is not weighing in on whatenvironmental justice should cover, but rather to point out that the environmental justice literature isbroad and interdisciplinary and doesn’t offer a singular coherent analytical framework for the analysis ofand theorizing about environmental inequities. When discussions of broad frameworks take place withinthe environmental justice literature, in fact, it is justice frameworks that are discussed (see Schlosberg,2007; Walker, 2012, for example).In building my framework for the analysis of energy poverty, I, too, therefore, start with theoriesof justice and will bring in the environmental justice literature to add complexity to the discussions.Environmental justice literature, in my view, has much to add to the theoretical discussion of justice,especially with regards to complicating ideal notions of justice as a thing that should be, with justicestruggles that have to account for what is and how it comes to be so. Furthermore, I take inspirationfrom environmental justice literature in exploring different facets of an environmental justice problemat different analytical levels of individual, household and community. I will also use Walker’s (2012)framework for making and evaluating environmental justice claims, noting, however, that much of whatI do with it is using it as a framework for making justice claims.But why cast energy poverty as a justice (or environmental justice) problem, at all? As I havementioned, already, a justice framework has a pragmatic appeal for putting the two streams of energy18poverty research in conversation with one another. For me, a justice framework enables this conversationby virtue of the fact that when a justice claim is made a space is opened in which both the experienceof injustice can be detailed (stream 1) and the mechanism for its production can be addressed (stream2). In other words, an appeal to justice presumes a politics of care — caring about the experience of it,and caring about addressing it. More fundamentally, to talk of justice, Iris Marion Young argues, is toacknowledge mutual political responsibility:To invoke the language of justice and injustice is to make a claim, a claim that we togetherhave obligations of certain sorts to one another. Many listening to the claim will disagreeabout precisely what those obligations are or how they should be met, but as long as we arearguing about what is just in this situation we are acknowledging we are together politicallyand owe at least minimal commitments of solidarity to one another. (Young, 1998, p.40)As Young explains, multiple notions of justice might be present in any invocation of ‘justice.’ Mak-ing a justice claim, therefore, need not and does not presuppose an agreed upon notion of what socialor environmental justice ought to entail, rather it espouses a politics of togetherness, an acknowledge-ment of a mutual implicateness in one another’s lives. This political togetherness demands a “minimalcommitments of solidarity”, or if we wish to be more ambitious, a sense of responsibility for each other(it also demands a ‘we’, or a community of justice, but I’ll come to that later). The exact shape of thatresponsibility depends on the specific notion of justice invoked, but this vague notion of responsibilityis at the heart of my invocations of justice. So, to say that energy poverty is a matter of justice, is to saythat we care about the experience of it, we care about addressing it, and in fact, we have a responsibilityto each other to identify and remove the processes that create it.2.2 What we talk about when we talk about justice“but we’re all human, I thought, wondering what I meant.”At the heart of many theories of justice is an appeal to something transcendental. For liberal human-ists, it’s often some essence of humanity or some notion of human rights. For many who seek justicebecause their deviations from allegedly universal norms have been used to devalue them and deem themless than human, though, this appeal to humanity is often followed by an instant pull away from thatappeal, inviting the question of what that humanity means. I quote Ralph Ellison’s invisible man, be-19cause it gets at that tension of appealing to a transcendental sameness and the simultaneous recognitionof immense difference — the very tension that is at the heart of much of justice literature.Many justice theorists have grappled with this tension: Some have suggested different transcen-dental notions instead of the old ‘universal’ ones (similarities rather than samenesses) (Harvey, 1996).Others have pointed out that any transcendental notion hides power relations (Young, 2011) and thatdeconstruction would reveal all essentialist notions as socially and performatively constructed. Others,still, have argued that deconstructionist views that contend themselves with deconstruction as justicerender political mobilization impossible and that ‘strategic essentialism’ may indeed be necessary formovement building (Spivak, 1998). And some have attempted to offer transcendental notions that re-main attentive to politics of difference (Fraser, 1989; Young, 2011).My own notion of the transcendental is akin to feminist justice theorists’ such as Young (2011; 2013)and to a lesser extent Fraser (1989; 1997). Fraser’s transcendental concept is an “ethic of solidarity,”while Young’s emphasizes making explicit the normative concepts in appeals to justice and the necessityof deconstructing these notions to show their oppressive qualities. This kind of approach to justice lo-cates its normative power in dialogue itself. As the quote at the end of the last section would suggest, thisapproach envisions all political claims as contingent, always contested and inherently imperfect. Youngthen goes on to construct a ‘we’ composed of “heterogenous and decentered” individuals, together (inthe loosest possible sense of the word) and with responsibilities to one another, including an “opennessto unassimilated otherness“ (Young, 2011, p.227). This politics of togetherness, as Young explains,rests not on the similarities of the ‘we’, but its ‘togetherness’, in the sense that we are all impacted (butnot similarly so) when the price of oil goes up, for example (Young, 1998). Layering Harvey’s (1996)dialectic and Massey’s (2005) similar relational social/spatial ontologies onto this heterogenous ‘we’would render individuals as situated within multiple chains or trajectories, constituted by their socialrelations to others within intersecting chains of social practices — be it the chains of social practicesthat coalesce around food production, distribution and consumption or the intimate practices and rela-tionships of parenting. Justice in this sense, is being politically responsible to the multiple beings thatone is together with.As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, however, to frame energy poverty as a justiceproblem, does not require agreement on any definition of justice. What it requires is an acknowledgmentof the practical necessity of a working concept of justice (Harvey, 1996) as well as a recognition of the20fact that an appeal to justice is the beginning of a political conversation which rests on a politics oftogetherness and responsibility for care and respect (Young, 1998) .2.2.1 Distributive and recognition-based notions of justiceStarting with this understanding of what an appeal to justice entails, we must face the question of howinjustice occurs. Most fundamentally, injustice occurs when this responsibility for care and respect isabnegated or ignored. This idea is encapsulated in discussions of justice in terms of recognition (Fraser,1997). These discussions of justice as recognition contrast with more classic liberal discussions ofjustice over the primacy afforded to recognition versus distribution as central tenants of justice. Liberaltheorists of justice frame justice as primarily a matter of the distribution of social goods (and bads).Rawls (Rawls, 1971), for example, sees justice as a project of determining principles by which a fairdistribution of ‘social advantages’ can be achieved. He does this by way of thought experiments thatinvolve a suspension of the knowledge of one’s position in society and the privileges associated withor denied to that position. This ‘original place’ behind the ‘veil of ignorance’, Rawls believes, wouldallow the development of a fair process for the distributions of social goods— a process that he argues“everyone” can agree with.However, those who argue against a purely distributive understanding of justice contend that thereality of oppression and injustice must be taken as the starting place for discussions of justice. Thefact is, they argue, that the world is unfair, and there is no original place of retreat. Some people in thisunfair world are not afforded the same respect and recognition as others. To do justice, in practice (asopposed to in thought experiments), therefore, necessitates taking account of the processes that have ledto and continue to lead to unfair distribution of social goods and bads. A lack of recognition (of socialdifference) and acknowledgement of processes that privilege some groups over others is at the heartof oppression and injustice, Young (2011) argues, and the tackling of institutionalized oppression musttherefore be the central concern of justice projects. Fraser likewise focuses on the context of oppressionand misrecognition, arguing that misrecognition is a form of cultural injustice and domination (1998)which not only creates a devaluation and disrespect of individuals and communities but ultimately im-pacts the distribution of social goods, particularly through its effects on limiting the ways in whichoppressed individuals and communities participate in political life.Fraser’s stance on misrecognition casts it as an institutional practice and structural phenomenon21which creates oppression through practices of cultural domination, nonrecognition and rendering in-visible, as well as disrespect in cultural representation (Fraser, 1997). Fraser considers these kinds ofsymbolic and cultural injustice to operate alongside economic oppression (subject of distributive notionsof justice) as institutional practice. Others, such as Charles Taylor (1992) and Axel Honneth (1992), onthe other hand, frame misrecognition as an individual psychological experience rather than a primar-ily structural one (though Taylor’s individual is a fundamentally a social individual). They contend thatmisrecognition primarily affect individuals’ understanding of the self and is injustice in so far as it affecttheir self-realization.The Fraser-Honeth debate (see Fraser and Honneth, 2003), of course, covers more than the ques-tion of how misrecognition affects individuals, but Fraser contends that much of their difference (whichis actually around whether a recognition-based notion of justice requires a distributive parallel) comesdown to how Honneth foreground self-realization and identity formation. However with regards to howoppression works, as with most dichotomies, there are insights on both sides oppression works throughdisciplinary (in the Foucauldian sense of the word) techniques that are psychological and these tech-niques from the basis of many institutional practices. This is a fact that Fraser herself points out, sug-gesting that misrecognition is simultaneously individually experienced but institutionally constructed.There is, however, an important implication in understanding mirecognition as an institutional practice,and that is the requirement for the establishment of fair institutional practices and processes as part ofprojects of justice. This idea, in fact, has developed into a third conception of justice alongside notionsof justice as distribution and recognition.2.2.2 Procedural justiceProcedural justice is primarily about ensuring practices of the state (and the entities that now do whatstates used to do) are fair and inclusive. For many theorists of justice, procedural justice is, in fact, anarena where maldistribution and misrecognitions play out their their oppressions, preventing marginal-ized individuals from participating in social life. Distributional inequities (such as lack of access tochildcare or the ability to take time off work due to precarious employment) and misrecognitions (suchas being disrespected), for example, hamper participation in decision making processes, and a lack ofparticipation in decision making processes and lack of voice in public discourse by marginalized groupsfurther entrenches the status quo. So, while Young (2011) sees participation in democratic decision22making as both an element of and a condition of social justice, Fraser (1998) emphasizes the impor-tance of a parity of participation’ in these processes. In order for this participation parity to be achieved,Fraser argues that effects of both distributional inequities and misrecognitions must be simultaneouslyaddressed (i.e. participants must be afforded the same moral respect and recognition and resources toenable participation in the face of existing inequities must be available).Procedural justice is, then, concerned with the ability of different people to participate in decisionmaking processes, including in defining policies and procedures that affect them. In this sense, procedu-ral justice is about who is present at the decision making table, and what kind of influence they have inthis process. Both with regards to who is present, and how much influence they have it is clear that ex-isting inequalities both in access to resources and in lack of recognition play a part in shaping the abilityto participate. On the other hand, without procedural justice and the participation of those affected bymaldistribution and misrecognitions it is impossible to address both maldistribution and misrecognition.As such, procedural justice, whether seen a precondition of justice or as a mechanism for bringing aboutmore just outcomes is but one part of a process of justice — one that is also committed to redistributionand addressing misrecognitions.2.2.3 Critiques of recognition and questions of self-determinationThere are numerous debates surrounding each of these concepts of justice. I will bring up these debatesas they come up in specific discussions in the empirical chapters of this dissertation. But before movingonto constructing a framework for understanding energy poverty from these three concepts of justice,there is one debate I want to spend some time untangling: When discussing justice as recognition, Iglossed over what exactly is being recognized, and by whom. Indeed, much of the critical debate onthe emancipatory potential of the recognition-based notion of justice hinges on the answer to thesequestions.Taylor, Honneth, and Fraser, in their discussions of recognition, are primarily talking about recog-nition of collectivities of individuals by the state. Even when the question of justice for communities isconcerned, many see it ultimately as justice for individuals within those groups. Of course, Taylor seesthe basis of self-respect as rooted in membership in a cultural group and insists on protecting individualrights of group membership. Kymlica (1995), on the other hand, proposes group-specific rights. Butultimately, recognition, understood this way, is a relationship between the individual or groups of indi-23viduals and the state. Moreover, the state, in this arrangement, is seen both as an agent of justice andthe entity that grants recognition. The elevation of the state to this position, in some ways, subverts theemancipatory potential of recognition as a form of justice, as states, often, grant recognition when andon terms that suits them.Many critiques of this understanding of recognition and the liberal multiculturalism into whichit develops in the context of minority and indigenous rights in Canada centre around the idea that theprocesses of recognition by the state are often the same ones that lead to misrecognition. Taking ‘culture’as given, these understandings of recognition, in practice, often reify particular aspects of culture andproduce essentialist accounts of what it is that they recognize. In this process, they present monolithicaccounts of the category being recognized, often treating it as homogenous and unchanging and itscreation (i.e. racialization), apolitical (see Abu-Laban, 2014, for example, for a discussion regardingMuslim minority rights in Canada). Recognition politics, in the context of the relationship betweenindigenous people and the Canadian state, has similarly resulted in the state recognizing cultural rightsin ways that only allow for an apolitical view of culture — i.e. recognizing cultural practices that do notundermine the capitalist political economy of Canada (Coulthard, 2014b).In this sense, not only does the state recognize only the aspects of indigenous cultures that it deemsunthreatening to capital and its own sovereignty, but it does the recognizing on its own terms. Forexample, Paul Nadasdy (2005) examines the ways the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is ‘in-corporated’ in co-management practices in such a way that disregards indigenous assumptions aboutthe nature of land and animals being managed. Elsewhere, he explains the terms of engagement in thecomprehensive land claims process in the Yukon is fundamentally an imposition of the Euro-Candianrelationships with the land:To even engage in the process of negotiating a land claim agreement, First Nation peoplemust translate their complex reciprocal relationship with the land into the equally complexbut very different language of “property.” (Nadasdy, 2002, p.248).Indeed, this translation of kinship relationships to those imposed by the Canadian state (of propertyand of capital) has also turned indigenous self-determination movements to ones that must formulatetheir demands in terms of ‘territorial sovereignty’ and, often, language of ‘nation’ and ‘state’, whichscholars such as Nadasdy (2012) and Coulthard (2014a) point out as oppositional to indigenous forms24of governance, which among other things, reject exclusive claims to land as basis of nationshood1. GlenCoulthard (2014b; 2014a), examining the self-determination movements of the Dene peoples of theNorthwest Territories during the 1970s and 80s, in fact, argues that these co-optations of indigenousself-determination movements to ones that reformulate their demands for the land in materialist termsrather than the land as a set of relationships are indeed products of the politics of recognition by thestate. Coulthard, then, rejects the politics of recognition that lead to the pursuit of statist sovereignty asfundamentally incapable of accommodating relational understandings of the land.Likewise, Alfred (2009) considers delegated forms of authority such as ‘self-government’ withinthe context of state sovereignty inappropriate for indigenous nations on the grounds that it reinforcesthe state, and statist notions of sovereignty which rely on mechanisms such as coercive force, control ofterritory and international recognition. Alfred sees these inconsistent with indigenous nationhood whichrejects coercive enforcement of decisions and hierarchy (pp.77-81). Audra Simpson (2014), similarlynotes the limitations of liberal recognition-based politics in engaging indigenous nationhood, but goeson to suggests that indigenous nations live within multiple nested sovereignties, which includes indige-nous sovereignty (as a relational politic) over their territories within a sovereign settler state. Neithersovereignty, in this context, negates the other, though there are immense tensions in their co-existence.Simpson situates indigenous sovereignty (more specifically sovereignty as exercised by Mohawks ofKahnaw:ke) in everyday practices that refuse to engage with Canadian or American notions of citizen-ship.In negotiating multiple sovereignties, Post Colonial scholar, Kevin Bruyneel (2007) argues, indige-nous nations fight for a ‘third space of sovereignty’ neither inside or outside of the state. In doing so theyreject the binaries of assimilation or independence set out by colonial states. Scholars such as DuaneChampagne (Champagne, 2005) suggest that a meaningful accommodation indigenous cultures, insti-tutional arrangements, governing bodies and relationships with the land can be made with the creationof ‘multinational nation-state’ which recognizes and incorporates various communities and nations thatcompose the national community. John Borrows Borrows (2002) engages with this question from a legalperspective, suggesting the adoption of legal pluralism and mutual recognitions that not only seek the1As Nadasdy (2012) points out about the neat territorial delineations of First Nation land claims, “Land claim and self-government agreements are not simply formalizing jurisdictional boundaries among pre-existing First Nation polities; theyare mechanisms for creating the legal and administrative systems that bring those polities into being. In fact, the agreements,conceived and written as they are in the language of state sovereignty, are premised on the assumption that First Nationgovernments must be discrete politico-territorial entities if they are to qualify as governments at all (p. 503)”25recognition of indigenous legal traditions by the state, but seek to fundamentally transform Canadianlegal traditions.As this brief discussion reveals while many indigenous scholars agree over the limited gains madeavailable to indigenous communities within the framework of recognition politics, there are a rangeof critical responses on the question of how to transform these relationships to more just ones, rang-ing from a return to understandings of mutual recognition and nationhoods acknowledged in historicaltreaties with settler governments (Chiefs of Ontario; Idle No More) to acts of refusal of state recogni-tion (Simpson, 2014) and its explicit rejection (Coulthard, 2014b,a). While the former often operateswithin rights-based frameworks made available through international fora as well as national enquiriesthat seek to transform relationships between various indigenous nations and the state, the latter oftenengage in acts of self-recognition. Indeed, many grassroots movements increasingly seek to cultivatethe kinds of non-domination de-colonial relationships that they advocate. They do this in an embodiedway, amongst other likeminded individuals, even as they organize around seeking strategic state recog-nition. Much of the indigenous organizing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver2 or re-occupationof the lands in BC by indigenous families in camps set up to fight the extractive energy industry (amongother things)3 is based on practicing these alternative politics of self-recognition among group membersand the publics as they engage with the group.These forms of recognition and self-recognition, as exercised between individuals who share politi-cal responsibilities to one another, are indeed seen as resting on a wholly different notion of recognition.Jakeet Singh (2014) classifying these as ‘recognition from below’ (as opposed to recognition politics inrelation to the state), suggests:Rather than beginning with a normative understanding of recognition as an institutionalgoal to be demanded or fought for by appealing to a single normative good, this orientationbegins with an ontological understanding of recognition as something to be struggled over2The Oppenheimer Park occupation, for example, served the city of Vancouver with an eviction notice in 2014 in responseto the city’s eviction notice to the homeless people who had camped in the park, reasserting the local First Nations jurisdictionover the lands that are city of Vancouver3The Unist’ot’en camp, for example, is an occupation of their traditional territory by the Unist’ot’en family of theWet’suwet’en nation, where they practice a protocol of free prior and informed consent at the entrance to the territory, re-jecting the granting of access to extractive capital by the state, and insisting on their own right to give and refuse consent.Other camps, such as the Madii Lii camp on the Madii Lii territory on the lands of the Gitxsan nation, the Lax U’u’la camp onthe territory of Sm’ogyet Yahaan on the lands of the Lax Kw’alaams nation similarly embody resurgent indigenous sovereigntyin their interruption of and challenge to the state’s practices of ‘resource’ management and granting of access to these territoriesto the energy industry.26in any social or political relation. Recognition, here, is primarily understood not as a right ora form of accommodation offered by, or demanded of, the state but, rather, as an irreducibledimension of all relations of power and governance. (emphasis in the original, p.50)Indigenous self-determination movements organized around this rejection of state recognition and cen-tring acts of self-recognition seeks to transform the relationship with the land, not in the materialist senseof the word, but rather land as a “system of reciprocal relations and obligations” (Coulthard, 2014a,p.13). For some, these alternative and embodied claims to sovereignty are necessarily anti-colonial aswell as anti-capitalist and are committed to recentering kin-based and place-based relationships rootedin values of respect and reciprocity with the land, other species and nations (Simpson, 2011; Coulthard,2014a; Corntassel, 2012). These thinkers consider capitalist relationships with the natural world asfundamentally incompatible with the relational and responsibility-based practices of many indigenouscommunities since they replace understanding of the land as a set of relationships and responsibilitieswith understandings of the land as resources for extraction (Coulthard, 2014a; Corntassel, 2012), pursu-ing the creation of wealth as an end to itself rather than the enhancement of families and communities’well-being which is the guiding principle of the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth way of life(Atleo, 2011,p.167).These critiques stand in sharp contrast with approaches to indigenous sovereignty that not only ac-cept capitalist economic frameworks, but indeed consider its adoption by indigenous nations as criticalto the success of indigenous sovereignty projects by enabling economic self-sufficiency for these na-tions. Duane Champagne’s ‘tribal capitalism’ (2004), Robert J. Miller’s ‘reservation capitalism’ (2012),and David Newhouse’s ‘capitalism with a red face’ (2000) are examples of conceptualizations of capital-ism that are seen by some as consistent with indigenous worldviews. Nuu-chah-nulth scholar CliffordAtleo (2015) in his examination of what he calls ‘aboriginal economic development’ expresses scep-ticism about the consistency of these approaches with indigenous worldviews but acknowledges thesignificance of the practical necessity which drives their pursuit. Indeed he makes a distinction be-tween “small entrepreneurial engagement with markets on [Nuu-chah-nulth] terms and industrial scaleexploitation” (p. 158) of non-human relations. He goes on to suggest that smaller-scale engagementwith markets can be made in ways that are consistent with the Nuu-cha-nulth principles of hishookishtsa’walk (everything is one) and iisaak (respect) by recognizing the interconnectedness of all things27and acting cautiously, and by respecting all human and non-human relations, for example by not takingmore than the community requires when harvesting foods and doing everything possible to not endangerspecies recklessly.For Leanne Simpson (2011) alternative political-economic arrangement involves “revitalization ofsustainable local indigenous economies that benefit local people,” organized around the Anishinaabeconcept of mino bimaadiziwin (the good life/continuous rebirth), which sees the purpose of life as pro-moting more life. Simpson sees this translated into the economic realm as a “very localized economywhere there [is] a tremendous amount of accountability and reciprocity” (Klein and Simpson, 2013).Glen Coulthard (2013; 2014a), drawing inspiration from the 1970s movements of the Dene Nation, sug-gests cooperatively owned enterprises and traditional and substance-based practices may be appropriatefor some Nations, while applying indigenous governance principles to non-traditional economic enter-prises to promote “sustainable economic decision-making” and the “equitable distribution of resourceswithin and between Indigenous communities” (Coulthard, 2013).As with the relationship with the state in the case of recognition politics, indigenous self-determinationis conceptualized as involving different possible political-economic arrangements ranging from cap-italism envisioned as consistent with indigenous worldviews to selective engagement with capital-ist markets on indigenous terms and to explicitly anti-capitalist re-imaginings of collective and localeconomies, the latter cases presenting a serious challenge to political discussion that leave out questionsof political economy.2.2.4 Restorative justiceThere is also a fourth dimension and understanding of justice, which is often left out of discussionsof environmental justice - namely reparative or restorative justice. Perhaps because it overlaps withnotions of Justice as the law, many environmental justice scholars shy away from including notionsof reparative or restorative justice in their frameworks of environmental justice (note the absence inWalker, 2012; Schlosberg, 2007, for example). However, work on environmental injustice, whether itis the destruction of a community’s home and environment or whether it is envisioned as adverse healtheffects suffered as a result of environmental pollution by some members of a community, compelsus to consider corrective forms of justice. Discussions of what constitutes justice in the aftermathof environmental destruction are truly complicated, often involving litigation work, long settlement28processes between communities and the perpetrators of the environmental injustice or the state, andindeed much discussion within communities suffering from environmental injustices as to how bestto mobilize and what would constitute justice for them. Much of this work is left to communities,lawyers and legal scholars (White, 2013; Preston, 2011, for example), as well as judicial bodies andtribunals both internationally and nationally that work on issues such as resettlement in the aftermath ofenvironmental destruction.Nonetheless, there is work for environmental justice researchers as part of the community conver-sations, for example, on characterizing the nature of loss suffered by community members, includingloss of intangible things as well as documenting tangible health impacts, on eliciting what forms ofreparative work community members would consider appropriate, or by translating losses to economicterms, where appropriate for monetary compensations.There is also important work for environmental justice scholars in developing policy tools and so-lutions that address the more systemic dimension of environmental injustices — in fact, a commondemand from those suffering injustice is the development of mechanisms such that no one else will haveto suffer the forms of injustice they did. This work would begin by developing critical analyses of howenvironmental injustice occurs in the first place, and continue to developing policy reforms (while weorganize and/or wait for the revolution) that might prevent future environmental injustices, as well asevaluating the efficacy of existing solutions in remediating different aspects of the particular injustice.Indeed, one of the critiques of environmental justice literature as a whole is that it rarely engageswith what is to be done about justice claims that it makes (Mohai et al., 2009). Engaging with repar-ative or restorative notions of justice, as complex an endeavour as it is, is an avenue through whichenvironmental justice researchers can add an actionable element to their work. Certainly, it is never forresearchers to suggest what justice might look like for a community — That is always for those affectedto articulate. However, there is much assisting that environmental justice scholarship can offer duringthat process, as well as in policy evaluation and design for addressing environmental justice demands.2.2.5 Concluding thoughts on (environmental) justiceI want to use this moment to draw attention to an entirely obvious, but so far uncommented on aspectof justice: Justice is time, place, and culture specific, if one subscribes to a contingent nature of powerand politics. What is seen as a just arrangement in one time/place/culture (say the stoning of adul-29terers) might be seen as unjust (or ‘barbaric’, ‘inhumane’, or ‘oppressive’, depending on the culturalparadigm evaluating it) in other times/places/cultures. There are several implications to this statement.Firstly, and somewhat obviously, that to talk of justice in the abstract is to deny the contingency ofthe notions of justice on context-specific values and practices. In other words, what justice is in anygiven context will depend on values and worldviews of the people in that context. As the discussionon indigenous self-determination suggested, for indigenous nations to be sovereign and self-determinedaccording to their own conceptualizations, they must be able to fulfil their obligations to their commu-nity members and their non-human kin according to their worldviews (Atleo, 2011; Coulthard, 2014a).This requires access to indigenous homelands and the ability to practice their own forms of decisionmaking and governance, including and especially those that run counter to state-centric understandingof self-government, rejecting “control, exclusivity, domination and violence” (Simpson, 2011, p.62) inrelationships with the land as well as other kin, both human and non-human. Work on (energy) justicein settler colonial contexts like Canada must, therefore, engage with the ways in which relationshipswith the land are commodified to create (energy) ‘resources’.Secondly, to talk of justice, to begin adjudicating what is just and unjust, requires a community ofadjudicators. In other words, justice is contingent on the idea of community. To invoke the language ofjustice, then, is to appeal to a transcendental notion around which a transcendental community is formed.It is for this transcendental community — whether it’s humanity’, citizenship’, a loosely together we’connected perhaps by nothing more than the fact that a change in price of oil affects us all, or some ideaof kinship — to establish exactly what justice is in any given situation.In this sense, the very concept of justice is a way of navigating between the individual and a commu-nity, albeit a different community than the communities that environmental justice movements demandjustice for. The community that an appeal to justice creates is a contingent community composed ofthose who contend an injustice has occurred to them, and those who are deemed to be responsible (ei-ther directly, or through some notion of political togetherness) for rectifying this injustice. It may beuncomfortable for individuals to come together and form this contingent community, when some haveenslaved some others, when some have perpetrated genocide on others, when some continually deny theothers dignity and respect, but if there is to be an appeal to justice, we have to form a contingent we’ sowe can begin squabbling about what justice is.In investigating energy access as a justice issue in the context of indigenous communities in British30Columbia this adjudicating community will invariably include First Nation communities as well as set-tler communities, who not only have political responsibilities to indigenous community members byvirtue of togetherness, but also have specific responsibilities for the operation of their settler govern-ments. I take it as axiomatic that it is the responsibility of settler scholars and practitioners (such asmyself) to learn from indigenous scholars and practitioners and work on identifying the processes bywhich particular energy policy regimes create disempowering patterns of access for indigenous commu-nities as well as differently disempowering patterns of access for marginalized settler communities.This section (and more broadly this thesis) is written in this spirit of engagement and conversation.I’ve attempted to lay out some of the things we talk about when we talk about justice. I hope that Ihave been clear about where I stand on these ideas, but I want to reiterate that my readers, my researchparticipants, and myself need not share an idea of justice — all that we need is an agreement on the factthat to frame issues of energy access (or any issue) as one of justice, is to make a claim that we togetherhave obligations of certain sorts to one another (Young, 1998, p.40).For analytical purposes, we also need an understanding of what a justice claim entails. Here, I useWalker’s (2012) simple framework which outlines the components of an environmental justice claim.This framework sees a claim as composed of three elements: a) a description of an inequality, b) adiscussion of why this inequality matters (how those who experience it are affected by it) and c) ananalysis of how it has and/or continues to come about. To incorporate notions of reparative or restorativejustice, I propose a fourth element to this framework, so that an environmental justice claim may bemade actionable. This fourth dimension is a discussion of mechanisms by which it may be addressed.Armed with this framework and this discussion of some of the pertinent concepts of justice, I proceedto discuss how an environmental justice framework may be applied to energy poverty.2.3 The opposite of (energy) poverty is (energy) justiceA number of recent publications have attempted to conceptualize energy justice as an area of researchconcerned with issues of justice around the generation and distribution of energy(Sovacool et al., 2016;Sovacool and Dworkin, 2015; Sovacool et al., 2017; Jenkins et al., 2016). Sovacool and Dworkin (2015)define energy justice as a field concerned with “a global energy system that fairly disseminates both thebenefits and costs of energy services, and one that has representative and impartial energy decision-making” (p.436). Suggesting that the field of energy studies would benefit from an engagement with31issues of social justice, Sovacool and colleagues (2016) attempted to reframe energy decisions as ques-tions of justice and ethics and developed a framework for energy justice studies composed of discussionsof the following elements: availability, affordability, due process, good governance, sustainability, intraas well as intergenerational equity and responsibility. They situate energy poverty as primarily involvingquestions of availability and affordability. Walker and Day’s conceptualization of energy/fuel poverty(2012), however, highlights the ways in which energy poverty as injustice involves issues beyond thoseof distribution (availability and affordability) and include various other elements.In this section, I aim to expand on the application of a justice and energy justice framework tounderstandings of energy poverty with the aim of both highlighting the practical matters of how onemight do so, and the generative possibilities therein. I begin with Walker and Day’s (2012) summary ofconceptualizing energy poverty as injustice and proceed to unpack the various elements of it. Applyingconcepts of justice to problems of energy access and vulnerability, Walker and Day argue that while fuelpoverty is primarily a matter of distributive (in)justice in terms of access to energy services, it can alsobe viewed as a matter of procedural and recognition-based justice:Addressing fuel poverty is [. . . ] a matter of justice as recognition, in needing to recognisethe differential rights and needs of vulnerable groups, and of procedural justice in terms ofensuring access to information, legal process, and effective influence in decision-making.(Walker and Day, 2012, p.73)Certainly, as Walker and Day suggest a justice framework would allow a fuller engagement with energypoverty with regards to the ways in which it must be addressed, including the importance of havingaccess to legal processes and decision-making fora. I would argue that a justice framework also hasimmense analytical potential for studies of energy poverty, particularly as it can serve as a frameworkwithin which the two streams of energy poverty research discussed earlier might be put in conversation.One of the dividing lines between the two streams of energy poverty research that I’ve discussedso far is the space allocated (or not allocated) to the politics of energy poverty work - the question ofhow it comes to be and how it is implicated in other processes of marginalization. Adopting a justiceframework has the potential for addressing the absence of these questions in studies of the experienceof energy poverty, as a justice framework would require a description of inequalities, a discussion ofwhy these inequalities are unjust and how they are produced and reproduced (Walker, 2012). Applied32to energy poverty, a justice framework would require a description of inequality in accessing energyservices, a discussion of what implication the presence of these inequalities has on the lives of those ex-periencing them, as well as an analysis of the forces that bring them about and maintain them. While adescription of the inequalities may well be constructed from within a technoeconomic understanding ofenergy poverty (for example taking consumption metrics as indicators), questions of how and why thisinequality matters can not be addressed without engaging with household experiences, as the qualitativestudies of energy poverty have attempted to do. Similarly, providing a description of how these inequal-ities come to be can not be done without stepping outside of household experience and investigating thecommonalities of these experiences in terms of geography, regulatory regimes, socio-economic status,etc.In this sense, a justice framework can help address a different divide in the two streams of energypoverty research, namely that of scale or unit of analysis. Environmental justice frameworks offer aflexibility of movement between the particulars of household-level experience and the more ‘universals’of the experience of spatial, cultural, or administrative communities. As such, it can offer a space inwhich the two parallel streams of research on energy poverty, with their focus on household experiencesand analysis of governance as applied to different “communities”, can be put in conversation.Furthermore, the different conceptions of justice, as Walker and Day (2012) demonstrated, con-tribute different nuances to each of the three elements of a justice framework. Specifically with regardsto recognition-based justice, for example, Walker and Day discuss fuel poverty as injustice in terms ofa lack of recognition of the differential needs of vulnerable groups for energy services. Examples ofthis include a misrecognition of the fact that people who are unemployed, people on disability, peoplewho live in multigenerational homes and people who work from home spend more time at home andtherefore have a need for heating that extends throughout more hours of the day than those who spendsignificant portions of the day away from home. Furthermore, they argue that some of these groups, dueto existing health conditions, for example, might need higher temperatures in addition to longer hoursof heating.A recognition-based idea of justice also allows for acknowledging the culturally situated nature ofhousehold practices that use energy (Wilhite et al., 1996; Lutzenhiser, 1992; Erickson, 1987; Stephensonet al., 2010, for example,) and the ways in which participation in the life of a community, and the ways inwhich cultural and political respect is granted is contingent upon the successful performance of house-33hold maintenance activities. Earlier cultural studies of energy consuming activities in the home, forexample, have revealed the importance of keeping the home warmer when expecting guests or prepar-ing and keeping food warm in an oven prior to the arrival of guests in Swedish homes (Erickson, 1987).An inability to fulfil these cultural norms around entertaining guests may indeed have implications forhow one participates in the social life of a community. Even more urgent still is the stigmatization en-dured by households whose experience of energy vulnerability intersects with other forms of povertyand its marginalizations, as I discuss in Chapter 4, particularly around issues of children’s cleanlinessand presentability at school. Indeed, an important contribution of a recognition-based understandingof justice to discussions of energy poverty and justice is enabling the investigation of the intertwinednature of energy injustice and other axes of marginalization such as those of class and race.In addition to this issue of stigmatization a recognition-based idea of justice would allow an ac-knowledgment of the different consequences of being in energy poverty for different people. Numerousstudies of energy poverty in UK and Ireland have noted a link between excess winter mortality amongolder adults and energy poverty. In the UK, for example, excess winter deaths were three times morecommon in the coldest quarter of the housing stock compared with the warmest (Wilkinson et al., 2001).Links between a number of physiological and psychological conditions and living in colder homes havealso been suggested in a number of studies (see Liddell and Morris, 2010, for a review), especiallyso in the case of physiological development among children and infants (Frank et al., 2006; Howden-Chapman et al., 2008). These studies collectively suggest that the stakes are considerably higher forolder adults and infants, and a recognition-based notion of justice would demand taking account of thisfact in addressing energy poverty.Furthermore, a procedural notion of justice applied to the problem of precarious energy access re-veals important dimensions of the problem with regards to both how energy poverty might be addressedand how it is tied to larger questions of how energy provision decisions are made. With regards tothe former, notions of procedural justice highlight the importance of access to information, legal re-course and access to more fair energy pricing schemes, particularly in de-regulated markets where thoseexperiencing the most hardships are often subjected to the steepest rates via pay as you go schemes.With regards to the latter, applying a procedural justice lens to the problem of energy access (bysome) invites an examination of the processes of energy development that leave some groups of peopleout of their access granting structures and regulatory (or de-regulatory) regimes that increase the pre-34carity of access for some. Furthermore, the application of this notion of justice to understandings ofenergy poverty allows for the inclusion of discourses of community self-determination, both as it relatesto the inclusion of ‘those impacted’ in decision making processes involved in energy development andit’s application in indigenous communities as means of engaging in decolonizing projects that aim toaddress energy poverty as well as other colonial wrongs (Rezaei and Dowlatabadi, 2015).The latter case, as wells critical responses to recognition-based notions of justice by indigenousscholars, also invite an examination of the extractive nature of many processes of energy generation andtheir entanglements, particularly when mobilized by centralized energy planning paradigms with colo-nial and capitalist projects that undermine indigenous self-determination practices. Resistance to theseprocesses as well as alternative imaginings of energy production systems as seen by indigenous com-munities are, then, critical components of energy justice. In fact, Sovacool et al’s recent piece (Sovacoolet al., 2017) on energy justice identifies the two elements of resistance to unjust energy development andintersectionality (conceptualized as the entanglements of energy justice with issues of race, class andthe treatment of non-human beings) as important elements missing from their previous (2016) energyjustice framework.With this broad understanding of how a justice and energy justice framework can a) complicateunderstandings of just what energy poverty is, how it manifests itself, and how it is produced andreproduced and b) allow for the various insights in the two streams of energy poverty research to engagewith one another and therefore offer a cohesive (to the extent that that is even desirable) frameworkfor the analysis of energy poverty, I turn to the practical problem of just how such a framework can bemobilized in a study of energy poverty.2.4 A relational social practice — or notes on how various pieces of thisthesis fit togetherI began this project by asking a rather broad question that took as given the existence of a discursiveand material category of experience known as energy or fuel poverty. I wondered what this experiencelooked like, how it was felt by those who were said to be experiencing it, and how some of the hardshipassociated with it might be alleviated. Thus I began an exploration of what the literature said energypoverty was, and what the people who according to this literature were experiencing it around mewere saying about it (this around me was initially conceived of as Canada, but later became more35specifically two communities in British Columbia). The entanglements of the thing which the literaturebroadly defined as the inability to meet ones energy needs with issues of justice, and in the case of thecommunities that became my case studies, colonialism became evident to me in these conversations.But to start these conversations, I had to locate sites of manifestation of this experience in people’s dailylives, in how they used energy at home (though I was open to other places of its emergence). An obviousplace to start was looking at studies of household energy behaviour and its subsequent critiques.There is certainly a tradition of energy research that studies ‘energy behaviour’ using consumptionmetrics. This lineage of research, for example, has historically investigated energy consumption (whichit takes as a metric for behaviour) as a function of changes in energy metering schemes (Hackett andLutzenhiser, 1991; Carlsson-Kanyama et al., 2005), access to different sources of energy conservationinformation (Craig and McCann, 1978), and metrics of pro-environmental behaviour (Becker et al.,1981; Heberlein and Warriner, 1983; Linz and Heberlein, 1984). This predominantly quantitative liter-ature is content with establishing links between various factors and how much energy households use,forgoing descriptions of the ways in which these various factors affect how people do things that useenergy. In other words, much of this literature analyzes energy behaviour through the lens of consump-tion, as an aggregate whole that does not take account of the heterogeneity within the various activitiesthat make up the aggregate. Furthermore, this almost monolithic consumption, is either taken as a proxyfor behaviour (how energy is used) or more abstractedly, as an expression of intention, agency or someunderstanding of class or lifestyle (see Rezaei, 2013, for a more detailed review).While taking consumption of energy as an indicator of how it is used in the home, and the conse-quences of having a hard time accessing it is clearly problematic for the reasons that I mentioned above,it may, nonetheless, be a good indicator of problems of access themselves. In fact, studies of energypoverty, following in the tradition of economics analyses of poverty, often use consumption metrics toidentify households that may be shouldering disproportionate energy burdens. The earliest definitionsof energy poverty, in fact, as I have already outlined, used a consumption indicator for identifying theproblem of energy access. Focusing not on how much energy people use, but rather what percentageof their income goes towards paying for their energy needs, this class of definitions of energy povertywould enable developing a broad understanding of areas of gross inequality, be it demographic or ge-ographic, and energy generation and regulation regimes that contribute to energy access problems forsome. The following chapter in this dissertation, indeed, attempts to carry such an analysis of energy36access across Canada using consumption and expenditure-based data to provide an analysis of the broadstructural factors that affect households’ ability to access energy.In pursuing the question of how energy is used in the home and what the consequences for itsabsence might be, next, I follow a parallel and competing lineage of research, which proposes a culturalmodel of understanding household energy use. Seeing material culture as made up of socially-regulatedand culturally meaningful items, Lutzenshiser (1992) calls for a cultural analysis of the similarities anddifference in energy use among various energy sub-groups, in terms of “similarities and differencesin dwellings, vehicles, appliances, everyday routines, status understandings, technological knowledge,patterns and behaviour, and belief” (Lutzenhiser, 1992, p.56). An investigation of “energy cultures”(Stephenson et al., 2010) and sub-cultures, this literature argues, will shed light on the internal logics ofeach group around the use of energy and technology. This literature has produced cross-national studiesof household energy use (Wilhite et al., 1996; Erickson, 1987), as well as studies that conceptualizecultural subgroups differently based on income, ethnicity (Maller, 2011), generational trends (Carlsson-Kanyama et al., 2005), or around different conceptions of the ‘home’ (Aune, 2007; Hallin, 1994).This approach to understanding household energy use disengages from equating behaviour and con-sumption by exploring the way in which some energy-consuming practices are conducted within house-holds. In this way, it begins to shift the focus of investigation from one that views consumption/be-haviour as an outcome of various social or individual contextual variables and towards one that exploreshow households engage in activities that use energy. However, as the diverse range of conceptualizationof “cultural subgroups” listed above would suggest, it doesn’t quite manage to lose the notion that thereare external factors albeit now grounded in ‘culture’ that not only affect, but somewhat determine howenergy is used at home. Or put differently, energy use is now conceptualized to be expressive of somekind of culture.There are other critiques of both the ‘behavioural’ and ‘cultural’ studies of energy use: The concep-tion of the individual that acts with intention, as is implied in the language of ‘decision making’ and‘expression’ both in cultural and behavioural studies, for example, neglects the role of habit and inci-dental and inconspicuous energy use. Furthermore, the focus on the individual, itself, in these studieshas been extensively criticized on the basis of its exclusion of family negotiation processes, householddynamics, and institutional arrangements (Carlsson-Kanyama and Linde´n, 2007; Gladhart and Roosa,1982; Grønhøj, 2006; Hinchliffe, 1996; Judkins and Presser, 2008). Critiques of the political impli-37cations of the focus on individual in both energy studies and energy policy have, however, been lesscommon. Though, analyzing the energy efficiency discourse, Gyberg and Palm (2009) identify ‘indi-vidual choice’ as a strong theme, one that they link to the use of information as part of the movementtowards deregulation and privatization of service provision and neoliberal approaches to governance.“The battle for the future energy systems”, they argue, “is in this sense made a consumer-oriented issueand it is the consumer who is expected to make the defining decisions leading to sustainability” (p.2810). The consumer (whether it is conceptualized as an individual or a household, or an organiza-tion, for that matter) is, then, responsible through the act of consumption, something that much of theliterature on the subject conceptualizes as intentional as well as symbolic and expressive.However, as I have suggested already, energy consumption in the aggregate household level, rep-resents different forms of consumption tied to various activities, each of which may be understood indifferent terms, governed by different logics and (if we insist on staying tied to some notion of expres-sion) express different things. Focusing on the act of consumption or the individual consumer, therefore,treats both as homogenous and yields a limited understanding of energy use in households. Furthermore,there are several aspects of energy’, itself, as a material/energetic thing, with its own lively’ properties,which presents an ontological challenge to these conceptualization of it as something that is used in thehouse similar to other commodities . For example, consumptions of many commodities whether con-sumption is defined as the moment of purchase or use —can often be traced to a single, often intentionalmoment. Energy use, on the other hand, is firstly, embedded within habits, routines and rituals — suchas washing of dishes and opening of windows — that may not be seen as moments of energy consump-tion by those who partake in them. More importantly, energy use, even when intentional, is mediatedby thermodynamic processes, technologies and material that by virtue of their thermal efficiencies orinsulation properties affect the amount of energy consumed in achieving any given level of service. Hotair rises, phantom loads drain power and in all this, it’s not just the agency of the individual doing theusing, but also the agency of the material and energetic arrangements of daily lives and that of the socialand governmental organizations that are implicated in how much of a thing is consumed.2.5 Social practice theoryIn an attempt to bridge the dualities and dichotomies of habit and intention, action and structure, andindividual and social and following the practice turn (Reckwitz, 2002; Schatzki et al., 2001) in social38theory, studies of household energy use are more and more drawing on theories of practice in their in-vestigations of energy consuming activities, or practices. Practice theory, as a form of social theory,stands opposed to both purpose-oriented (rational choice) and norm-oriented theories of action (Reck-witz, 2002), by focusing on practices as mediating concepts between individual choice and social normsand structures. Practice theory has a rather diverse theoretical origin, but Bourdieu’s work and Giddens’theory of structuration, and more recently Thoedore Schatzki’s work are seminal in charting a path anddeveloping a social philosophy focused on the concept of practice.Distinguishing between practice as a coordinated entity and practice as a performance, Schatzki(1996), defines the first as a “temporally unfolding and spatially dispersed nexus of doings and sayings.”These doings and sayings are linked in several ways: through understandings (of what to say and do, forexample), through explicit rules of engagement, and through what Schatzki refers to as ““teleoaffective”structures embracing ends, projects, tasks, purposes, beliefs, emotions and moods” (pg. 89). Practiceas a performance, in contrast, is a specific enactment of practice as a coordinated entity. Alternatively,Reckwitz (2002) defines practice as aroutinized type of behaviour which consists of several elements, interconnected to oneother: forms of bodily activities, forms of mental activities, things’ and their use, a back-ground knowledge in the form of understanding, know-how, states of emotion and motiva-tional knowledge (p. 249)Both definitions highlight elements of temporality (routinezed, temporally-unfolding), action (bodilyactivities, doings), and understandings and competence (understandings of what to say and do, rules,know-how, background knowledge). Reckwitz’ definition emphasizes the role of material and artefacts(things and their use), a view that is less explicitly incorporated in Schatzki’s view of practices, which areseen to be composed of “embodied, materially mediated arrays, and shared meanings” (Schatzki et al.,2001, p.3). In fact, Schatzki’s later work (2010), brackets material arrangements’ out of practices andtalks of practice-arrangement bundles that constitute social life. Shove and Pantzar (2005) see practicesas the “active integration of materials, meanings and forms of competence” (p.45), created and recreatedby practitioners as well as the producers of the materials and technologies that are involved in thesepractices. I will return to the exact treatment that the material world receives in social practice theoreticalaccounts later in this chapter and in more details in Chapter 3, but regardless of differences in how39material arrangements are incorporated in understandings of practice, the most significant theoreticalinsight of this body of work is seeing energy-consuming practices — encompassing the varied androutinized performances, practitioners enacting these performances, energy generation infrastructureand energy-consuming technologies — as the primary objects of study. In other words, practices (orpractice-arrangement bundles) become the site of the social and the basic ontological units for analysis(Schatzki, 2002).Extending this particular view of practice as the basic ontological unit of analysis to discussionsof consumption, Alan Warde (2005) argues that consumption (but not shopping, which is a practice initself) occurs as a consequence of engagement in practices, and must be understood as a moment inevery practice while not being an integrated practice in itself. The argument is similar to those madeabove with regards to inconspicuous, unintentional and habitual energy consumption, emphasizing theobservation that people partaking in activities that consume energy rarely see themselves in the act ofconsumption, but rather as cooking, driving or heating their homes:From the point of view of a theory of practice, consumption occurs within and for the sakeof practices. Items consumed are put to use in the course of engaging in particular prac-tices like motoring and being a competent practitioner requires appropriate consumption ofgoods and services. (p. 145)I would argue that this view of consumption is particularly suited to understanding the consumptionof services like the ones that energy provides, allowing for the opportunity to focus on disaggregatinghousehold consumption to its constituents.Another implication of this view of consumption, however, is that ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ are created bypractices, rather than individual desires, be it utilitarian or expressive. Warde (2005), again, argues: “itis the fact of engagement in the practice, rather than any personal decision about a course of conduct thatexplains the nature and process of consumption (p. 138). This view is in some ways quite consistent withan “energy services” understanding of household energy use which has long advocated for reorganizinghousehold energy markets around selling access to the things that energy enables rather than quantitiesof energy used in gaining access to those things. Rooted in more techno-economic approaches to energystudies, the argument put forward by advocates of the energy services paradigm has been centred onpossible efficiency gains from reorganizing energy markets such that households are sold hot water, for40example, rather than natural gas which they might use for heating water, thereby requiring the sellerto arrange for the most efficient mechanism for heating water. These technical accounts, of course,take for granted the need for hot water, where practice theoretical accounts push beyond this taken-for-grantedness and query where that need comes from. Of course, the bed-rock of SPT is the notion ofpractice (or practice-arrangement bundle, or some notion of practical knowledge), which give rise to allnotions of needs or wants.What role does individual agency/desire, then, play in differential engagement in practices? The-ories of practice view the individual, not just as an agent or a carrier of practices, but rather in his/herengagement in varying social practices, the individual becomes “the unique crossing point of practices,of bodily-mental routines” (Reckwitz, 2002, p. 256). Ropke (2009) comments on the “strong elementof path dependency in daily life”, arguing that engagement in different practices throughout one’s lifealters the mind and the body of the individual, preparing them for participating in some practices whileexcluding others (p. 2493). The individual, here, enacts his/her agency and intention in developingthe skills and capabilities required for engagement in particular practices. More importantly, though,theories of practice offera distinctive perspective, attending less to individual choices and more to the collectivedevelopment of modes of appropriate conduct in everyday life. The analytic focus shiftsfrom the insatiable wants of the human animal to the instituted conventions of collectiveculture, from personal expression to social competence, from mildly constrained choice todisciplined participation (Warde, 2005, p. 146).By shifting the analytical gaze to the social development of modes of appropriate conduct, a practicetheory approach to studying energy use allows capturing generational changes in habits and routines,notions of thermal comfort, and expectations around appropriate behaviour, such as levels of cleanlinessand convenience.The social practice approach to understanding energy use and demand, therefore, insists on begin-ning not with energy itself, but rather what energy is for (Shove and Walker, 2014). To this end, Eliz-abeth Shove’s (2003) Comfort, Cleanliness, and Convenience, for example, engages with documentingthe co-evolution of notions of comfort, cleanliness and convenience and everyday household practicessuch as heating and bathing.41Complementing studies that trace these trajectories of development for different practices, are stud-ies that investigate the varied ways in which energy-consuming practices are enacted in households andthe roles they fulfill. Rather than presenting a homogeneous and stable view of household practices,for example, Hand and Shove (2007) highlight the ways in which ordinary household appliances suchas freezers, and associated household practices like freezing, fulfill an elastic role in many differenthousehold regimes, from those who go to extreme lengths to consume locally grown foods to those thatuse freezers primarily as means of creating convenience around food preparation. Shove and Pantzar’s(2005) work on the invention and reinvention of Nordic walking in different contexts, likewise, em-phasizes the piecing together of the various elements of a practice in new and locally-situated ways toconstitute practices. In this sense, individual and local performances of a practice are not only importantsites for the continued reproduction of a practice, but also the integration of new skills, materials orunderstandings into a practice.Practices, in this view, are integrated entities that are constantly being reproduced, reinterpreted andinnovated upon, yet remain remarkably consistent for long durations of time, recognizably involvingsimilar things, understandings and achieving similar objectives. Taken as the primary unit of analysis,they can therefore reveal the persistent make up of social life, including notions of appropriate modesof conduct, and desired levels of qualities like cleanliness, comfort, convenience, mobility, privacy,security, freedom, etc. For the purposes of studying energy poverty and its manifestations in the home,taking practices as the central object of study offers the opportunity to not only grapple with the detailsof how people are impacted by precarious energy access, but to also query what are considered normaldegrees of achievement in the above mentioned qualities of comfort, cleanliness, etc.Using a practice theoretical approach that asks not about energy itself, but how people do house-hold tasks that require energy can therefore generate rich descriptions of how household practices thatuse energy are carried out, how they are modified in case of challenges in energy access, as well ashighlighting places of compromise in the achievement of norms which might not be anticipated by theresearcher purely investigating energy use, and as such would allow for a certain degree of emergencein terms of what the experience of energy poverty is thought to be.However, the emerging field of practice-theoretical studies of energy use has also produced workthat uses the language of practice to explain differences between people’s energy consumption (Gram-Hanssen, 2011, for example) or attempt to recast pro-environmental behaviour change in practice terms42(Hargreaves, 2011b). Shove and Walker (2014) see these studies as practice language layered on top ofprojects that are behaviourist at the core. Certainly, these studies are not devoted to studying ‘practices’as the central object of study. But it is also important to ask what can be revealed when practices aretaken as the central object of study, beyond what I referred to earlier as the persistent make up of sociallife and notions of appropriate conduct.What I am hoping to address in raising this question is the issue of where the analytical power ofpractice theory might lie, particularly with regards to studies of household energy use. Certainly, as Ihave argued so far, practice theoretical approaches in studies of household energy use have the advantageof allowing for disaggregating the previously-monolithic energy consumption into the various practicesthat it is composed of, and revealing the internal logics of each of these practices. This insight, however,can certainly be applied to the studies that attempt to explain patterns of group or individual behaviour asmethodological innovations that do not interrupt the analytic paradigm, as the studies cited above havedone, or work such as Sarah Pink’s (Pink, 2012; Pink and Mackley, 2012) does more explicitly. Takingpractice theory as a methodological tool, allows for the design of studies that asks people or follows themthrough how they perform various household activities, generating thick descriptive accounts of howthese activities are performed. This, in itself, is a great contribution to investigations of the experienceof energy poverty.However, proponents of using social practice theory in studies of energy demand insist that there ismore to adopting a social practical framework than thinking about energy use in terms of the practicesin which it is used. In fact, Shove and Walker (2014) argue that the novel contribution of social practicetheory to studies of energy demand is the focus on endogenous dynamics of an integrated package ofelements called ‘practice’ rather than the causal links between any number of ‘contextual variables’ andenergy use, which is seen as an outcome of those:In contrast to styles of analysis which attribute change to one or more driving forces, orwhich consider the production and consumption of energy as a generic resource, concep-tualizing energy as an ingredient of specific social practices provides a means of radicallyreframing contemporary approaches to energy policy and sustainability. It does so in thatit situates energy demand as part of, and as in no way separate from, the dynamics of so-cial practice. In this, it provides a means of reinstating fundamental questions about what43energy is for (p.51).While I am committed to this view of energy as an ingredient of practice, I remain somewhat hes-itant in presenting this as a radical departure from previous attempts at developing ‘integrated models’or ‘cultural models’ of energy use. Many of these earlier attempts have also started with the preposi-tion that energy use does not occur independently of a whole host of social and material arrangementsaround it. The packaging of the integrated subject of analysis has certainly taken various guises fromself-admitted arbitrary delineations to the nebulous thing that is culture and to the notion of practice,however, regardless of the guise all attempts at holistic accounts of social life run the risk of defaultingto analytical notions such as ‘cause and effect’, taking account of a select number of concepts including‘agency’, and ‘power’ as conceptualized in other theoretical frameworks, if they do not present theirown parallel analytical categories.As the studies that layer practice theoretical language onto the behaviourist analytic paradigmdemonstrate, this defaulting to analytical categories of other paradigms is already happening to thesocial practice studies of energy demand. The true test of whether practice theory does indeed amountto a break from the past in studies of household energy use is whether the proponents of taking practicesas the central object of study in the analysis of energy demand, spearheaded by Elizabeth Shove andcolleagues, manage to produce empirical work that generates analytical insight beyond historical anal-yses that highlight overarching trends. I emphasize the importance of empirical work because these arein short supply relative to sizeable body of work making theoretical arguments for the use of practicetheoretical approaches (Shove and Pantzar, 2005; Shove et al., 2012; Shove, 2010; Shove and Walker,2014; Shove and Spurling, 2013, for example).I see parts of this dissertation as an attempt to add to this body of empirical work, which would aim toexplain real world phenomena using this theoretical lens. To explain the kind of real world phenomenathat I’m interested in explaining, however, a number of analytical clarifications are needed to add tothe core concepts of social practice theory. For example: How do material arrangements and practicescome together in their so-called bundles? How do practices relate to other practices? What determinesthe ‘hanging together’ of certain practices? I devote chapter 3, primarily, to exploring these questionsby looking at the relationship between several household practices and the material arrangements thatthey commandeer in their performances. In doing so, I develop a theoretical language which enables44speaking about securing access to material arrangements (as in enduring infrastructure) and ingredientsof practice (as in material that is consumed in a practice).Armed with a language that enables taking account of the relationship between the materials thatSchatzki brackets out of practices and practices themselves, I arrive at a relational social practice the-ory, which sees practices as connected (or hanging together, to use Schatzki’s terminology) throughchains of material/social artefacts that are produced in one practice, consumed in others and merelypass through yet other practices — a relational social practice which is in many ways similar to therelational ontologies discussed under theories of justice.Other parts of this dissertation do not specifically use a social practical lens. I talk of correlationsand determinants in Chapter 3, in identifying broad trends in the facing disproportionate energy burdens.I move back and forth between different units of analysis, from households in Chapter 4 to communitiesin Chapter 5, while exploring some of the connections between the two in Chapter 6. I also exploredifferent mechanisms for addressing energy poverty at these different scales (Chapters 5 and 6). What’scommon between these is a relational understanding of the social world, an understanding of the prob-lems of energy poverty and access as a justice issue (distributional in Chapter 3 and parts of chapter 6,procedural in chapter 5, and as recognition, throughout), and a view of energy as nothing more than aningredient of practice, whose securing presents challenges for some and not others.45Chapter 3Poverty and Energy Poverty: WhoSuffers?3.1 IntroductionTrends in energy poverty can be explored quantitatively using expenditure-based indicators that quantifythe burden of securing access to energy services (such as cost of services as percentage of income),using subjective indicators of ability to maintain thermal comfort. The former set, often grounded inactual expenditures, purports to capture a more ‘objective’ measure of energy burdens, but excludesor discounts the severity of the experience of those who are purposely under-heating their homes incold weather in order to manage their bills. The latter set of indicators will capture the subjectiveexperience of energy poverty more accurately, but may make comparisons between households withdifferent attitudes and priorities more complicated. In order to account for the challenges of usingeither set of indicators, some (Healy, 2004, most famously) have created indices that combine bothkinds of indicators. However, even with such indices there are questions around the relative weight ofeach set. More importantly, the creation of such indices is limited by the availability of data. While, theEuropean Household Panel (ECHP) Survey provides access to variables used for both class of indicatorsfor all member states, no such comprehensive survey exists in Canada. Statistics Canada does collectinformation in its Survey of Household Spending (SHS) that would enable the use of expenditures basedindicators, as well as documenting certain key characteristics of the dwellings (such as need for majorrepairs), but unfortunately does not include any subjective indicator of the ability to maintain thermal46comfort. As such, explorations of trends in Energy poverty are limited to the expenditure based class ofindicators.However, data for Northern territories even in the Survey of Household Spending is often unreliableand not comparable to southern provinces. This places another limitation on quantitative explorationsof energy poverty in Canada, particularly since energy carriers are often more expensive in the Northand the need for heating more urgent. Furthermore, the SHS does not provide data for First Nationscommunities, many of whom (particularly those in northern regions of the Canadian provinces) alsoface much higher energy burdens, due to the higher costs of energy service provision. As a resultof these exclusions, any quantitative exploration of energy poverty trends in Canada is fundamentallylimited, not only by the fact that subjective measure of the experience is available, but more importantlyby the fact that the experience of those who struggle most with high burdens of accessing energy servicesare systematically excluded from the data. Nonetheless, an analysis of the available data would shedlight on trends across the provinces, and would allow starting a more robust conversation on energypoverty in Canada. Thus, in this chapter, I use an expenditure-based measure of energy — namely, thepercentage of household income spent on meeting basic household energy needs— to explore broadpatterns associated with energy poverty across the Canadian provinces.3.2 Defining energy povertyFor this purpose, I use the 2011 cycle of the Survey of Household Spending (the last version I hadaccess to at the time of analysis), and more specifically the following variables within it to constructan expenditure-based measure of energy poverty: net annual household income, annual household ex-penditure on heating and annual household expenditure on electricity. I calculate a percent expenditurevalue documenting each household’s energy burden in the sample. Then using the weights correctingfor demographic and geographical representation across Canada, I calculate median percent expenditurevalues for Canada, as well as individual provinces. Table 3.1, below, summarizes these values.Using this national median value, an energy poverty threshold at twice the median household expen-diture can be established at 5.8%. By this definition, 21% of the Canadian households (or 2.8 millionhouseholds) are in energy poverty. Establishing a threshold using this method, essentially, treats energypoverty as a relative poverty phenomenon, contending that if a household is spending more than twicethe median expenditure as percentage of income value, they’re experiencing disproportionately high en-47Province Median percent expenditure Standard errorNewfoundland and Labrador 4.8% 0.1%Prince Edward Island 4.9% 0.2%Nova Scotia 4.6% 0.1%New Brunswick 4.4% 0.1%Quebec 2.6% 0.1%Ontario 2.9% 0.1%Manitoba 2.7% 0.1%Saskatchewan 3.6% 0.1%Alberta 2.9% 0.1%British Columbia 2.4% 0.1%Canada 2.9% 0.0%Table 3.1: Median expenditure on household energy services as percentage of net income (byprovince)ergy burdens. Of course, the question of how much above the median value should be thought of as toomuch and whether 200% above this median values is high enough will always receive an answer that isseen as arbitrary. I use twice the median value to be consistent with how the classic 10% threshold thatUK until recently used as definition for energy poverty is said to have been derived and to stay consistentwith other quantitative studies of energy poverty.Given this threshold the rates of energy poverty in each province as percentage of provincial popu-lation, as well as numbers of households in energy poverty are summarized in Table 3.2. It is importantto mention that this method of defining the threshold of energy poverty yields a value several percentagepoints lower than the 10% value that studies from both the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives(Leeet al., 2011) and the Fraser Institute (Green et al., 2016) have used (Both organizations seem to havetaken the old UK definition without exploring what an appropriate definition should be in the Canadiancontext). As a result, the estimates of the number of households experiencing energy poverty are higherin this study — at least relative to the Fraser Institute report which estimates 7.9% of Canadian house-holds to be in energy poverty in 2013, where this study finds 21% of Canadian households to be in thatcategory (Green et al., 2016) 1. The values from Table 3.2 suggest that among the southern provinces,those in the Maritimes have the highest rates of energy poverty (winter heating in these provinces tendsto be reliant on more expensive forms of energy, such as fuel oil). Quebec and BC had at the time, the48lowest rates of energy poverty in 2011.Province Percentage of totalpopulation in EPNumber ofhouseholds in EPStandard error ofnumber of EPNewfoundland and Labrador 39% 81,619 3,323Prince Edward Island 39% 23,011 1,287Nova Scotia 36% 141,848 5,978New Brunswick 36% 112,425 4,460Quebec 15% 504,216 33,315Ontario 23% 1,151,561 64,736Manitoba 19% 89,971 5,823Saskatchewan 28% 117,323 6,255Alberta 22% 312,130 19,539British Columbia 16% 297,415 19,191Table 3.2: Energy poverty rates (percentage of population in energy poverty) and numbers in eachprovince3.3 Energy poverty and income povertyBefore expanding on this rough geographical exploration of energy poverty trends, I want to spend sometime exploring the ways in which energy poverty is different from and similar to (income) poverty. Ofcourse, conceptually, income poverty and energy poverty are related by virtue of the fact that people withlower incomes may struggle with paying for food, shelter and energy. But energy poverty, especiallywhen defined in the way that I have defined it in this chapter, is not only a function of income and priceof energy carriers such as electricity and natural gas, but also the energy efficiency of the house and itsappliances. What ultimately determines the how much a household spends on energy is a combinationof energy prices (themselves a function of many other factors, including the types of networks of infras-tructure they are secured through, as well as regulatory environments), weather, household occupancypatterns, energy needs of the inhabitants, and the efficiency of the house and its appliances in convertinga unit of energy to desired services such as heating, cooling, refrigeration, etc. This last variable, as thissection will demonstrate, often means that not all those who are in poverty by income measures will1The CCPA study never explicitly suggest a methodology for estimating numbers of households in energy poverty, butinstead quote the findings of other studies (McEachern and Vivian, 2010, for example) which seem to use a 10% threshold.49suffer from disproportionately high energy burdens, and conversely, that some households who are notconsidered in poverty by income measure will be facing high energy burdens.While Canada has no official definitions of poverty, many anti-poverty advocates use Low IncomeCut-off (LICO) value -one of the poverty measures calculated by Statistics Canada- to establish povertylines. LICOs are calculated for different family sizes and different sizes of towns and cities and areessentially an estimate of income thresholds at which households would spend 20 percentage pointsmore than the average family on food, shelter and clothing. Those would need to spend more than20% above the average family on securing these essentials of life are deemed low-income (StatisticsCanada, 2015b). LICOs are considered a hybrid of absolute and relative measures of poverty: the focuson essentials of food, shelter and clothing (shelter includes energy and water) has echos of absolutemeasures, while in positioning the percentage of income spent on these essentials relative to an averagehousehold it positions itself closer to the relative measures. In this analysis, I also use the LICOs fordesignating households as above or below a poverty threshold. Table 3.3, below, summarizes the beforetax low income cut-offs for 2011.Size of family unitRural areasoutside CMA orCACA Less than30,000inhabitantsCA Between30,000 and99,999inhabitantsCMA Between100,000 and499,999inhabitantsCMA 500,000inhabitants ormore1 person 16,038 18,246 19,941 20,065 23,2982 persons 19,966 22,714 24,824 24,978 29,0043 persons 24,545 27,924 30,517 30,707 35,6574 persons 29,802 33,905 37,053 37,283 43,2925 persons 33,800 38,454 42,025 42,285 49,1026 persons 38,122 43,370 47,398 47,692 55,3787 or more persons 42,443 48,285 52,770 53,097 61,656Table 3.3: Before tax LICO values for the year 2011 (Statistics Canada, 2015a)Having designated households as above or below an energy poverty threshold, as outlined in section3.2, as well as having designated them as falling above or below low income cut-offs, as discussedabove, I construct a two by two matrix of income and energy poverty which would designate householdsposition in terms of both income and energy poverty. Table 3.4 summarizes the percentage of the50(southern) Canadian population that falls within each cell of this matrix.Not in energy poverty In energy povertyNot low income 68.6% 13.4%low income 10.5% 7.5%Table 3.4: Percentage of Canadian population struggling with poverty and/or energy povertyAs this table suggests, almost 70% of Canadians were neither low-income nor energy poor in 2011.However, 13% of the population experienced energy poverty, but not income poverty, where about 11%experienced income poverty but not energy poverty. Furthermore, there is only a 7% overlap betweenthe two categories of low-income and energy poor. In order to further demonstrate the difference be-tween the two categories (and to address concerns over LICO being a conservative measure), Figure 3.1categorizes those who experience energy poverty and those who don’t according to the distance in theirincome from the poverty line. As this figure suggests, most households in energy poverty have incomesmore than 30% above the poverty line.Figure 3.1: Energy poverty and distance from poverty lineTo further elaborate on the differences between income and energy poverty, Table 3.5 presents thebreak down of several demographic categories in each cell in the two by two matrix above. This table51Demographic categories Total numbersNeitherlow-incomenor in EPIn EP but notlow-incomeLow-incomebut not in EPBothlow-incomeand in EPSingle Parents 834,333 57% 16% 15% 13%Couples with children 3,670,064 80% 9% 5% 5%Households with seniors 3,440,280 60% 21% 11% 7%Lone senior households 1,244,720 42% 20% 24% 14%Seniors only households 2,318,654 54% 22% 15% 9%Renters 4,363,600 58% 5% 29% 9%Renters whose rent doesnot include energy bills1,906,741 61% 11% 13% 16%Households in govern-ment subsidized housing477,479 19% 5% 62% 15%Table 3.5: Percentage of households in different demographic categories according to their place-ment in the 2 x 2 matrix of low-income and energy povertysuggests that the main differences between those who are in energy poverty or are low-income (butnot both) are with regards to seniors, where more seniors tend to be in energy poverty than have low-incomes (with the exception of the lone senior category) and more importantly, with regards to renters,who are more likely to be low-income than in energy poverty. Because renters tend to live in apartmentbuildings (66% of renters live in high or low rise apartment buildings compared to 8% of non-renters),they tend to use less energy, and thus not find their energy expenses as burdensome as those who live insingle detached dwellings (which is the most common type of dwelling in Canada). This last observationreveals housing tenure to be a distinguishing feature of the two categories of ‘low-income’ and ‘facinghigher energy burdens’ when treated as mutually exclusive categories. In fact, Table 3.6, below, furtherdemonstrates the make up each of the cells in the 2 by 2 matrix according to housing tenure.What these explorations collectively point to is that when energy poverty is defined as it is here,it distinguishes itself from (income) poverty by becoming a lower-middle class issue (median incomefor households who are in energy poverty is around $44,000 annually, which is more than double the$17,000 annual income of those who are low-income but not in energy poverty). The majority of thosewho suffer from energy poverty, then, tend to own2 their dwellings (which are often larger and single-detached), but spend a disproportionately large portion of their income on maintaining it at comfortable2with or without mortgage52Housing Tenure Total numbersNeitherlow-incomenor in EPin EP but notlow-incomelow-incomebut not in EPbothlow-incomeand in EPOwned with mortgage 4,812,813 79% 15% 1% 5%Owned without mortgage 4,219,949 69% 21% 2% 9%Rent 4,363,600 58% 5% 29% 9%Occupied rent-free 117,647 48% 26% 16% 10%Table 3.6: Percentage of households in different housing tenure categories according to their place-ment in the 2 x 2 matrix of low-income and energy povertytemperatures.Of course, this is not to suggest that low-income households do not suffer from energy poverty —1 million households, in fact, are both low-income and in energy poverty. However, addressing theexperience of energy poverty for low-income households should primarily focus on increasing incomes,which will reduce the relative burden of securing energy services as well as other necessities. Increas-ing incomes and reducing inequality will address the part of the problem of energy poverty which isprimarily a problem of low incomes. However, to address the part of the problem which is more a func-tion of the energetic performance of the house and its appliances, a different set of actions is, perhaps,recommended. Next section, more specifically explores factors that may contribute to the experience ofenergy poverty in Canada.3.4 Energy poverty modelsHaving identified an appropriate threshold for energy poverty, and having teased it apart from (income)poverty, I develop a logistic model of energy poverty as a function of the key socio-demographic, geo-graphic and household infrastructural variables in this section. I develop this model in three stages, firstonly accounting for socio-demographic variables, next adding geography, and lastly adding householdinfrastructural variables. Table 3.7 summarizes the results of the logistic regression models that corelatethese various factors to being in energy poverty.The literature on energy poverty suggests that certain socio-demographic groups are more at riskof being in energy poverty. The study of energy poverty in BC by the Canadian Centre for policyalternatives, for example, suggest that53model 1: socio-demographics model 2: model 1 + geography model 3: model 2 + housing variablesEstimate Std. Error t value Pr(> |t|) Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(> |t|) Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(> |t|)Demographic variables(Intercept) 1.5E+00 1.7E-01 8.9E+00 <2E-16*** 9.4E-01 1.9E-01 5.0E+00 6.8E-07*** -8.2E-02 2.6E-01 -3.2E-01 7.5E-01Before taxes income -5.2E-05 3.9E-06 -1.3E+01 <2E-16*** -5.6E-05 4.3E-06 -1.3E+01 <2E-16*** -6.1E-05 4.9E-06 -1.3E+01 <2E-16***Size of Households 1.8E-01 5.5E-02 3.2E+00 1.3E-03** 1.5E-01 5.9E-02 2.6E+00 9.6E-03** -5.3E-02 7.2E-02 -7.4E-01 4.6E-01Single Parents 1.8E-01 1.6E-01 1.1E+00 2.7E-01 1.9E-01 1.6E-01 1.2E+00 2.4E-01 2.0E-01 1.7E-01 1.2E+00 2.3E-01Couples with children -4.9E-02 1.7E-01 -3.0E-01 7.7E-01 -1.4E-02 1.8E-01 -7.8E-02 9.4E-01 2.0E-01 1.9E-01 1.0E+00 3.0E-01Households with children under 3 3.2E-02 1.9E-01 1.7E-01 8.7E-01 8.1E-03 1.9E-01 4.2E-02 9.7E-01 1.4E-01 1.9E-01 7.0E-01 4.8E-01Households with seniors -9.1E-02 1.2E-01 -7.7E-01 4.4E-01 -9.4E-02 1.2E-01 -7.5E-01 4.5E-01 -7.5E-02 1.2E-01 -6.1E-01 5.5E-01Households with a member with adisability4.3E-01 1.0E-01 4.1E+00 3.9E-05*** 3.0E-01 1.1E-01 2.7E+00 6.1E-03** 3.3E-01 1.1E-01 3.0E+00 3.2E-03**Housing costs 1.4E-05 7.2E-06 1.9E+00 5.5E-02. 1.5E-05 8.0E-06 1.9E+00 6.5E-02. 1.7E-05 8.6E-06 2.0E+00 4.4E-02*Renters -3.9E+00 2.3E-01 -1.7E+01 <2E-16 *** -4.1E+00 2.4E-01 -1.7E+01 <2E-16*** -3.3E+00 2.6E-01 -1.2E+01 <2E-16***Renters whose rent does not includeenergy2.9E+00 2.2E-01 1.3E+01 <2E-16*** 3.3E+00 2.3E-01 1.4E+01 <2E-16*** 3.1E+00 2.4E-01 1.3E+01 <2E-16***Households with seniors who rent -9.2E-01 2.4E-01 -3.8E+00 1.3E-04*** -7.8E-01 2.4E-01 -3.2E+00 1.3E-03** -6.4E-01 2.4E-01 -2.6E+00 8.3E-03**Geographic variables(Quebec is reference for province)Newfoundland and Labrador 1.3E+00 1.5E-01 8.5E+00 <2E-16*** 1.2E+00 1.5E-01 8.0E+00 2.6E-15***Prince Edward Island 2.0E+00 1.9E-01 1.1E+01 <2E-16*** 1.9E+00 2.0E-01 9.8E+00 <2E-16***Nova Scotia 1.4E+00 1.4E-01 9.9E+00 <2E-16*** 1.3E+00 1.5E-01 8.7E+00 <2E-16***New Brunswick 1.2E+00 1.4E-01 8.9E+00 <2E-16*** 1.1E+00 1.4E-01 7.9E+00 1.0E-14***Ontario 1.1E+00 1.4E-01 8.4E+00 <2E-16*** 1.1E+00 1.4E-01 7.6E+00 8.3E-14***Manitoba 3.5E-01 1.4E-01 2.5E+00 1.4E-02* 1.7E-01 1.5E-01 1.1E+00 2.6E-01Saskatchewan 1.2E+00 1.5E-01 7.9E+00 1.1E-14*** 9.7E-01 1.6E-01 6.1E+00 1.2E-09***Alberta 1.3E+00 1.6E-01 8.0E+00 3.4E-15*** 1.2E+00 1.7E-01 7.0E+00 6.2E-12***British Columbia -8.9E-02 1.6E-01 -5.7E-01 5.7E-01 -3.7E-03 1.7E-01 -2.2E-02 9.8E-01Rural Households 5.2E-01 1.1E-01 4.6E+00 5.0E-06*** 2.7E-01 1.2E-01 2.2E+00 2.5E-02*Housing quality variablesNumber of rooms in the house 5.0E-01 5.9E-02 8.6E+00 <2E-16***Single-detached houses 7.4E-01 1.3E-01 5.8E+00 1.0E-08***Dwelling in need of major repairs 4.5E-01 1.4E-01 3.3E+00 9.3E-04***Period of construction for dwelling -7.3E-02 2.8E-02 -2.6E+00 9.4E-03**Over-crowding -3.9E-02 3.2E-01 -1.2E-01 9.0E-01Residual Deviance 0.6795 0.6407 0.5991Table 3.7: Logistic models of energy poverty54Energy poverty is more prevalent among certain types of households, including single par-ents (mostly female), seniors, and young adults, all of whom are more likely to be rentersand live in older and less energy-efficient housing stock (Lee et al., 2011, p.13).However, this claim does not seem to be substantiated by other data or references to other research. Infact, when considering only socio-demographic variables (model 1), with the exception of householdswhere a member lives with a disability none of the household types investigated here are significantlyassociated with being at an increased risk of energy poverty. What does seem to be significant is income(the higher the income the lower the likelihood of being in energy poverty, obviously), the size of thehousehold (the more members in a household the higher the likelihood of being in energy poverty) andvarious housing tenure type variables. Higher total housing costs seems to be marginally significantin increasing chances of being in energy poverty. Renters as a whole group are less likely to be inenergy poverty than non-renters — however, renters for whom none of the energy costs are included inrent are at an increased risk indeed. The interaction term for the variables ‘seniors’ and ‘renters’ alsosuggests that seniors that rent their accommodations are significantly less likely to be in energy poverty.What this investigation of the socio-demographic variables suggests is that patterns of energy povertyin Canada, at least, do not align with categories of households typically thought to be more vulnerableto the experience.The addition of geographical variables to the model confirms that rural households are indeed morelikely to be in energy poverty than their urban counterparts. Furthermore, this model is in line with theincidents of energy poverty in each province laid out earlier.Finally, the addition of housing variables suggests that every additional room in the house increasesthe log-odds of being in energy poverty by 0.5. Furthermore, taking account of this variable (here usedas a proxy for the size of the house) does not render the effect of rurality insignificant, but reduces themagnitude of its estimate, suggesting that rural households are at an increased risk of energy povertyat least partially because rural houses tend to be larger. This model also reveals that single detacheddwellings as well as those in need of major repairs are, unsurprisingly, at a higher risk of energy poverty.Furthermore, living in newer buildings decreases the odds of being in energy poverty.Over-crowding3seems to have no significant effect on chances of being in energy poverty.3Over-crowding is defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), according to the National Occu-pancy Standard (NOS), as a situation in which not enough bedrooms are available in the house. Enough bedrooms means553.5 Conclusion: energy poverty in CanadaGiven the key exclusions of First Nations communities and Northern Canada, the picture of energypoverty that emerges from this exploration using expenditure-based metrics suggests that energy povertyis a problem somewhat distinct from poverty through the influence of housing infrastructural variables.In fact, based on this analysis it would seem that the majority of those who are suffering from higherenergy burdens have incomes more than 30% above the LICO-based poverty lines — these are oftenhouseholds who own their single-detached houses, which tend to bigger, and for some in need of majorrepairs (though not necessarily older). The often mentioned demographic groups of single parents,seniors and households with small children do not seem to be at a significantly higher risk of energypoverty.Geographically, incidences of energy poverty are higher in the maritimes, followed by provincesthat have deregulated or semi-deregulated electricity markets (Alberta and Ontario). Quebec, BritishColumbia and Manitoba (incidentally, provinces that primarily rely on large crown corporation ownedhydro facilities for the production of their electricity) have the lowest incidences of energy poverty insouthern Canada. Rural households, regardless of their home province, have higher chances of experi-encing energy poverty.However, I would like to reiterate that this picture is inherently incomplete. Not only does it excludecommunities that we have reason to believe face the highest energy burdens4, but also in its focuson expenditure-based measures discounts the experience of households who intentionally under-heattheir homes to manage their energy bills. The use of consensual measures of energy poverty, such assubjective indicators of whether households feel they can afford to maintain comfortable temperaturesin their homes, would improve analyses of energy poverty by giving full weight to the experience of thisgroup. The following chapters aim to expand on this rough analysis by considering non-expenditurebased measures and delving deeper into the processes that create energy poverty.one bedroom for: “each cohabiting adult couple; each lone parent; unattached household member 18 years of age and over;same-sex pair of children under age 18; and additional boy or girl in the family, unless there are two opposite sex childrenunder 5 years of age, in which case they are expected to share a bedroom. A household of one individual can occupy a bachelorunit (i.e. a unit with no bedroom)” (CMHC, 2014).4For urban First Nations communities, the combination of lower incomes and the reliances on predominantly single-detached homes constitute an exacerbating factor. For, Northern, remote and rural communities the additional cost of energyon a per unit basis, as well as often colder temperatures would increase burdens of access to energy services56Chapter 4Nobody is Cold4.1 IntroductionIn the Introduction, I laid out an overview of energy poverty across Canada and in addition to highlight-ing the important insights of this analytical view, discussed several shortcomings of such an analysis.These shortcomings, generally, relate to one of two problems: a) a lack of availability of certain kinds ofdata, including subjective indicators of thermal comfort and energy burdens, as well as data on northernand remote communities and First Nations reserves, who arguably, and as I will demonstrate in thischapter, face some of the highest energy burdens in the country; And b) problems relating to the use ofenergy expenditures as indicators for energy poverty and its experience. In this chapter, I turn to a casestudy chosen, specifically, to allow for an exploration of some aspects of energy poverty that was leftout of the previous discussion.This chapter, then, focuses on experiences of precarious energy access in a northern, ‘remote’ andFirst Nations community in British Columbia and does so by taking a practice theoretical approach tostudying energy use at the household level. Where the previous chapter was dedicated to demonstratingthe existence of immense inequalities in access to energy service across Canada, and highlighting someof the factors that contribute to the production of these inequalities, this chapter focuses on demon-strating just how these access challenges affect people’s daily lives. In this case, I start with a viewof vulnerability as something constituted in everyday life, in engagement with material and discoursesof ’doing things’. Therefore, rather than relying on consumption and expenditure measures of energyuse/poverty, I take household practices as sites of manifestation for energy access problems. Using this57approach and a mixed-methods design that relies on data from interviews with households, energy map-ping exercises designed around household routines, survey data and ethnographic-type fieldnotes, I aimto look at multiple manifestations of precarious energy access.This investigation of the everyday manifestations of energy poverty serves the function of address-ing the second element of Walker’s (2012) justice claims framework. As discussed in the theory section,Walker views all justice claims as composed of three elements: a description of an inequality, a discus-sion of why that inequality matters, and an analysis of how that inequality is produced. In discussingenergy poverty in the previous chapter I predominately engaged with the first and third elements of thisframework, and beyond making vague gestures in the direction of health implications of living in energypoverty, I did not attempt to answer why these inequalities matter. In this chapter, however, I centre thediscussion on the second element of this framework. I still demonstrate the existence of inequality inenergy access as it affects the residents of this remote community, and I discuss some of the ways inwhich it comes about (though refer to next chapter for a more robust discussion). But for the most part Iaim to show how precarious energy access manifests itself in, and affects the lives of folks who experi-ence it. The implication of this talking about how lives are affected by the experience of energy povertyis that some of the ways in which they are affected is not ‘acceptable’ and the experience of inequalitymatters because these conditions are unacceptable.Here, I want to briefly make visible the body that does the judging on what is deemed acceptable(hello reader!). As far as I’m concerned, this body is the contingent, heterogeneous and decentred ‘we’of the theory chapter with its political responsibilities to one another. These responsibilities includerespect for people’s agency, individually and collectively, in determining their life courses, includingthose that defy mainstream notions of the good life, as well as facilitating the conditions that enable theselives to flourish, individually (i.e. not dying of the cold) and collectively (i.e. being able to participatein collective lives free of the stigma of being “unwashed”). In other words, what is being deemedunacceptable is conditions that prevent the flourishing of individual and collective lives. In making this‘we’ and its responsibilities and judgements explicit, I hope to make clear the notions of acceptableand unacceptable to which I am not appealing. In particular, I hope to de-stabilize the notion of theunacceptability of ‘third world’ conditions for ‘first world’ lives and the ambiguous position afforded toFirst Nations communities in Canada in that dichotomy (Stryker, 2011) . This distinction between firstand third world poverty (or poverty in the Global North and South, as the more polite academy insists)58forms a central part of the Canadian political discourse on tackling poverty in Canada’s indigenouscommunities (see CBC News, 2007; Commisso, 2013; Levasseur and Marcoux, 2015; Spurr, 2016;Stastna, 2011, for example), but serves to reinforce the entitlements of this first world in ways that adiscussion of poverty that is also attentive to race would find problematic.Making visible the judgement of this ‘we’ in evaluating parts of other people’s lives is, in my view,an important part of discussing why inequality matters. However, the judgements of those whose livesare impacted by these persistent inequalities, in this case in energy access, are without a doubt even moreimportant, and often the only clues we have as to how these inequalities are experienced. In adoptinga social practice theoretical approach to the study of energy poverty, I’ve aimed to give primacy tothese experiences by locating the manifestation of energy poverty in accounts and observations of howthe things of everyday life are done, and how failure in the successful accomplishment of these thingshinders not only the physical survival of some individuals, but their ability to participate in the sociallife of their communities. I will begin by outlining how social practice theory may be used to discussquestions of inequality, including the development of a language of access, which I deem essential indiscussing inequality in access to energy services. I, then, introduce the details of my case study andgo about answering the question of how energy poverty manifests itself in household practices: in howactivities are performed, in when practices are deemed (un)successful and in how energy use and accessis talked about?4.2 Theory4.2.1 Social practice theory and inequalitySocial Practice Theory (SPT) demands a focus on what energy does, rather than ‘energy’ in the abstract.And what energy does is what gets accomplished in social practices like cooking, commuting, andbathing. Partaking in these practices, not only provides for the meeting of some material need, but,more importantly, allows participation in social life. Practices, as I’ve already discussed, indeed, makeup social life. What’s at stake, when I talk about energy poverty, therefore, is not how much energy ahousehold might use, but rather whether they have the ability to fully partake in social life. Definingthis social life in terms of a series of practices that are relevant to energy use, I can look at how thesepractices get performed, and if/when compromises are made in the successful performance of them due59to access challenges.However, social practice theory, at least as conceptualized by Schatzki (Schatzki et al., 2001; Schatzki,1996, 2002) and used by Elizabeth Shove and her collaborators (Hand and Shove, 2007; Shove andPantzar, 2005; Shove, 2010, 2012, 2003) lacks the vocabulary for talking about inequality and the pol-itics of its creation. There are, as it happens, several critiques of Social Practice theory on the groundsof its engagement (or lack there of) with concepts of inequality and questions of politics. For example,Andrew Sayer (2013) offers a critique of Social Practice theory and its conception of agency on thebasis of its political implications. Focusing on SPT’s discounting of people’s understandings of whythey do what they do, Sayer argues that it strips individuals of their reflexivity and autonomy while inits emphasis on the importance of policy places all agency and political power in the hands of a policyelite:On the one hand ordinary people’s active, evaluative relation to what they do is not ac-knowledged, while on the other, policy makers’ actions with respect to them are, of course,assumed to be guided by precisely such normative reason. This is problematic not only be-cause of its inconsistency, but because of its political implications: policy and politics thenbecome a matter of manipulation of the public by an elite, which monopolises the capacityfor practical reasons. (p.172)While one of the many appeals of a practice theoretical approach to studying energy use is thedeemphasizing of individual choice and the language of ‘decision making’ that goes along with it ineconomics, psychology, and engineering approaches, Sayer’s critique highlights the political problemsassociated with this over-correction.Many of the actions involved in the practices of everyday life are indeed routine performances thatmay not involve much reflection on the part of their practitioners. However, this observation should notpreclude the possibility of active reflection or creative manipulation of the elements of practice. Much ofwhat I’ve learnt in working with communities that may be thought of as in situations of precarious energyaccess, indeed is an account of reflexive, adaptive coping strategies employed by community membersin dealing with this precariousness. In fact, I would suggest that the ability to perform practices ofeveryday life in an unreflexive manner is a privilege itself, unavailable to those whose access to basicservices is always on the verge of being interrupted.60Breakdowns and interruptions, Frank Trentmann (2009) argues, “can serve as a temporary flash-light, illuminating dynamics of everyday life that lie obscured in more continuous and holistic accountsof consumer culture (p.89)”. Those who live with constant interruptions in energy services can offerconscious reflexive accounts of the ways in which they perform practices that have significant bearingon their energy use. The coping strategies of my interview participants discussed in this chapter, offera corrective to the view of practitioners as unreflexive automatons, and highlight the need as well as thepossibility of understanding practices through narratives offered by practitioners.Other critiques of Social Practice theory as a framework for talking about issues of energy povertyand environmental justice centre around its inability to account for inequalities. There are indeed veryfew examples of research that employ social practice theory to account for social inequity or the ex-perience of poverty. A possibility is offered by Walker (2013) using the analytical distinction between‘practices as entities’ and ‘practices as performances’ to enable speaking about the experiences of mate-rial poverty as ones that can be viewed as instances of failure to successfully perform a practice. Walkerthen goes on to suggest that Sen’s capabilities framework (Sen, 1985, 1999) can be paired with socialpractice theory to discuss these experiences as failure to achieve the functionings of Sen’s frameworkand the practices of everyday life.While there are parallels between Sen’s capabilities framework and teleologically organized prac-tices, there are also incomensurabilities between the two, particularly when it comes to questions ofagency and choice. However, Walker’s (2013) discussion of the analytical distinction between practicesas entities and practices as performances goes some way towards enabling discussion of differences inperformances and outcomes of those performances for different people — a topic that social practicetheory tends to shy away from, if not actively dismiss. While this distinction opens up the possibilityof talking about differential outcomes of performances for different groups of people, it shines littlelight on why those differences exist. I would suggest that social practice theory’s inability to talk aboutinequality in performances and outcomes stems from an ambivalence towards the processes by whichmaterials required for practices are accessed and used in practices and their performances.In a recent paper, Shove and Walker (2014) discuss Schatzki’s conception of material arrangementsas something outside of and prefigurative to practices. They go on to suggest that in Schatzki’s (2006)formulation of practice theory “practices ‘happen’ (in the present),” while “material arrangements andinfrastructures ‘exist”’ (Shove and Walker, 2014, p.50). The delegation of practices and the mate-61rial arrangements required for their performances to two different temporalities creates a taken-for-grantedness of materials in the moment of the performance of practice.Shove andWalker (2014) insist that this prefigurative existence does not grant material arrangementsa power of their own as externalized factors, but rather that these material arrangements only have effect“in and through the trajectories or ‘lives’ of specific social practices” (p.50). What SPT remains silenton, however, is how these pre-existing material arrangements are brought into practices. SPT wouldcontend that the knowledge and expertise gained by practitioners over time includes an understandingof the need for certain material arrangements. In taking these material arrangements for granted, aspre-existing and prefigurative, these formulations of SPT ignore the question of how access to thesematerial arrangements is secured. So, while the practice of cooking contains knowledge of the need anduse of, say, a gas stove, practitioners of social practice theory in their analyses of the practice of cookingtake the presence of the gas and the stove for granted. Of course, neither the gas nor the stove simply‘exist.’ Access to the gas is secured through a contract with a natural gas supplier and arrangementsfor payment in exchange for the commodity, assuming that physical access to networks of natural gasdistribution is already secured in the building in which the cooking is to take place. Access to the stovemight have been secured by buying a stove, by stealing one, by building one or might be continuouslynegotiated and secured by making arrangements for the use of a neighbour’s stove.The triviality of the example, perhaps, serves to reinforce why the existence of these material ar-rangements is often taken for granted and questions of access never arise. However, it should alsodemonstrate how the taking for granted of the existence of material arrangements in SPT analyses wouldpreclude discussions of inequality, where what’s at stake is very much the securing of access to these‘existing’ arrangements of material. This chapter, therefore, takes as its theoretical goal the unsettlingof that taken-for-grantedness of material arrangements in the lives of practices, and aims to empiricallydemonstrate that the shapes of everyday practices have everything to do with the arrangements and rela-tionships of access to these taken-for-granted materials of practices. In doing so, however, my primarygoal is to present a descriptive account of how inequality in access to energy is experienced and how thelives of those who experience precarious energy access is impacted.624.2.2 A language of accessHaving identified the taken-for-grantedness of access to material arrangements in practice theoreticalaccounts as one of the prime reasons for the challenges in producing work on inequality using thisframework, I propose a language of access to specifically enable talking about how access to mate-rial arrangements is secured through various active strategies on the part of practitioners and practicesthemselves.Practice as a nexus of sayings and doings includes knowledge of materials required by the practiceand modes of securing them. Practitioners in developing the requisite skills for a practice learn a myriadof detail about the material arrangements that are used in practices in which they partake. They willlearn, say for the practice of cooking, about the quality of various ingredients, where to buy them sothey are freshest, cheapest, or in case of speciality ingredients “available”. They might learn how togrow or hunt some of their own ingredients or choose to import in bulk and store in various waysthose that are not available in their area. They will learn about appropriate kitchen equipment that willenable or facilitate the use of their ingredients. They will learn where to find these items for purchase,and may well choose to build some of these equipment or modify their existing ones to enhance theirfunctionality in dealing with any new ingredients employed in their cooking practice. This knowledge,well-established in experienced practitioners, will include a distinction between socially sanctionedmodes of securing access to materials and more ‘deviant’ ways of accessing the same material (e.g.buying, borrowing, vs. dumpster diving, stealing). It will include an understanding of the establishedand conventional ways of accessing materials, as well as the possibility of creating new economies ofaccess (e.g.the emerging, so-called sharing economy and its constellation of practices).Unpacking this question of access, as these examples attempt to do, reveals that securing access tothe materials required for practice is an integral part of the practice itself, often involving partaking ina constellation of other relevant practices, and more often than not involving the ability to participatein economic exchange. While the expert practitioner navigates this securing of access with ease, thenovice practitioner or a practitioner lacking in the monetary resources required for securing access mightstruggle. But regardless of the ease with which access is secured, securing access, as Alan Warde (2005)says of consumption, is a moment in every practice. In case of materials with global supply chains,securing access entails tapping into these networks and in some cases requires accessing infrastructure63that function as mediators between these ‘resources’ and practices.This tension between practices as actions within a geographically bound notion of the ‘local’ andthe global supply chains that secure access to commodities is another facet of the problem with takingthe material arrangements of practices for granted. The version of SPT that I most use and rail against,often implicitly, and sometimes explicitly bounds them to the realm of the habitual and homely. Whilethe materials of practices (the ones taken as ‘existing’) often travel vast distances and navigate complexpolitical economies before partaking in the performances that make up practices. Therefore, in troublingthis tendency of SPT I look to Cultural Studies, where an interest in accounting for ‘cultural consump-tion’ has generated a body of social practice work, following Reckwitz (2002), which pays much closerattention to these material arrangements than the work of Schatzki and Shove allow (see Hargreaves,2011a; Halkier et al., 2011; Gram-Hanssen, 2011, for example). Furthermore, where Schatzki’s workviews practices as ‘stable’, this body of work allows for considering performances of different practicesas sites for innovation and change.There are, as I mentioned in the theory chapters, important critiques of this body of work, particu-larly on the extent to which they take practices as the central object of study rather than using practicelanguage to explain something else of interest. However, regardless of this critique, the reintegration ofmaterial arrangements back into practices is an important contribution of this work. Practices have anintimate relationship with their material arrangements in the sense that all practices, use, consume orproduce materials that are then used, consumed or modified in other practices. Material arrangements,in this sense, are very much the link between various bundles of practices. The ways in which prac-tices and their requisite material arrangements come together, therefore, have much to do with whatpractices may ’hang together’ in a bundle of practices, to use Schatzki’s terminology. Schatzki mightuse this terminology to refer to geographically and temporally close practices like ‘grocery shopping’,‘urban community garden participation’ and ‘cooking’, but the chains can and do extend to temporallyand geographically distant practices. Therefore, in expanding on the relational ontology of practicesdiscussed in the theory chapter, I take a supply chain view of practices, and analyze the performancesof the various practices of home maintenance as part of long chains of practices linked through materialand energy flows - a sort of follow the thing game (Cook, 2004) with energy.I would like to clarify how this approach is different from doing an analysis of energy flows — thekind that often is represnted by Sankey diagrams. The purpose of those analyses is often accounting for64the end-uses of various kinds of energy carriers/commodities. Extending those diagrams into the home,would generate more detailed accounts of where energy goes and perhaps begin answering the questionof what energy does but would not account for any qualitative difference in the performances that usethe same energy commodity. Taking practices as the focal point and working out to where energy comesfrom, on the other hand, would enable an explicit taking account of how differences in performancesrelate to the specifics of material arrangements and how they are accessed. This analysis thereforeforegrounds the procedures of securing access to materials and material arrangements in performancesof household practices.In securing access to materials and material arrangements, I will talk about two kinds of materialsand material arrangements: Those that will directly get used or consumed in the practice (I will refer tothese as ingredients) and those that by transforming and transporting these materials mediate access tothe first class of materials (infrastructure). For both groups of materials, there are a number of questionsat the heart of issues of access, specifically regarding ownership of these material arrangements, theprocesses through which ownership itself or use rights are transferred so that material arrangements canbe used in practices, and the entities that govern and regulate this transfer. Therefore, in talking aboutstrategies for securing access to material arrangements I will use the following terminology to highlightthe various elements in the chains of access:Ingredients of practice: Material directly used or consumed in practices. Food ingredients and gasfor cooking, for example. With regards to energy, I classify ’energy carriers’ such as electricity, naturalgas and wood, under this heading.Infrastructure of practice: Material arrangements used to transform the ingredients of practice tousable state and transport to location of use. Infrastructures of practice are products of other practices.In this sense, this class of material arrangements are closest to what Schatzki terms ’existing’ materialarrangements. Powerplants, electricity grids, pipelines, trucks, and roads, on the one hand, stoves, andother kitchen equipment on the other.Transactions of a practice: the ’moment’ in which use rights/ownership of ingredients or infras-tructure is transferred from one entity to another. Direct market exchange, for example, for the purchaseof vegetables used in cooking, or service contracts with and payment of bills for utility companies.These transactions are governed by a number of relationships.Pathways of access: pathways leading to transactions for securing of access to ingredients. It’s65important to note that there aren’t always multiple pathways to securing of ingredients. But as anexample, purchasing electricity from the local utility company (or companies) versus generating one’sown electricity via solar panels constitute different pathways to accessing electricity as an ingredient.Relationships of access: the relationships governing the transactions of practice. These includefinancial, familial, communal, legal, moral rules and norms around how transactions take place and howentities engaged in transaction are responsible to each other.With this language of access in mind, I will begin discussing the ways in which precarious energyaccess manifests itself in the village of Tsay Keh.4.3 Tsay Keh and energy accessThe village of Tsay Keh is located in the Rocky mountain Trench, about 430 km north of Prince George,BC. The community can be accessed via a nine to eleven hour drive on logging roads or, as I did, bya small plane. The Tsay Keh Dene are Sekani people, related by kinship and intermarriage to theneighbouring communities of Kwadacha and Takla Lake. The total population of the Nation as ofDecember 2014 wass 477, less than half of whom live in the village (AANDC) . I did my fieldworkin Tsay Keh during February and March of 2013. At the time there were 73 houses in the village withplans to build 12 more in the following years. I interviewed 42 of these households during my fieldwork,including all households that were in the village at the time and willing to talk to me, and as guided bymy two community research assistants.Tsay Keh is one of about 30 communities in British Columbia (and among over 250 such commu-nities in Canada) that are classified as ‘remote’ communities. Natural Resources Canada designates acommunity as remote if it is a permanent settlement (more than 5 years old), with at least 10 dwellings,and without access to the electricity grid or the natural gas network (Natural Resources Canada, 2011).Remoteness in the case of these communities necessitates special arrangements for the provision of en-ergy needs, often involving community or privately owned generators for electricity and the use of wood,propane or fuel oil for heating — all but wood, constituting much more expensive modes of access toenergy services than those provided by the networked arrangements of energy service provision.Tsay Keh’s remoteness from networks of energy distribution is, however, a complicated remoteness:The community is situated at the northern tip of the Williston reservoir, BC’s largest reservoir, supplyingthe hydroelectric force behind the WAC Bennett dam, which generates about one third of all electricity66generated in BC Hydro. What’s more, the community was displaced from their homes for the purposeof the development of this dam.BC Hydro’s website boasts the WAC Bennett dam as “one of the world’s largest earthfill structures”(BC Hydro). The construction of the dam started in 1961 and lasted until 1968, at a time when thepolitical forces at play in BC, exemplified by the then Premier WAC Bennett, were actively engaged inprojects of transformation of nature and its resources to the end of creating a particular vision of BC: anurban, connected and prosperous British Columbia (Loo, 2004). In the process of this transformation,the WAC Bennett dam, flooded 350,000 - 400,000 acres of land at the confluence of the Finlay, Peaceand Parsnip rivers and drowned the Tsay Keh Dene villages of Fort Grahame, Finlay Forks and Ingenika(Loo, 2007; Baker et al., 2000).The displaced people of Tsay Keh Dene eventually settled in Ingenika Point where they awaited,until 1989, a resolution to the federal and provincial negotiations on the nature of resettlement andcompensation. In 1989, they relocated to their current village at the northern tip of the reservoir, wherethey remain disconnected from the grid22.214.171.124 Meeting energy service needs in Tsay KehElectricityLike many remote, First Nations communities, the village relies on a battery of diesel generators and acommunity grid to supply electricity to the village. Electricity is used for lighting, refrigeration, somecooking (some stoves are electric, some propane), some heating (through the use of plug-in heaters andbaseboard electric heating in the newer houses), as well as powering electronics. The generators in thevillage produced 1520 MWhr of electricity in 2011, with a peak of 394kWe (Wilson, 2013).Historically (and currently) the community’s elected band council government has paid (and con-tinues to pay) the financial costs associated with the generation of electricity for the entire village. Theoperation of the diesel generators has been the responsibility of the nation (through various private con-tractors, including BC Hydro) until 2013 and solely with BC Hydro through the Remote CommunityElectrification (RCE) program since then. Prior to the implementation of the RCE, Indigenous andNorthern Affairs Canada (INAC) provided funding for electricity provision using a curious formula tak-1I cover more of the history of dam development and its impacts on people of Tsay Keh Dene in the following chapter,where I situate it within a discussion of the provincial electricity policy in BC67ing as its basis an annual 9 MWhr average electricity demand per residence. This average for Tsay Keh,was 13.5 MWhrs per residence for 2011 (Wilson, 2013) and has grown to about 15 MWhrs for 2015.Any amount of electricity use beyond the 9 MWhr was not covered by INAC. Since the responsibilityfor electricity provision was transferred to BC Hydro in 2013, this INAC funding goes to BC Hydrodirectly and BC Hydro charges the community for its electricity use at rural BC rates 2.Table 4.1, below, summarizes relationships, pathways and infrastructure of access for householdsaccessing electricity in the village. I have traced the chain of access only one step outside of the house— in case of Tsay Keh, this happens to lead to the moment of electricity generation itself. However,chains of access to ingredients of this step (e.g.the diesel) can be traced much further back, to oil ex-traction and its politics. This stepping outside of the home to trace of chains of access in practice,as I have argued, is intended to disrupt the taken-for-grantedness of materials and reveal the ways inwhich pathways to and relationships of access are important in the performance of practices themselves.In the case of access to electricity in the village, it is important to note the presence of the mediatingentity ‘elected government’. The elected band council government is the mediator between the house-hold and electricity provider, handling the financial transaction on behalf of the entire community. AsI will demonstrate in the following section, the presence of this mediating entity has profound impli-cations both for how household maintenance practices are performed, and for how energy poverty andvulnerability is experienced in the community.PropaneIn Tsay Keh households, propane is an ingredient to a number of practices: The older houses in thevillages (built in 1990) were built with dual propane/wood furnaces, making propane a heating fuel forsome houses. Newer phases of housing construction have not followed this trend — in fact, the newestof the houses are equipped with wood stoves and baseboard electric heaters. And though the majorityof the houses are equipped with propane burning furnaces, few households use propane as their mainheating fuel due to its cost. As Figure 4.1 shows, the majority of the households that I surveyed usewood for heat. Many use propane for times that wood can’t adequately meet their comfort needs (in thespring, for example, when burning wood would make the house too hot for comfort) or when they areaway in winter and want to ensure that their pipes don’t freeze.2Rural or Zone II rates are about 20% higher than Zone I rates in BC68Ingredient ElectricityInfrastructure Diesel generators, community grid, diesel transportationnetworks via tankers and trucksPathways to accessOnly through the community grid for those living in the village.Through the use of personal generators for those living in cabinsoutside of the village.Relationships of AccessBetween households and nation’s elected government:Residence-based. All residents receive free electricity.Between nation’s elected government and electricity provider:charged at rural BC rates through the RCE program.Moment of TransactionFor households: plugging inFor nation’s elected government: Signing contract with RCE.Receiving monthly bills.Table 4.1: Access to electricityThe most common use for propane, in the everyday life of the village is for water heaters. Thoughresidents and the nation’s elected government are starting to make a transition to electric water heaters,the majority of the households in the village still use propane water heaters. Figure 4.2, below, showsfuel sources for water heaters in the village (the None response belongs to a household who didn’t havea water heater). Fuel source for cooking is also a mix of propane and electricity for different households,depending on whether the house was equipped with an electric or gas stove.Propane is, therefore, used for cooking, heating, and activities that require hot water to varying de-grees, for various households. All but the newest of houses in the villages (a total of 6, 4 of whom arepresent in my sample) use propane in the house for some purpose. These households gain access topropane following one of two pathways: Elders (whose propane expenses are covered by the nation’sgovernment) and those who can afford large lump sum payments have accounts with a propane distrib-utor (Superior Propane) from Prince George, who delivers propane to the village and fills their largepropane tanks a few times in the year, depending on use. Those who can’t afford the payments, or preferto more closely manage their propane use, buy propane from the local store in 100-pound tanks, whichlast between 2-4 weeks before needing to be refilled.Table 4.2 summarizes these pathways and relationships of access. Please note, again, the presenceof the nation’s elected government as a mediating entity in the elders’ pathway of access to propane.69Figure 4.1: Main source of heat among Tsay Keh householdsIngredient PropaneInfrastructure100 lb propane tanks, large household propane storage tanks,larger propane storage tank at community store, propanetransportation truckPathways to AccessHouseholds can purchase small, 100 lb tanks of propane fromthe community storeHouseholds who can afford larger sum payments and elderswhose propane expenses are covered by the nation’s electedgovernment have contracts with a supplier in Prince George,which delivers propane to their homes to be stored in their largepropane storage tanks.Relationships of AccessFor most: purchase from either community store or PrinceGeorge supplier.For elders: community membership.Moment of Transaction At delivery time, or purchase point.Table 4.2: Access to propane70Figure 4.2: Main source of for water heatersWoodAs Figure 4.1, above, suggests, wood is the main heating fuel for households in the village. Woodcollection for winter use is carried out throughout the year, sometimes as outings for the entire nu-clear family, others by members from different nuclear families. The nation’s government has a woodcollection program, which employs individuals to collect wood for elders and those who can’t collecttheir own wood. Access to wood, ‘as a resource’ that can be chopped down and brought into the homeis granted through community membership, while familial relationships mediate the actual collectionprocess. Table 4.3, below, summarizes these pathways and relationships of access.4.4 How people do things or a note on methodsMy work in Tsay Keh attempts to study “practices in practice” while avoiding the more intrusive meth-ods of doing so. As such, I developed a method for an energy mapping exercise that invites participantsto draw maps of their home, talk about the kinds of things they do in each room, place on this map71Ingredient WoodInfrastructure Chainsaws, trucks (both ingredients of the practice of woodcollection), wood stovesPathways to AccessFor elders or those with mobility challenges (both in terms ofphysical fitness and having access to a truck): nation’s electedgovernment wood collection program or collection by familymembers.For other households: collecting own wood.Relationships of AccessFor those collecting their own wood: community membership asgranting access to wood in territoryFor those relying on others for wood collection: communitymembership and familial supportMoment of Transaction Cutting of wood (and delivery to home)Table 4.3: Access to woodtheir energy consuming equipment and discuss the manner and frequency of use of each item in variouspractices. These sketches and “maps” were not intended to provide a visual of where the most energyintensive activities take place — but were, rather, intended to help participants think about their variousactivities in a spatially grounded way without requiring the physical intrusion of having a researcher intheir home. In other words, the method was designed to allow individuals to participate in the interviewsat a location of their choosing. And in fact, seven of the 42 household interviews I conducted in TsayKeh took place at places other than the interviewee’s homes (this includes their place of work in threecases, at the administration office in another three cases, and at the community health centre in the lastcase).In practice, many participants not only invited me in to do the mapping exercise, but insisted onshowing me how some practices were performed and what configuration of appliances they used toachieve various goals. Transcripts from these interviews include my narration of things that I am beingshown, which supplement the output of the mapping exercise and my own fieldnotes from the visit.I coded this data in several phases, first quantifying information from maps and interviews, thenopen-coding interview transcripts for emergent themes, and finally coding with the categories of mytheoretical framework. I should mention that the categories I proposed above to enable the use of socialpractice theory in talking about resource access and equality are loosely based on the emergent themesof the first phase of coding.72For each household visit, therefore, I have an interview transcript, a quantitative survey, a record ofmaximum and minimum temperatures and relative humidity in the livingroom over a 24 hour period,and housing activity maps, including their quantified versions. For most households, I also have accessto historic electricity consumption. This information collectively paints a picture of how householdpractices are performed in different households in Tsay Keh. In the following section, I will presentdescriptions of several of these common household practices, highlighting moments of compromise andrelationships of access.4.5 How people do thingsBefore I dive into descriptions of household activities, I want to reiterate the reasons for the inclusion ofsuch ‘mundane’ details of how household activities are performed. At the most obvious level, studyingthe mundane activities of life includes a large degree of minute detail which is hard to ‘make interest-ing’. But why ask such questions in the first place and how does it relate to energy poverty/justice? Iask them because taking practices and their performance as sites of the social and fundamental units ofanalysis necessitates engaging with the detail of their performance. It is in such detail that normativeunderstandings about how practices should be performed is revealed and questions, like what do ‘suc-cessful’ performances achieve and what desired qualities are compromised when performances are notdeemed successful, are answered. In other words, the details of how different practices are performedand what levels of ‘success’ these performances entailed help answer the bigger questions of how isenergy poverty experienced for those who experience it, and what consequences it has (what things arecompromised on) for them.4.5.1 LaundryI guess I’ll ask you about laundry next. Um, how do you do your laundry? Like how manyloads do you do in a week? How full is it? What settings do you use? Those kinds ofthings.I usually use the cold water.Why do you use the cold water setting?To save propane.Jackie, Feb 26, 2013How about your laundry? How do you do your laundry?In cold water.73Marge, Feb 21, 2013When I ask people how they do their laundry, I ask them how often they do it, how many loads theydo in a week, what settings they use on the machine, how they dry their clothes. . . . Most consistently,and often as first description of how they do laundry, I am told that they do it in cold water, as theinterview segments above demonstrate (survey says 78% of households in Tsay Keh Always (63%) orUsually (15%) do their laundry in cold water). People answer the other parts of that question too, butthe fact that they wash their laundry in cold water is one that both they and I want to stress.As Figure 4.2, above, illustrates, the majority of water heaters in Tsay Keh use propane as heatingfuel. In fact, the shift to electric water heaters is a more recent one, so that from 1990 until quiterecently (2010) nearly all water heaters in the village relied on propane. The pathways of access topropane for households, as summarized in Table 4.2, in all cases but that of the elder residences, involvea direct market exchange either via larger, less-frequent deliveries from Superior Propane or the frequentpurchase of propane in the smaller 100lb tanks.Households have, therefore, been responsible for the procurement of their propane, which they havedone through market interactions. Households paying for their own propane, spend, on average, about$100 per month on propane (see Figure 4.3). It’s important to note, all but one data point in this figurerepresent households whose main source of heating is not propane. In other words, this average monthlyexpenditure on propane, almost exclusively reflects the use of propane for hot water and to a lesser extentcooking (50% of these households use propane as their cooking fuel).Given the cost, and the fact that propane is most commonly used in activities that require hot water,many of Tsay Keh’s households go to great lengths to economize and emphasize this economizingof their propane supply in their laundry routines (and bathing practices). When I ask why they dotheir laundry in cold water, for example, I predominantly get answers that stress “saving” propane, oras Angela puts it “so we can have more showers or baths” (Jason and Angela, Feb 18, 2013). Theyemphasize, as the examples in Table 4.4, illustrate, “saving”, “not paying [more]” and “not wasting”propane and/or hot water consistently. In this emphasis on economizing, there is the implication of acompromise: People don’t do laundry in cold water because they want to, or because that’s just how youdo laundry, but rather because they find paying for propane a financial burden and want to minimize thisburden, or as Angela goes on to say to “stretch our hot water more” (Jason and Angela, Feb 18, 2013).74Figure 4.3: Monthly propane costsThis compromise is certainly more strongly felt by households that find the cost of propane pro-hibitive to keeping up with regular payments. About a quarter of interview participants, in fact, de-scribed frequent periods of having to go without propane. In such cases, using cold water is explicitlytalked about as a compromise, as this segment from an interview, illustrates:How about your water temperature? Is that cold, warm, hot?Well, I’d like to have it warm because you know, kids play around, they need to have. . . [trails off]. Now I’ve got no propane, so it’s all cold.Yeah?Yeah. It’s not bad because the snow’s still up, but when the snowmelts it gets yucky outside,then I really need to use more [hot] water to do their clothes.Laura, Feb 25, 2013Making compromises on desired levels of cleanliness, however, is often not just a compromise oncleanliness, but, particularly for households with children, is tied up in social norms. Failing theirobservation can result in stigma around parenting. Parents who live with stigma around having kidsthat aren’t “clean” are then forced into a redoubling of efforts in the maintenance of cleanliness and theimpression of cleanliness of their kids in the community. As a woman who faces this stigma in TsayKeh explains her washing routine to me, below, for example, she is engaged in not just a description of75Table 4.4: Examples of how people explain their use of cold water for laundry as means of econ-omizing the use of propaneInterview Segment Interviewee and dateUm, and what settings do you use on the washing machine?Cold water. Yeah.Cold? Why is that?Uh, so I don’t have to pay for propane.Dora & Tim, Feb 19, 2013Um, what cycle do you use on the washing machine?Just regular.Just regular? And what temperature for the water?Cold water always.Why is that? Wouldn’t want to waste energy for the hot.Mark, Feb 19, 2013Um, what setting do you use for your laundry?Cold.Cold? And like regular, gentleRegular.Why regular and why cold?Well, cold saves hot water. Yeah. And I don’t know, just the way I wastaught I guess.Lauren, Feb 19, 2013What setting do you use on your washing machine?I use cold.Cold water? Why is that?Because um, because we only have our hot water tank for washing thedishes.Jane, Feb 25, 2013And why do you use the cold one, otherwise?It’ll save waterand the heating bill. And the propane there. Steven, Feb 20, 2013how she performs her laundry practices, but a performance of addressing this stigma by emphasizinghow hard she works at cleaning her house “for [her] children”. What’s not said here is that even before Ientered her house to interview her, I had heard all kinds of whispers about this woman’s children havinghygiene ‘issues.’ Her performance of stressing her cleaning routine to me and my community researchassistant is, implicitly, a way of addressing this stigma:What settings do you use on your washing machine?Extra wash.You do the extra wash? Why is that?Um, cause some of the kids’ clothes are far too dirty. Or they, you know, they like to crawlaround at the gym, or do this or that, or go sliding at sliding hill. I need to make sure thingsare clean. ‘Cause they have a history of super nits or bugs or whatever. I have to do blanketswith hot water, and you know, really do disinfect my house because that’s going round atthe school, right? With the head lice, and the infantigo, and stuff, I have to keep my place76clean 24/7 for my kids.Clarissa, Feb 26, 2013Stigmas of this sort prohibit full participation of those who suffer from them in the life of their com-munities. Often people are not granted the same dignity and respect as others, and this, as I discussed inthe Theory chapter, has important implications for questions of both recognition and procedural justiceas features of energy poverty. Energy poverty, in this sense, is firstly a matter of redistribution of accessto energy resources, but is also a matter of addressing the recognition-based injustices that lack of ac-cess to resources creates. Paying attention to places of compromise in desired qualities such as comfort,convenience, and cleanliness (what Wilhite et al (2003) refer to as meta energy services) in performingactivities that consume energy, reveals norms of what successful performances of these activities shouldlook like and processes that normalize new forms of demand. It also allows for investigating the ways inwhich the daily lives of those who struggle with securing access to ingredients of practices are affected.While compromises in how practitioners prefer to perform practices and associated stigmas whenpractitioners fail in their performances are certainly the most relevant to the question of how energyvulnerabilities are experienced at home, there is a second kind of answer to the question of why peopledo laundry in cold water that I would like to discuss. Here people give no economizing rationale fordoing laundry in cold water, but rather explain it as something they have always done and often go nodeeper into why it might be something that they have always done. This kind of answer sheds light onone process through which new ways of doing things (including things that may have been seen as anundesired compromise at first) can become normalized in performances of a practice. The examples inTable 4.5, below, illustrate how these kinds of answers invoke a sense of normality around the use ofcold water for laundry, where any implication of a compromise in doing so has long since vanished.It might be interesting to note that these latter kinds of responses often came from younger partici-pants, who might have grown up with cold water as the “normal” kind of water used for doing laundry.Many of them, including three of the example cited in Table 4.5, above, (19, 12 and 29), live in all-electric homes now and have no monetary reason for economizing on their hot water use. Similar totheir propane-using neighbours, these households continue to do their laundry in cold water, but unlikethem, imply no sense of it being a compromise. As Figure 4.4, below, suggests there is a generationaltrend in hot water use among households: Older interview participants mentioned using hot or warm77Table 4.5: Examples of people invoking habits and normality as explanation for doing laundry incold waterInterview Segment Interviewee and dateI just use normal and cold water.And why is that?Ummm, I don’t know. I always wash my clothes in cold water.You’ve always done that?Yeah, ’cause my stepmother said using hot water just cooks the stainsin the clothes.Janet, Feb 23, 2013How about your laundry? How do you do your laundry?In cold water.In cold water? Why is that?Just do.Again? [laugh] never thought about it? Is it how you were taught?I don’t know. It’s just natural, I guess. Always.Marge, Feb 21, 2013Um, what about the water? Is it warm or cold or warm and cold?It’s cold.It’s cold? Why do you do cold water?Because I have those cold kind of laundry soap that washes in cold.Ashlee, Feb 22, 2013what settings do you use on the washing machine?I use cold water.You use cold water? Why is that?Um. I don’t know. I just . . . cause I’m scared my clothes will shrink?[laughs]Karly and Jack, Feb 26, 2013What settings do you use on your washing machine?Cold.Cold? Why is that?I don’t know. Got so used to using cold. Rarely use any hot water forour wash. Just cold.Mary, Feb 28, 2013water, often suggesting that things wouldn’t get clean otherwise. Most middle-aged participants usecold water, but invoke an economizing rationale that emphasizes it being a compromise of how theywould prefer to do laundry. Many of the younger participants, on the other hand, seem to have takenup the habit of doing laundry in cold water, find it an adequate way of doing laundry and even in theabsence of the monetary imperative, continue to do so.This generational trend is, however, worthy of further exploration in the context of Tsay Keh’sparticular arrangement for energy provision. Given that elders don’t pay for their propane use andeveryone receives free electricity, the two groups of elders and those who live in homes with all-electricappliances (primarily newer homes, often occupied by younger families) present interesting points of78Figure 4.4: Water temperature and the rationale for its use by agecomparison in this regard, as they both effectively have access to free hot water. In Figure 4.5, below, Ihave split the data from the Figure 4.4 into two categories of those who have access to free hot water andthose who pay for heating their water. This Figure further illuminates two observations already alludedto: Firstly, that the relationships of access to the materials of practice (propane in this case) very muchinfluence the meanings attributed to those materials and subsequently how they are used in practices. Inthis case, as the top panel in the figure illustrates, most of the people who pay for heating their waternot only use cold water for their laundry, but do so with an economizing rationale that emphasizessavings (of mostly money, but sometimes propane itself, as well). When the relationships of access toingredients of a practice is an economic one, and one that practitioners find economically burdensome,the performance of this practice can reflect this vulnerability in moments of compromise from desiredqualities of comfort, convenience and /or cleanliness.79Figure 4.5: Water temperature and the rationale for its use by age and pathway of access to hotwaterThe second observation reinforced by Figure 4.5 is the persistence of the cohort effect as somethingadditional to the effects of the relationships of access. As the second panel in this figure illustrates,among households that have access to free hot water, and are therefore not bound by the economicrelationships of access, there is a clear difference between older and younger households: While allinterview participants under the age of 40 use cold water for laundry, all of those over 60 use warmwater. There are very few middle-aged participants who have free hot water access due to Tsay Keh’sparticular pattern of housing development and energy provision policies. However, the economizingbehaviour of this cohort seems to translate to more habitual behaviour among the younger cohort. Thefeeling of compromise inherent in the economizing rationale of those whose access to propane is securedthrough a direct market transaction disappears to a certain extent among these younger participants,while the performances of doing laundry remain remarkably similar. There are, of course, those whoinvoke an economizing rationale for doing laundry in cold water even as they have access to free hot80water. This group is predominately composed of those who want to save propane as a resource aboutwhich wastefulness is seen as irresponsible.4.5.2 Heating their homesThe actions and activities involved in the maintenance of a thermally comfortable home form anotherconstellation of practices of particular interest to discussions of energy access. The potential for adversehuman health impacts associated with the inability to maintain a thermally comfortable environment has,in fact, made it a prime area of focus in the literature on energy poverty. This emphasis has contributedgreatly to the establishment of the link between energy poverty and the experience of feeling cold athome, such that when subjective measures of energy poverty are used as indicators for the experiencein studies of energy poverty, the (in)ability to maintain thermal comfort in winter is always included asone of a handful of subjective indicators, if not the only one.In Tsay Keh, households attain thermal comfort through a careful and complex set of practicesinvolving multiple energy carriers. Most Tsay Keh homes built earlier than 2010 are equipped with dualpropane/wood furnaces. The newer homes, built in the past 5 years, all have baseboard electric heatingand wood stoves. There are, therefore, multiple combinations of wood stove, propane stove, baseboardelectric and electric plug-in heating used in achieving thermal comfort. In fact, most homes use morethan one source of heat: Thirty three out of the 42 households interviewed (about 80%), reported usingat least two different modes of heating in their homes on a regular basis. Nine of these households(about 20% of all households) reported using three modes of heating.Deciding on which mode of heating to use for households with access to more than one mode ofheating involves a complex calculus of trade offs between costs, convenience and comfort, as these threeenergy carriers and their associated modes of heating are secured for home heating practices throughpathways involving various degrees of physical effort and financial expense while resulting in quali-tatively different heat, both with regards to temperatures achieved and other aesthetic qualities of theexperience.As Figure 4.1, earlier in this chapter demonstrated, the majority of Tsay Keh households (70%)use wood as their main source of heating furthermore, 86% of the households use wood either astheir primary or secondary modes of heating. The practices of wood collection and burning, therefore,form important parts of the constellation of practices dedicated to maintaining thermal comfort at home.81Much of this section, therefore, will be a discussion of the use of wood heat, alone or in combinationwith other modes of heating and its implications for the experience of energy vulnerability at home.A preference for woodDo you have a preference for wood heat or propane if you could choose?prefer wood heat.Why is that?Well, it makes so much more sense. We live in the middle of a forest. So why buy propane?Makes no sense whatsoever. And [. . . ] propane heat gives me a nosebleed.Roger, Feb 22, 2013Discussions of different modes of household heating in Tsay Keh often revolved around the finan-cially burdensome procurement of propane, the ease of use of electric baseboard heating, lingeringconcerns about the safety of electric plug-in heaters and a preference for wood, both in terms of itsaesthetic qualities, and for its contribution to the energy security of households within the community.Table 4.6, below, summarizes some of the reasons interview participants gave for preferring wood overpropane or electric heat. Of course, this table does not reflect the fact that there wasn’t unanimous pref-erence for wood over all other options: While nearly everyone expressed a preference for wood overpropane, some expressed a preference for electric heat, for its convenience (ease of use, free of chargeand requiring no maintenance).In addition to its aesthetic qualities, wood contributes to households’ energy security by virtue of thefact that it is reliable and allows an independence from the costly propane. As Lauren explains, wood’splace outside of the market system enables the continued attainment of thermal comfort for everyone inthe village, including those who do not /cannot participate in the labour market:I prefer wood stove.Why is that?Because it’s more better than propane . . . because some of us don’t have jobs to buy propane.Yeah. And at least a wood stove you can go out and cut your own wood to heat your home,right? So I’d say wood stove would be better for everybody.Lauren, Feb 19, 2013Tsay Keh’s forests are part of the commons to which all community members have access. Thisis not to say that there isn’t commercial forestry interest in the territory. In fact, the Tsay Keh Dene82Table 4.6: Examples of reasons for preferring wood heatInterview Segment Interviewee and dateQuality of heatUm, so do you prefer propane heat or wood heat?Wood heat.Yeah? Why is that?Because I think it’s, it’s more comfortable, more warmer. And it’s, um,I’m used to wood heat, actually.Jane, Feb 25, 2013Okay, I forgot to ask you, you said you prefer wood, if you had a woodstove, right? what do you like about wood?It’s just better heat than propane. Propane’s got dry heat. And my littlegrandson, from that heat, he gets bleeding nose. Too dry.Mary, Feb 28, 2013Propane is too expensiveSo you have a wood furnace down here. And a furnace— propanefurnace? Um, which one do you use more?The wood.The wood? And why is that?Can’t afford propane.Dorothy, Feb 22, 2013Why do you prefer the wood over propane furnace?Cause it saves propane [. . . ] The reason why we don’t use propane isbecause it burns fast.Oh yeah?And it costs a lot to get propane. So it saves a lot of propane for usduring these winter months and the summer months.George, Feb 22, 2013How do you heat the house?Wood heat. And when it’s too cold we use, sometimes, use [thepropane] furnace, but mostly never. Cause my father in law makes surewe have wood — it costs us way too much for propane. My mother inlaw and my father in law had to help out, help us out twice withpropane, and it costs 750, at least to keep propane in there for 3 months.Clarissa, Feb 26, 2013ReliabilityYeah. Um, when it comes to heat, do you prefer electric heating orwood heat?Wood heat.Why is that?Oh you know, you can make a lot of wood and [it’s] reliable.Jackie, Feb 26, 201383Nation operates a forestry enterprise and maintains a forest licence and forest stewardship plans for thecommercial forestry practices of the nation. Community members, however, have access to Tsay Keh’straditional territory for hunting, fishing, gathering and other traditional practices.In the case of Tsay Keh, accessing communal woods is done by individuals and families collectingwood for their heating practices, as well as by the community on behalf of those who cannot collect theirown wood. As I’ve mentioned before, the nation’s elected government operates a program employingindividuals to collect wood for community elders and others with mobility issues. In the course of myinterviews, I learnt that those that are able, both in terms of physical fitness and access to means oftransportation, collect their own wood, sometimes as family outings involving the whole family withpicnics and snacks and at other times in groups of two or three adults. Elders often mentioned relyingon the ‘band program’ as well as family support and their own collection from nearby areas. Those whodidn’t have access to a truck, often mentioned relying on family and emphasized the added burden ofthis.Tsay Keh households, therefore, have access to wood for their heating needs — though this accessis not necessarily an easy one. Not only is wood collection physically demanding and time consuming,it is also not exactly ‘free’. Many of the individuals participating in my interviews often objected to thatcharacterization by mentioning the cost of gas for their vehicles, and fuels and oil for their chainsaws,as well as other incidentals:And it doesn’t cost you anything other than the time, right?She [outraged]: Of course it costs a lot.He: Just our time.Other than the time?She: I do buy some snacks. like $100 . . .He: Well, that’s not included. That’s our own doing though.She: Yeah, but, snacks. That’s only hot dogs, bread, ketchup, juice boxes. That was ahundred dollars. Plus our gas. Probably about half a tank.He: we make an event out of it. So.She: Half a tank. So, it’s about fifty dollars in gas.Jason and Angela, Feb 18, 2013You gotta think about fuel for your truck, you’ve gotta think about fuel for your saw, andnot only- with power saw you need to mix the gas, right? So you need to put oil, you needto buy two separate oils, one is called mixing oil that you have to pour into the gas can, soyou’re buying gas and mixing oil [. . . ]Sarah, Feb 25, 201384Accessing wood through the community program is also not without challenges, in terms of gettingwood that is the right size or enough:Do people bring you wood or do you collect your own?Well, the band usually brings.The band brings the wood, eh? That’s great.Yeah, last time they brought me not even a full load of wood [. . . ] there’s times they bringlong wood, when I tell them [we’ve] got a small stove.Isaac, Feb 25, 2013What’s worth stressing, however, is that despite its challenges, there are pathways of access for allcommunity members. Some of these paths are more self-reliant while others require reliance on familymembers, for their physical help, or the lending of trucks or chainsaws, or on the community woodcollection program. In this context, not only are the woods, themselves, part of the commons, but thelabour involved in their collection and transformation into fuel becomes part of this commons, makingthe commons an enactment of social relationships and obligations towards family and other relations.Wood as an ingredient to the practice of maintaining thermal comfort, therefore, is brought into thepractice by virtue of its status as part of the commons, and through the existence of social practices of itscollection, which ensure access to wood regardless of ability and mobility. Wood heat, then, becomesa reliable and accessible form of heating, which is then supplemented with other modes of heating toachieve the desired level of thermal comfort.Wood in Tsay Keh is often supplemented by electric plug-in heaters to heat rooms that never getquite warm enough or to heat the living room when it’s not nearly cold enough for the wood stove. Woodis also supplemented by propane, using the thermostatically controlled furnace, during the night, to keepwarm when the wood fire dies out or when household inhabitants are away for a few days to preventthe house and pipes from freezing in the winter. The latter set of practices, of course, take advantageof the convenience of thermostatic control to maintain comfort when the constant tending to the firerequired for operating a wood stove is not practical. It is through these supplementary heating practicesbuilt around the use of wood that Tsay Keh households attempt to achieve thermal comfort and as thefollowing section demonstrates, succeed in doing so.85Nobody’s cold: subjective and “objective” assessments of thermal comfortAs I have argued so far, the existence of wood outside of the market system and its place as commons(including familial and communal labour associated with its collection) enables pathways of access forall members of the community regardless of affluence, ability or mobility. This access provides not onlya reliable and worry-free source of heat, but also enables the maintenance of subjectively comfortablehomes in the sub-zero winters: When I asked people in Tsay Keh how often, in winter, they felt liketheir homes were warm enough, nearly 90% of them said that they were always or usually warm enough.Furthermore, no one chose the rarely or never options of this survey question. As a point of comparison,when I ask the same question in Musqueam, with a much warmer winter (see chapter 6), 72% say thesame, while 5% choose the rarely or never options.It is often quoted that WHO recommends a temperature of 21C in the main living area and 18C in thebedrooms (Hills, 2012). These numbers are widely criticized for their basis in outdated reports and lackof correspondence with field reports of temperatures at which people report being comfortable (Shove,2003). In Tsay Keh, I left a thermometer in the interviewee’s living rooms which records minimum andmaximum temperatures over the course of a 24-hour period. I returned a day after each interview andrecorded these values. In Figure 4.6, below, I have plotted ratings of thermal comfort against the rangeof temperature households experienced in late February and early March of 2013.In addition to the fact that most Tsay Keh households are able to attain thermal comfort, there aretwo observations to be made from this figure: Firstly, it is not uncommon for households to experiencelarge variations in temperature during the course of the day, especially when using wood stoves. This isexpected, of course, as fires die out in the night allowing temperatures to drop. However, despite theselarge variations, as I’ve already mentioned, 90% of the households find their homes always or usuallywarm enough in winter.Secondly, living room temperatures seem to be considerably higher in Tsay Keh than the recom-mended WHO temperature of 21 degrees. This might be attributed to the use of wood stoves and theinability to finely control the temperature in the house, however, the electrically heated homes seem tofavour these higher temperatures as well. Given the recency of electric heating in Tsay Keh, perhaps,this observation can be thought of as another example of habits, preferences and practices developed inone setting and transferred to and maintained in another, even when the original impetus for the forma-86Figure 4.6: Subjective ratings of thermal comfort vs. living room temperaturetion of those habits and preferences are removed. As was the case with the use of cold water in laundrypractices of younger households, the preference for warmer indoor temperatures, which were a featureof wood heating, seem to be continuing in electrically heated homes.In short, the constellation of practices performed with the aim of maintaining thermal comfort, in-volves a complex calculus taking into account compromises between cost, convenience, comfort andreliability. However, despite the fact that many of the Tsay Keh houses have poor insulation (partic-ularly for the climate), an overwhelming majority of residents manage to stay warm and comfortable.Investigating the pathways of access to the different ingredients of the constellation of practices thatkeep homes warm sheds light on how this is possible, given the climate, the poor thermal performance87of the housing units, and the cost of propane. The place of wood, and often the labour that goes intoits collection, outside of the market system facilitates access for nearly everyone in the village. Thisalternative pathway of access makes the experience of energy poverty markedly different from its coun-terparts in urban settings (see chapter 6) or rural ones lacking community arrangements for securingaccess to wood by those with mobility challenges.4.5.3 The third ingredient: electricityThis discussion of the practices of maintaining thermal comfort and doing laundry has highlighted rela-tionships with ingredients of practice that are rooted in the relationships of access to those ingredients.Economizing behaviour and logics are used both in relation to use of propane for hot water in laundryroutines and in the use of propane for heating. Propane, of course, is the only ingredient of practice(among energy carriers) that is procured directly by households through market exchange. The econ-omizing behaviour with regards to its use, therefore, can be thought of as a reflection of this mode ofaccess. Household practices that rely on this ingredient, especially those that by virtue of their relianceon specific infrastructures of practice (e.g. furnaces, hot water heaters) offer no flexibility in terms ofsubstitution of other energy carriers, then, reflect a precariousness of access. For example, while inmost cases Tsay Keh households have an alternative to propane for space heating needs, many don’thave an alternative for their water heating needs and continue to use cold water, and do so with a senseof compromise and an economizing rationale. When it comes to laundry practices, therefore, house-holds, particularly middle aged ones, feel a degree of compromise in meeting their needs. The relianceon wood-heating in the practice of thermal comfort maintenance, on the other hand, largely improvesthe households sense of energy security. As I have suggested, wood’s place as part of the commons, bothin terms of the woods themselves and the labour required to transform them to fuel, enables pathwaysof access to this ingredient of practice that ensures successful performances of home heating practicesfor nearly everyone in the village.My discussion of laundry and space-heating practices of Tsay Keh households has also alluded to theways in which electricity, as an ingredient of practice, enters these practices. In the discussion aroundlaundry, I’ve suggested that the recent use of electric water heaters creates an easing of the sense ofcompromise around having to do laundry in cold water. Likewise, the use of electricity in space heatingpractices was characterized by the infrastructures enabling its use: Those whose houses were equipped88with baseboard electric heaters, continuously emphasized the convenience of using them (both in termsof labour saving and thermostatic control), while those who used electric plug-in heaters described theiruse in a supplementary sense, as means of regulating indoor temperature on warmer days that did notquite warrant the use of wood stoves or as an additional mode of heating on very cold days when thewood stove could not keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. In both cases, however, electricitywas talked about as an ingredient of practice to which access was not hindered by affordability. Therelationships with this ingredient of practice, in the practices of home heating and laundry seems to besomewhat ambivalent in the sense that economizing rationales and a taken-for-grantedness of access arepresent in discussions simultaneously. This section breaks from the discussion organized by practices toexplicate this ambivalent relationship with this third ingredient of household practices that use energy.The use of electricity in various diffuse energy using practices of home maintenance (lighting, clean-ing, cooking, watching TV, playing video games) occupies a space somewhere between that of the othertwo energy carriers discussed. While households in Tsay Keh do not receive bills or pay for their elec-tricity use, they are aware of the fact that their government is billed for and pays for everyone’s electricityuse. As such, electricity is not quite a part of the commons, in the sense that it is still procured througha series of financial transactions, albeit, ones that the households (i.e. users) do not directly participatein. In other words, the financial transaction part of the chains of access is mediated through the govern-ment entity, which represents community’s interests. Electricity, as an ingredient of practice, therefore,is brought into household practices through pathways of access that combine elements of communitymembership and market exchange relationships. Tsay Keh households, therefore, talk about electricityuse (in the context of thermal comfort maintenance and laundry practices) in ways that invoke both setsof relationships.In my interviews, households expand on their relationship with this ingredient of practice when Iask them how and why they try to save electricity (if they have indicated that they do) or when I askfollow-up questions on why they think saving electricity will benefit the community as a whole (surveyquestion). It is in these discussions that the sense of ambivalence invoked in the earlier discussions ofspecific practices are expounded upon and the presence of both communal relationships and economicones to this ingredient of practice is clarified. For example, Figure 4.7, below, summarizes the dif-ferent rationales invoked in the discussions on why households save electricity or why they considerdoing so good for the community. The colours represent whether these invocations are economic or89communitarian ones (or neither).Figure 4.7: Reasons given for saving electricityMany invoked communitarian rationales, primarily emphasizing that using less electricity at homeis good for the community generator (at the time owned by the community), both in terms of extendingthe life of it and in having fewer power outages. Others invoked communitarian-economic logics thatshowed awareness of the fact that electricity was an “expense to the band and the money [saved] couldgo somewhere else” if households were to reduce their electricity use (Michelle, Mar 1, 2013). However,economic rationales invoked for saving electricity were not limited to communitarian ones.There were two kinds of non-communitarian economic logics used in explaining why householdsmight save electricity. Both are interesting and illuminating for different reasons, so I will spend sometime exploring them in the context of Tsay Keh’s power provision history (and perceived future). Thefirst class of economic reasons for saving electricity not pertaining to the potential for reducing commu-nity expenses are those that I have coded under “might have to pay for it, one day.” During the courseof the interviews, I learnt that there is a perception among households that their current arrangement forpayment for electricity might soon come to an end. Several households indicated expecting that they90might have to pay for their own electricity use, and suggested that they should start practicing electricityconservation in preparation and as practice for this change:Do you ever try to save power around the house?Yeah. Night-time I shut down everything. No lights. Shut them down [. . . ].Why do you try to save power?Well, If they start charging us for power we’re going to need to know how much I couldsave.James, Feb 26, 2013Do you ever try to save [electricity] around the house?No, I never tried that yet.No?I just buy bulbs, put them there, as long as it shows light it’s good. But now I know I’vegotta pay [for] power, so I got to get power smart around here.Laura, Feb 25, 2013There are several reasons why this perception might have emerged: Firstly, at the time of the inter-views the community was involved in the negotiations around the Remote Community Electrification(RCE) Program, which was due to transfer ownership of community generation assets and the respon-sibility for power provision to BC Hydro (see the following chapter, for more on this). A change inarrangements for power provision was, therefore, actually in the works for the community. Further-more, as part of the RCE program, BC Hydro was involved in upgrading the distribution system in thecommunity and installing newmeters. Households suspected that this change in responsibility for powerprovision might entail a change in responsibility for payment as well— though in reality the agreementwith BC Hydro was such that decisions on responsibility for payment was left with the nation’s electedgovernment, and the previous arrangement remained unchanged.Secondly, there was a sense on the part of the community government that payment for commu-nity electricity was becoming a growing burden. When I spoke with Chief Dennis Izony on Feburary27th, 2013, he explained that the community had built 6 new residences in the past year and plannedon building 14 more that year. Given that new houses in Tsay Keh were all-electric, the chief saw thedemand for electricity growing dramatically — and with it the cost to the community. When I asked,explicitly, whether this concern meant that households were going to start receiving bills for electricityuse, Chief Izony said “no”, but that some form of monthly payments, not directly linked with consump-tion but based on average community usage and taking account of households’ previous electricity use91was more appropriate and something that they were considering. Furthermore, in the context of theseintentions and planned changes, the very fact that I was there, asking questions about household energyusing practices probably contributed to the perception that something was up and amplified the anxietiesaround this possibility. So, while in many of the home maintenance practices of Tsay Keh, electricity istaken for granted as an ingredient of practice, there are anxieties around the commercialization of thisrelationship.I have coded the second class of economic logics invoked with regards to the use of electricity under“used to have to pay for it.” In this type of statement, people suggested that they practiced electricityconservation, because at some point in their lives, they had accessed electricity under different accessregimes. Often, they said that they had “lived in town” and were used to receiving bills from BC Hy-dro for their electricity use. These interviewees seemed to suggest that economizing on an ingredientof practice that enters practices through market exchange (particularly when this transaction is burden-some) is a ‘natural’ thing to do:Do you ever hang dry anything?When the weather calls for it. Or the season. [laughs]So in the summer youYeah.So, why do you do that?Save on energy. I’m energy conscientious.Oh, you are?Yeah. cause I used to live in Makenzie — Mackenzie and Prince George, so I got Telusbills, phone bills, electric bills, heat bills. So yeahHannah, Feb 20, 2013Furthermore, the idea that one learns how to ‘save’ energy, when one has to pay for it, was suggestedboth by those who had lived in town and those who hadn’t:What do you think people that use up a lot of power do that uses up so much electricity?Samantha: Well, some people that never have electricity in their life, that’s them that, oh,even right now, some of them, they have their Christmas lights still on.Alec: Yeah.Why is that?Samantha: But then they learn about electricity and how they pay for electricity and howmuch it costs. Uncle used to stay out there in Summit Lake and he knows about power andstuff like that.Yeah?92Samantha: So he knows, and that’s the reason why he’s, he knows how to take shortcuts.See he even buys thoseYeah? he buys those CFL kind [of light bulbs]? Did you use to have to pay for electricitybefore?Samantha [to Alec]: When you guys lived in Summit Lake?Alec:Yeah. Parsnip too.Samantha: Oh yeah, there too?Alec: Yeah.Samantha: They used to have a reserve in Parsnip. They used to have electricity there tooand some people paid. Some of them know the score. But them like me who lived in a bush,born in a bush and stayed in a bush, that’s us that that use power. Oh, Power! Suddenly weused curling iron, blow dryer, everything [laughs]. That’s right.Alec and Samantha, Feb 21, 2013So with regards to electricity use, as with propane and wood, two kinds of processes seem to shapethe nature of the relationship with this ingredient of practice: firstly those predicated on the pathways ofaccess to it, and secondly previous experiences with those pathways of access.4.6 Vulnerability, resilience and living with precariousness: lessonsfrom Tsay KehI’ve had two main goals in this chapter; firstly to develop the theoretical language that enables talkingabout ‘access’ to the material arrangements of practice (and showing that these relations of access shapethe performances of practices) and secondly to demonstrate the ways in which households in Tsay Kehexperience energy vulnerability/poverty in the mundane moments of home maintenance practices andthe ways in which they manage these moments of vulnerability.With regards to the theoretical argument, I have demonstrated that the relationships of access tothe energy carriers that are the ingredients of practice in home maintenance practices of Tsay Kehcan be characterized as purely economic, communitarian and as a hybrid of the two. Challenges inaccess, anxieties and vulnerabilities are encountered across all three sets of relationships — however,unsurprisingly, these challenges are most acute in cases where households directly participate in marketexchange relationships (particularly lack of access to labour markets) and when the particular ingredientof practice and the sets of relationships that they are a part of cannot be replaced by other ingredientsenmeshed in other relationships of access.Most Tsay Keh households have access to multiple energy carriers, and in the case of many prac-tices, have the capacity to use different energy carriers for achieving more or less the same objectives.93The discussion around thermal comfort maintenance practices most clearly demonstrated the use ofmultiple ingredients and infrastructures in space heating practices. In this case, however, the main setof practices involved in meeting thermal comfort needs revolved around the use of wood, which due toits place outside of the market and as part of the commons enhances households’ energy security. Theuse of other energy carriers in the practices of space heating, therefore, was largely not for the sakeof managing access challenges. Electricity and propane for space heating were used to fine-tune thedegree of thermal comfort and/or to take advantage of the conveniences offered by these energy carriers(thermostatic control, lack of physical effort required in maintaining comfort). In the case of practicesin which the most common avenue for successful performance required the use of ingredients withchallenging pathways of access, Tsay Keh households use alternative ingredients and infrastructuresengendering different relationships of access to achieve similar objectives. For example, householdsthat have propane stoves and struggle with securing access to propane on a regular basis, often talkedabout using electric skillets for cooking, to preserve their propane supply for practices that offered nosubstitutability of ingredients or to manage interruptions in supply:You told me that you had an  electric skillet. Do you use that only when your propane isout?I try to use it even when I do have propane to try and save propane. We do our best to saveas much propane as we can. Yeah. [. . . ]Do you ever have to go without propane?Yes.How often does that happen?Oh my goodness, maybe once a month.Once a month? and how long would you have to go without?Two-three days.Yeah? what do you do when that happens?Ummm, I usually try and use my electric frying pan and my roaster for cooking, but when itcomes down to the dishes it’s kind of tough. I usually microwave hot water, use my coffeepot and I have a little tiny hot water kettle, electric. so I have all three going to make waterfor dishes.Alyssa, Mar 1, 2013When ingredients of practices are substituted, as is the case with electricity (and the electric skillet)for propane (and propane stove) in practices (such as cooking) a different set of relationships are broughtinto practice. In this case, the economizing rationale of propane use is replaced by the ambivalence andtaken-for-grantedness of electricity in performances that sacrifice the convenience of using the intended94infrastructures but offer a lifeline to the continued performance of essential practices. Where wood isused instead of the propane furnaces, a similar thing occurs: the strictly economic relationship of thepathway of access to propane is replaced by the communitarian relationships of accessing the commons.Therefore, substitutions of ingredients of practice in Tsay Keh, happen in the context of managingvulnerabilities, primarily to swap one set of relationships of access for another, less challenging one.However, when the economic relationship is inescapable, the precariousness of access is manifested inpractice through compromises in comfort, convenience or cleanliness. In Tsay Keh, this compromisewas most clearly articulated by households when discussing how they do dishes when they’re out ofpropane, or in their laundry routines in which they emphasize having to compromise on a desired ideaof ‘cleanliness’ in favour of spending less money on propane.It is also important to note that the swapping out of one set of relationships for another with regardsto access to ingredients of home maintenance practices doesn’t just happen preventatively, before aninterruption in access occurs, but also remedially, after an interruption has occurred. While householdssubstitute ingredients of practice wherever possible to prevent running out of propane before they havethe money to buy more, many still run out of propane on a regular basis (about a quarter, as I mentionedearlier). When households run out of propane, household practices that rely on this ingredient take newforms, some involving the leveraging of familial relationships, as these interview segments illustrate:Do you ever have to go without propane?Um, right now, I don’t have propane, because I don’t have no money to get any, so.So what kinds of things —what do you do differently?I just heat water on my electric stove.That’s for like showers, eh?Well, yeah, I’ll just go to my mom’s and take my shower.You go . . . . And you heat water for . . . ?Doing the dishes.Doing the dishes.Yeah. I did have money, but not enough to go around.Malcolm, Feb 25, 2013Have you ever had to go without propane?Oh, all the time.Yeah? How often does that happen?Uh, right now I’m out of propane, so, so just heating our water for washing dishes andthings like that.What about for showers? What do you do for those?Uh, go over to  my son’s.95Jane, Feb 25, 2013Have you ever had to go without propane?Yes.How long does it last when you go without propane? Like what’s the longest stretch?We usually stay without propane for 2 weeks but we go cook over at my mother in law’s.Clarissa, Feb 26, 2013Ultimately, what is important to note is Tsay Keh households manage their precarious access topropane by swapping out the economic relationships of its access for the communitarian relationshipsof accessing wood and electricity. They primarily use wood for heating, forgoing the conveniencesof thermostatic control and ease of use, but managing the attainment of thermal comfort nonethelessthrough a complex performance of supplementation and occasional use of other ingredients. With re-gards to the use of hot water for laundry, they continue to choose to use cold water instead to preservetheir supply for the practices in which no flexibility exist with regards to choice of ingredient and in-frastructures. When they finally do run out of propane, they perform practices like doing the dishes byperforming deeply inconvenient rituals of heating water in their microwave or kettles, still relying onthe availability of other relationships of access, albeit through inconvenient pathways. And finally, forthe truly insubstitutable, they take the practice elsewhere in the absence of access to appropriate ingre-dients: they take showers at their relatives’ houses, invoking their social relationships in managing thevulnerabilities of their economic relationships and the infrastructural inflexibilities of access.In other words, swapping ingredients of practice in Tsay Keh, offers an avenue for meeting the sameset of goals, albeit through compromises, by invoking different relationships of access. The resilienceof Tsay Keh households with regards to the meeting of energy needs is not simply due to the availabilityof multiple energy carriers and flexible infrastructures of access, but rather due to the fact that these al-ternative ingredients are accessed through different relationships of access altogether. For a communitywhere labour market participation is low, and nearly 30% of households live with annual incomes below$25,000, participation in market exchange is challenging, regardless of which energy carrier is procuredthrough this exchange. Of course, the price of energy carriers matters — but in Tsay Keh resilience inmeeting household energy needs stems from the existence of the variegated relationships of access andthe fact that non-financial relationships of access exist.In talking about the resilience of Tsay Keh households in terms of meeting their energy needs, I96don’t mean to minimize the hardships encountered in this constant set of negotiations and compromisesin securing access. The 25% of households in Tsay Keh that face regular periods of disruption to theirpropane access face extreme hardships in doing the mundane tasks of home maintenance, like cookingwithout a stove or washing their dishes without hot water. Households with young children strugglewith having to boil water to bathe them, and then having to clean the calcium build-up on those pots(Jason and Angela, Feb 18, 2013). And all households that experience frequent disruptions in access topropane have to deal with the psychological stress of the constant threat of running out. But what I hopeto emphasize in mentioning the resilience of the community, is to say that the community governmentrecognizes this challenge and continues to try to ease this hardship.In fact, in talking to Chief Izony, I asked him why the community had changed their housing pol-icy to the all-electric new developments policy. He mentioned the stress and challenge of paying forpropane for households as his prime motivation for wanting to reduce dependence on propane. He saidthat people run out of propane, “can’t cook and shower” and that’s an “inconvenience.” Furthermore,the government considers itself an important mediator of access across all energy carriers for elders,and certainly for electricity for everyone. In choosing to insert itself in market relationships on behalfof households, the nation’s government modifies these relationships to more communitarian ones whichprovide easier pathways of access for households. Even in discussions of changing the billing arrange-ments, the Chief never suggests completely changing the nature of that relationship— rather he suggestscreating a tiered model of access where community members pay for use above a threshold. The activeinvolvement of the community government in managing the precariousness of energy access in TsayKeh, in the era of neoliberal governance, is indeed unique in many ways, particularly in its insistenceon transferring the burden of paying for energy from the household level to the community level.4.7 Conclusions: energy poverty in Tsay KehThroughout this discussion, I’ve deliberately held off on defining energy poverty at the household levelin any specific way. Rather, I’ve tried to look for its manifestations in household practices that use en-ergy, in moments where a compromise in convenience, cleanliness and comfort occurs. I have largelyleft it to my interview participants to note moments of compromise, and they have noted several, in-cluding compromises in comfort, when waking up to a cold house because the fire has died in the nightor compromises in children’s cleanliness, its associated stigma and a redoubling of efforts on the part97of these parents in maintaining cleanliness and impressions of cleanliness. Community members inTsay Keh also repeatedly noted moments of compromise in conveniences of varying significance in-cluding the inconvenience of collecting wood, the added inconvenience of collecting wood for thosewith mobility challenges, the inconvenience and stress of the close management of one’s hot water use,the inconvenience of running out of propane and having no hot water, the inconvenience of having toboil water to wash one’s dishes, the inconvenience of having to boil water for the family’s bath, theinconvenience of removing the calcium build-up from the pans used to boil water for the family’s bath,and the inconvenience of having to go to a neighbour or family member’s house for a shower.As I have already discussed, the majority of these moments of compromise in comfort, convenienceand cleanliness in Tsay Keh occur around the use of hot water in homes where water is heated withpropane, and particularly for folks that find keeping up with propane payments financially burdensome.That incurring these inconveniences on a regular basis amounts to a disproportionately large amountof effort in securing one’s access to energy services can objectively be demonstrated by noting thatthe majority of households, both in Tsay Keh, but also more broadly speaking in British Columbia(or Canada) don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to take a shower. As I have already mentionedapproximately 25% of Tsay Keh households that participated in my interviews mentioned running out ofpropane with some regularity. Others, including those that have electric water heating, elders who don’thave to pay for propane and those that don’t find paying for propane a financial burden, encounteredthese problems much less frequently, or, in fact, never encountered these problems.What I’m suggesting is that the experience of precarious energy access, or energy poverty, mani-fests itself in Tsay Keh households, predominantly in household practices that use hot water, in havingto deal with constant outages and struggling to keep up with norms around cleanliness, particularlyaround presentability of children. What’s at stake in the latter case is one’s claims to being a good orcompetent parent. And failing to maintain one’s claim to being a good parent brings shame and stigmaand necessitates a redoubling of efforts in dispelling this stigma. That is to say that energy poverty cer-tainly amounts to an experience of material hardship in not achieving one’s material needs of comfort,but also an experience of social exclusion, when we acknowledge that practices that use energy, like allpractices, are fundamentally social entities.In other words, like poverty, energy poverty matters because it elevates material survival, the meet-ing of basic needs to the main project of life, while subjecting those who fail to attain the norms of98cleanliness or proper parenting to shame and stigma. Investigating the manifestations of energy povertyin the daily lives of those who might struggle with securing access to energy services enables an un-derstanding of this dimension of the experience and is an important part of explaining just why energypoverty matters. Furthermore, understanding energy poverty as a justice issue requires engaging withjustice as recognition, which would necessitate an acknowledgment of how those who struggle withenergy poverty are held back from full participation in social life.This is not to say that energy poverty is not a distributive justice issue — it certainly remains soin the sense that some have to go through much more extreme lengths in securing access to their basicenergy needs. These going to extreme lengths, in Tsay Keh, are manifest in practices that require theuse of propane — the only (energy) ingredient of practice that is accessed through a direct marketrelationship between users and suppliers, and one whose price per unit of energy is ten times the priceof natural gas in the rest of BC. The active presence of the nation’s government as a mediating entity insecuring access to electricity as an ingredient of practice, as well as households’ ability to access woodoutside of a market relationship, mitigates a full manifestation of higher energy burdens in Tsay Kehhouseholds. In this regard, Tsay Keh presents not a case study of energy poverty, but a case of immenseresilience and the successful mitigation of some of the worst implications of precarious energy accessby transferring burdens from the household level to the community level. I will explore this facet ofTsay Keh’s energy provision and its implications for energy poverty more thoroughly in the followingchapter.99Chapter 5Tension in the WiresThe previous chapter was primarily dedicated to describing how precarious energy access is felt in theday-to-day home lives of people in Tsay Keh. My goal was to imbue the practice theoretical descriptionsof how home maintenance practices are performed with an acknowledgment of the processes throughwhich access to the material arrangements that are required for these performances are secured. In otherwords, I wanted to describe how precarious energy access manifests itself at home, while calling intoquestion the taken-for-granted nature of access to ingredients and materials of practice. I developed theconcept of relationships of access in order to highlight the importance of these processes, and demon-strated how they indeed configure the compromises in comfort, convenience, cleanliness that come withprecarious energy access.This strategy was in part motivated by a desire to battle what Graham and Marvin (2001) refer toas “The withdrawal of consumption politics into the networked spaces of individualised households”(p.72). My goal was producing an account of the experience of energy poverty that is attentive to howenergy poverty, like other forms of poverty, is a systemic problem — one that might manifest itself inindividualised households, but is produced and reproduced through processes that operate at scales otherthan the household. In this chapter, I take a step back from these households and the practices that unfoldwithin them and instead focus on how those relationships of access come about as part of larger planningparadigms and how they may be reconfigured in the interest of community energy justice. What I havein mind is a sort of zooming out from the household level to specifically discuss how energy povertyis historically, geographically, politically and materially constructed and maintained so that householdsand communities like Tsay Keh continue to experience precarious energy access despite Canada (and100BC’s) supposed energy abundance.In Section 5.1, I will begin with a historical account of how BC’s current electricity system cameabout, focusing particularly on the energy development practices of the Province between 1960 and1985 when the majority of the current generation capacity was developed. In the process, I will outlinefour key characteristics of the energy planning and provision paradigm that define BC’s energy systemand lead to its particular forms of inequality in access to energy. Then, in section 5.2, I will explic-itly link these characteristics of BC’s energy planning paradigm to Tsay Keh’s experience of energypoverty. In this section, I will discuss how the community-level experiences of energy poverty in TsayKeh manifest themselves and how these experiences relate to a specific energy planning processes inBC. My focus here will be on the specific consequences of BC’s centralized energy planning paradigmwhich has historically (as well as contemporarily) been driven by a desire to attract industry through theprovision of cheap electricity to industrial consumers. Then, in section 5.3, I will turn to the question ofhow this particular trajectory of energy development collides, in Tsay Keh, with an alternative paradigm(that of community energy project development) which in this case takes the reversal of the patterns thatlead to energy poverty in Tsay Keh as its central aim. In this section, my aim is to present a contempo-rary discussion of how BC’s energy planning/provision paradigm continues to produce relationships ofaccess (in Tsay Keh) that create energy poverty.In pursuing this agenda, I’mmotivated by this segment of an interview I conducted with Dave Porter,President of First Nations Energy and Mining Council in 2011 when I was working on a project thatlooked at community visions and motivations for participating in community energy projects (Rezaeiand Dowlatabadi, 2015, see):First Nations are in an energy poverty situation and what we need to do is to bring many ofthese rural and remote First Nations into [an] energy self-sufficiency position.Dave Porter, June 10, 2011What I found remarkable about this statement was how energy poverty was spoken about not as athing experienced by households, but rather a problem experienced by rural and remote communities.It seemed to me, then, that rural and remote communities were important sites in networks of infras-tructure, that their particular geographies of inter/disconnection presented interesting opportunities forinvestigating energy vulnerability beyond the household and as a problem faced by communities in net-101works of energy production and consumption. I hoped that by looking at a remote community like TsayKeh, and the processes that lead to the household and community level experiences of energy povertythere, I could open a space for the recasting of energy poverty as a product of specific patterns of energyproduction, distribution and consumption.My goal in this chapter is, then, to suggest that energy poverty in Tsay Keh is a product of BC’sparticular version of a centralized power provision paradigm, which, in Northeastern British Columbia,serves the government’s particular political project of developing resource extractive industries throughthe provision of cheap electricity and enhanced market access that the regulated waterways of hydrofacilities bring about. Pursuing this political agenda has lent particular characteristics to BC’s powerplanning processes, including prioritizing and planning around industrial energy demand for industriesthat at the time of planning do not exist and often never materialize, with little to no public scrutiny, thusdecoupling energy supply decisions from demand characteristics and the power planning process fromthe publics. Tsay Keh’s energy access situation is a product of this energy provision paradigm in twoways: firstly, it is a product of this paradigm, quite literally, in the sense that the Tsay Keh Dene weredisplaced from their traditional territories in order for a large dam to built — a dam built specificallyto boost industrial development in the North East. A dam that when the industrial development in theregion did not materialize contributed to years of power surplus in the province. A dam which producedelectricity to which the very people displaced for its development had no access.Furthermore, this experience of displacement for power development features prominently in howthe people of Tsay Keh perceive their energy access situation. As I will argue in section 5.2, the feelingof powerlessness around the community’s energy decisions which is a direct product of the experienceof displacement, and even more broadly so of colonialism, is an important part of how energy povertymanifests itself at the community level.Energy poverty in Tsay Keh continues to be a product of this paradigm as efforts to address andreverse energy poverty in Tsay Keh through the development of a community energy project cometo a head with the public utility’s efforts in energy provision. Tsay Keh’s community energy project,as I will argue in Section 5.3, was an attempt to address specifics aspects of energy poverty in TsayKeh. In the course of its development and interactions with the public utility and the larger energyplanning paradigm that it represents, Tsay Keh’s energy project comes to challenge and be challengedby BC Hydro’s approach to power planning — in the process of this engagement, demands made by102BC Hydro’s energy planning paradigm reduce technology choices for the community energy project,ultimately leading to the abandonment of the project, and the maintenance of status quo when it comesto Tsay Keh’s energy access.5.1 The industry that never comes: energy planning and provision inBC, 1960-1985The British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (or BC Hydro) was created in 1961 when BC Electric(a private company) and the BC Power Commission were merged to create a crown corporation taskedwith providing power to British Columbia. More specifically, BC Hydro was legislated into being,explicitly to oversee the construction of BC’s largest reservoir and dam, what eventually came be tobe known as the WAC Bennett dam. BC Hydro’s website boasts the WAC Bennett dam as “one of theworld’s largest earthfill structures” (BC Hydro). Before its construction, years of geological surveys andsoil testing added up to what Hudson’s Hope Museum calls “one of the largest feasibility studies in theworld” (Hudson’s Hope Museum). Today, the generators at the WAC Bennett dam along with those atthe later-developed Peace Canyon Dam downstream from it, produce about one third of the electricitygenerated in BC.The construction of the dams on the Peace river, of course, took place within a larger political contextin BC. At the time, the political forces at play in BC, exemplified by the then Premier WAC Bennett,were actively engaged in projects of transformation of nature and its resources to the end of creatinga particular vision of BC: an urban, connected and prosperous British Columbia (Loo, 2004). What’smore, this vision for prosperity largely rested the industrialization for Northern BC, which Bennett sawas dependent on harnessing the power of the Peace river (Wedley, 1986; Froschauer, 1986, 1999).Historians of hydro development have documented a pattern of energy development in BC, startingthe 1940’s and particularly accelerating between 1960 and 1985, that rests on the premise that hydrodevelopment is the key to the transformation of BC economy from a primarily resource-based one toone with greater reliance on secondary manufacturing industries (Wedley, 1986; Froschauer, 1986). Thestrategy employed by WC Bennett and many of BC’s subsequent political elites, as Froshauer (1999)argues, was (and some might argue that still is) one of ‘industrialization by invitation’, whereby certainextractive industries were guaranteed access to BC’s natural resources, whether it be forestry or minerals(and more recently natural gas) and offered cheap electricity in order to encourage the processing of103these resources within BC with the aim of stimulating the BC economy.The development of the WAC Bennett dam on the Peace river was part of this economic develop-ment agenda, intended to “provide the Province with a much-needed economic stimulus and contributeto curbing unemployment,” as Gordon Shrum, the first chair of the BC Energy Board, tasked with the de-velopment of policies for the Peace and Columbia rivers, noted in his 1961 report (quoted in Froschauer,1999, p.181). In fact, the development of the dam was a part of this agenda not only in that it wouldsupply the industry with cheap power but would also improve access to markets for the industry’s prod-ucts. In the same report, Shrum (1961) notes: “The reservoir area will act as an inland waterway whichwill open up the Trench area for timber removal, [and] mineral exploration.” (p. 28) The developmentof the WC Bennett dam, then, was carried out with the aim of attracting manufacturing industries toBC through the provision of cheap electricity while simultaneously providing for easy movement ofproducts (unprocessed, semi-processed, or processed) out of the province.It should be mentioned that the second function of the dam (as means of providing easy access toNorthern natural resources) was further enactment of the Bennett government’s Northern transportationpolicy, which led to the Peace River extension of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and expansions toFort St. John and Dawson Creek in the 1950s (Wedley, 1986).Understanding the development of the hydro projects on the Peace river as serving this industrial-ization agenda is important because it throws into relief the corollary question of the agendas it did notserve — one such agenda is the meeting of an actual existing electricity demand.Dams, it assumed, are built to meet an electricity demand. This, as I have discussed, was not thepurpose of the dams built on the Peace river. In fact, justifying their construction despite this lack ofdemand for electricity took a great deal of very astute political manoeuvring on the part of WC Bennettand his hydro people, particularly in the development of their two rivers policy, which outlined thedevelopment of hydro electricity on both the Peace and Columbia rivers.The two river policy was Bennett’s way of ensuring that hydroelectric development on the Peacewent ahead despite and in conjunction with the developments that were being negotiated by other levelsof government on the Columbia river. The development of the hydro power on the Columbia river waspart of ongoing negotiations between the federal government and the United States government startingin 1944. Interest in damming the Canadian portion of the Columbia river was driven by the fact thatits development would increase the productivity of hydroelectric facilities downstream in the US as104well as provide important flood control capacity in both Canada and the US. Furthermore, the electricityproduced from damming the Columbia river would satisfy the domestic demand and was, in fact, thoughtto be the less expensive option for meeting this demand due to its closeness to existing markets (Wedley,1986, p.272). Without a two river policy, the damming of the Columbia river would make any powerproduced from the Peace redundant for the domestic market, and would spell an end to the Peace riverproject, particularly given the constraints imposed by the federal government on exporting power to theUnited States.The success of the two-river policy was largely dependent on the availability of an export market.In fact, The Report on the Columbia and Peace Power Projects (BC Energy Board and Shrum, 1961)explicitly states the export-dependent nature of the two-river policy:Since the minimum efficient development of either the Peace or the Columbia will providemore power than British Columbia can absorb in the initial years of the project, our consul-tants have pointed out that it is not possible to start the two concurrently or even phase themwithout finding a very large market outside the Province for power which British Columbiacannot currently absorb. The low cost of thermal power in Alberta makes developmentof a market there uncertain; therefore, the only possibility lies in the Pacific Northwest orCalifornia (p. 28-29) (quoted in Froschauer, 1999, p.194).Bennett’s astute political manoeuvring was, in fact, in using the negotiations around the Columbiariver projects to remove the federal barriers to electricity export to the United States, and thereby se-curing access to this large market outside of the province. This task was accomplished by arguing thatthe Canadian entitlement to its portion of the increased hydroelectric generation in the US should beaccounted for in terms of long-term electricity exports to the US. Rather than repatriating these “down-stream benefits”, Bennett, in effect, tied them up in long-term whole-sale electricity exports, and in theprocess, removed the federal constraints on future electricity exports as well.By securing regulatory access to the export market (later reinforced by the development of physicalinfrastructure in the form of regional grid “interconnections”), the Province, in essence, decoupled thedevelopment of electricity generation capacity from electricity demand. Instead, it began the pursuit ofits economic development agenda of industrialization by invitation through promises of energy plenty.These promises have, to a large extent, shaped the energy planning and provision paradigm of British105Columbia. In the case of electricity, they have guided the Province to the construction of large hydro-electric facilities with the aim of satisfying some future industrial demand. Demand that, in fact, nevermaterialized.Between 1960 and the early 80’s, the BC government’s power commission and BC Hydro adopteda demand projection practice that increasingly relied on information from the industry in the form of“firm inquiries” from companies who wanted to establish or expand their operations in BC— a practicethat contributed to a large generation capacity surplus, given the industry’s interest in the availability ofcheap electricity for their operations. In the early 80’s, when this large unplanned surplus reached 1.8GW (or the entire generation capacity of the $2 billion Revelstoke dam), this demand projection practicewas finally called into question and BC Hydro was called to account for it (Froschauer, 1999).BC Hydro’s questionable energy planning processes were at this time increasingly the subject ofpublic resistance. Along with a range of global shifts to energy provision practices, these acts of re-sistance led to some significant changes to energy regulatory practices of the province (Dusyk, 2013).For example, demand for making BC Hydro’s planning processes more open to scrutiny, led to the in-troduction of the Utilities Commission Act, which created the British Columbia Utilities Commission(BCUC) with the mandate to review major energy decision of the province. It is, in fact, through thesenew review processes, including a mechanism for public hearings, that the third proposed developmenton the Peace river (site C dam) was delayed in 1983.Energy planning processes in the province are said to have gone through significant changes in theearly 80’s (Kellow, 1996). These changes include an opening up of the decision making processes topublic scrutiny through the incorporation of public review processes at the utilities commission, as wellas the curtailment of BC Hydro’s supply-oriented approach, through fundamental changes in accountingfor just what can be considered a viable supply of electricity. The most significant change in accountinghere was the inclusion of conservation initiatives as a resource on the supply-side, which heralded asignificant shift of focus on the part of BC Hydro to conservation initiatives (Dusyk, 2013). Someof these changes have been enduring ones, BC Hydro’s planning processes, for example, still includeconservation initiatives in their forecasting of future demand (see Figure 1, below, from BC Hydro’slatest integrated resource plan, for example). The Province’s commitment to other ones have been lessstrong. For example, in refusing to submit to a BC Utilities commission review of the Site C dam, theProvince is relying on a planning paradigm frighteningly similar to what has been described here, this106time with the aim of attracting a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry (again, see Figure 1, below fromthe 2013 Integrated Resource Plan).Figure 5.1: Image from BC Hydro’s 2013 IRP projecting future electricity demands (BC Hydro,2013, 2-2)What follows from this analysis is a view of the development of the WC Bennett dam as explicitlya resource extraction project (in itself, in the use of its reservoir as enhancing the movement of otherextracted resources, and its enabling of other extractive industries), particularly one whose main productwas decoupled from any actual need for that product. Furthermore, pursuing this political agenda, hasmeant that the energy planning process in BC has been guided by BC’s political elites, with little publicscrutiny until 1985 and the introduction of a public review mechanism in the Utility Commission’sreview process — a review process, which can be, and in fact was suspended by the government whenits decisions is feared to interfere with the political agenda of industrialization by invitation. Seen inthis light, the WC Bennett dam is an artefact of a particular energy development paradigm in BC— onethat saw the development of large centralized power projects as instrumental to economic developmentin the province and did so aspirationally, without any link to actual demand. This artefact and the largerparadigm of which it is emblematic, of course, produce, in addition to electricity, particular modes of107access and different classes of users, whose needs are prioritized differently and whose subjectivities areshaped through their engagement with these variegated modes of access. In the following section, I willdiscuss Tsay Keh’s particular relationship with the WC Bennett dam and BC’s electricity planning andprovision paradigm and the ways in which Tsay Keh’s energy poverty is a product of that relationship.5.2 The so-called beautiful Williston lakeIn this section, I discuss how the energy planning paradigm outlined above impacted the Tay Keh Deneduring and after the construction of the WC Bennett dam and how these impacts lead to specific materialand political manifestations of energy poverty in Tsay Keh, both historically and contemporarily.The construction of WAC Bennett dam was started in 1961 and lasted until 1968. As part of theprocess, 350,000 acres of land were flooded at the confluence of Finlay, Parsnip and Peace rivers flowregimes both upstream and downstream of the dam were altered, and the ecological systems that relyon the 3 rivers were severely affected (Loo, 2007; Baker et al., 2000). This included the blocking ofthe east-west migration route of the now endangered mountain caribou (Loo, 2007), and the loss ofhabitat for many species in the immediate vicinity of the reservoir, as well as further downstream in thePeace-Athabasca delta (Rosenberg et al., 1995). The environmental impacts of the dam were largelyaspects of its construction on the Peace river which were not considered by the feasibility studies (Koyl,1993, p.83). Even less attention, however, was paid to any impacts the dam might have had on peoplewhose lives would be altered by the project. In fact, as Koyl (1993) reports, Thomson-Houston Co, thefirm tasked with conducting the feasibility study for the construction of dams on the Peace river haddeclared the region virtually uninhabited: “the reservoir area at the moment is largely virgin forest, withless than a hundred permanent inhabitants” (The British Thomson-Houston Co. Ltd., 1958, quoted in(Koyl, 1992)). The inhabitants mentioned here were ranchers, and ranching, in fact, is the only humanactivity identified in the report (Koyl, 1993, p.82).This failure to identify and acknowledge the Sekani people that lived in the Rocky Mountain Trench,particularly the group known to the Canadian bureaucracy at the time as the Finlay River Band1, allowsfor planning for building a dam, as if it was on no one’s land — an invocation of terra nullius’ if thereever was one. In fact, as Koyl (1993) describes, Indian Affairs did not become involved until December1959 when an employee of Indian Affairs discerned from BC government publicity that five reservescould be affected by the dam (p.85). Citing internal Indian Affairs correspondence, Koyl goes on to108describe how this employee contacted the regional office requesting maps to evaluate the impact onreserves throughout the reservoir area. Eventually, in 1962, INAC initiated a meeting with BC Hydrorepresentatives to discuss, for the first time, the effects of the dam on the indigenous communities inthe area. For the next several years, as the scope of the project was refined, INAC negotiated with BCHydro and determined a resettlement plan for the community (which ended up being the only indige-nous community affected, once the scope of the project was better defined), which ultimately provedinadequate.British Columbia’s largest hydro-power reservoir, Williston Lake reservoir, was then created be-hind the dam, at the confluence of the Finlay, Parsnip and Peace rivers, by flooding the old settlement,traplines and hunting grounds of the community of Tsay Keh Dene as well as other lands. The “flood”(the term used by community elders refer to the event that changed their community’s sense of self andplace), the resettlement in two new reserves, the eventual trip back to their traditional territory and theultimate move to the current village in 1991 mark a period of turmoil for the people of Tsay Keh. In fact,in an unpublished manuscript of a memoir of displacement and the subsequent trip back home, one ofthe community elders who participated in my interviews reflects:“The flood of the so-called “beautiful”Williston Lake marked a turning point for us mountain people of the Finlay River.”That dams cause displacement -and often that of indigenous peoples- is not a new story (McCully,1996; Martin and M Hoffman, 2008; Porteous and Smith, 2001). Nor is it new to say that they createan altered landscape that alters the lives of those whose homes are inundated by dams. But what I wishto do in this section is to link this altered landscape and subjectivities, specifically to Tsay Keh’s ex-perience of energy poverty, both historically and contemporarily and to therefore reframe the particularmanifestations of energy poverty in Tsay Keh as a product of the trajectory of energy development thatI described in the previous section — A trajectory whose legacy is still alive as the province pushes on(and encounters resistance to) the development of the delayed site C dam.I have already mentioned some of the changes to the landscape in the aftermath of “the flood.”More specifically of concern to my argument regarding the altered landscape and subjectivities, are twoimpacts of the flood: First is the change in the navigability of the Parsnip and Finlay rivers, both due1The Finlay River Band was created in 1959 when Fort Grahame and Fort Ware ‘bands’ were amalgamated. Fort Grahameand Fort Ware bands had previously split off in 1920s after the establishment of Fort Ware at the confluence of Fox andKwadacha rivers. The Finlay river band later, in 1970, split into Fort Ware and Ingenika Bands again, and later became knownas Kwadacha and Tsay Keh Dene Nations (Littlefield et al., 2007)109to the change in the flow regimes upstream of the dam, and the fact that the waters were littered withdebris from the harvested and non-harvested wood that was never removed. In fact, a recent debrismanagement study for the Williston lake area reports that only 21.7% of the total area inundated by thedam was cleared prior to the flood, according to calculation by the Department of Lands, Forests, andWater Resource (DWB Consulting Services, 2015, p.3). In short, what were navigable waters beforebecame dangerous and unnavigable. People, who in my interviews recall tales of travelling up the riverto the Yukon, now became land-locked and isolated, particularly from their neighbouring communitiesin Kwadacha and around Takla Lake. An elder recalls the changes in the river:When they started flooding they burnt all our homes. And when that happened, we couldn’tmove back up, because when they started flooding, the debris with all trees on the lake andall the reservoir was coming up and it’s too dangerous to go in a boat to — to go anywhereon the lake because of all the debris and the high winds and everything else.Cathy, Feb 27, 2013In fact, Tina Loo (2007) quotes a BC Hydro consultant saying, in 1977, that this isolation had “radicallyaltered” the community and could be thought of as responsible for “the high incidence of social disorga-nization” (p.906) characterizing the community before community’s eventual resettlement at Ingenikaand then the current village.The second impact of importance to my argument has to do with perhaps an even more immediateneed of the community: the ability to feed itself. My interviews with elders from the community, areagain, filled with accounts of the flooding of traplines and old hunting grounds, of moose drowning,moose being terrified and running away, and of the community struggle to secure enough food. This ishow an elder explains the changes in the ability of the community to practice hunting, suggesting thatthe unnavigability of the waters further intensified the problem with food:To make a long story short, it was horrible. People suffered. Even wild animals were hardto find, like moose and all that any kind of animals that were near enough that got caughtunaware, drowned. So moose was really scarce. A person had to go a long way to tryand get a moose because animals were terrified too. They all fled. So, can you imaginestarvation when there was no job? We were displaced. We weren’t even in our usual area.My dad’s trap line and hunting areas were further up the Ingenika. Finlay area. So we wereway down. And when my dad lost his boats, we can’t go anywhere.Cathy, Feb 27, 2013110In fact, Harris, in her 1984 study, reports an estimated figure, produced by the British Columbia Ministryof Environment, of approximately 25,000 moose lost due to the building of theWC Bennett dam (Harris,1984, p.46). Furthermore, numerous sources report on the high levels of mercury present in fish fromthe reservoir due to the decomposition of the vegetation that was never cleared prior to flooding thevalley (Rosenberg et al., 1995) — many community members worry about mercury in the fish fromthe reservoir still today (Littlefield et al., 2007; Azimuth Consulting Group Partnership, 2015, see forexample). Most importantly, displaced to other reserves after the flood, the community of hunters andtrappers became unable to sustain themselves. Again, Tina Loo (2007), reports an increase of 80% infederal and 300% in provincial social assistance between 1965 and 1970 in these communities.All of this, of course, coincides with other colonial projects of the Canadian government. Thehorrors of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, in particular, are at this moment unfolding in BC,and I’m told in interviews of youths (themselves elders as they tell me this) coming back from residentialschools to find themselves doubly displaced by the violence of both the residential schools and the dam,and their people devastated and dependent:Oh there was just erosion. There was no more Ingenka. We were living high on a hill. Justwindswept and a lot trees were down. But it was very emotional for me when I came back,because what I once knew as a child was no more There was a hopelessness. Just like, theygave up. Because pretty soon now they were introduced to welfare. people quit working.There are people that to this day are still hurting. They are still drinking. A lot have diedalready.Cathy, Feb 27, 2013Colonialism in British Columbia, as Cole Harris (Harris, 2008) argues, dispossessed indigenous peo-ple through several concurrent processes. Deterritorialization, as a process with the dual goals of thephysical/geographical possession of the land (and its resources), and the unbounding from land of peo-ple whose livelihoods previously depended on the land and reteritorializing them in ways that suitedcapital’s needs is certainly the chief mechanism of dispossession in settler colonial societies. This re-configuration of relationships with the land (including questions of ‘ownership’ of the land), Harris(2008) argues, is achieved in the settler colonial context of Northern British Columbia through acts ofphysical violence -such as the flooding of Tsay Keh’s land and the displacement of the Tsay Keh Dene-acts of cultural and psychological violence -like the removal of Tsay Keh Dene children to residentialschools whose sole purpose was cultural genocide (The Truth and Reconciliation Comission of Canada,1112015)-, and acts of discursive violence that legitimized the enactment of the acts of physical and culturalviolence such as the discourse around the uninhabited nature of the Rocky Mountain Trench, as well asother racist discourses of the Canadian state that, for example, enabled the residential schools.The development of WAC Bennett dam is part of this settler colonial agenda in several ways. As Ihave argued the building of the dams on the Peace river was solely about attracting resource extractiveindustries to the province through promises of cheap hydro-electricity and enhanced movement of prod-ucts. In other words, hydro-electric development on the Peace was not only in itself literally an exercisein the deterritorialization of the peoples who lived in its way, but more importantly, was about grantingcapital further access to the territories of interior Northeast British Columbia. The WAC Bennett damand the larger political agenda of which it was a part, therefore, contributed to the dispossession of thepeople of Tsay Keh Dene, both materially and culturally. It contributed to this material dispossessionin its literal and physical possession of their land, and in rendering the community incapable of sustain-ing itself through land-based practices. References in the interview and archival material cited aboveto the material poverty that followed “the flood” is, in fact, illustrative of this material dispossession.This experience of poverty (of which energy poverty is a specific form) is ongoing in Tsay Keh, as theonce self-sustaining community of hunters and trappers, is cut out of the circuits of the very capital thatdisplaces them. As I argued in the previous chapter, with little access to the labour market, and littleability to determine its own alternatives modes of production with the constant eroding of their territory,people in Tsay Keh struggle to participate fully in the economic exchanges that enable the securing ofaccess to their material needs, of which energy is one.The displacement of the people of Tsay Keh Dene in the aftermath of the flood also contributedto their cultural/psychological dispossession by degrading their ability to practice their culture (and Imean culture as a political thing) as well as through the development of a sense of dependency, fortheir material survival, on the very powers that dispossessed them. This sense of dependency alsocontributes to specific manifestations of energy poverty in Tsay Keh, particularly around a sense ofpowerlessness with regards to energy decision-making. I would like to present some evidence of thepersisting narratives and materialities of dependency on BC Hydro (which is, and is also viewed by thecommunity as, an arm of the government). Here I quote a segment of an interview I conducted with acouple in the community in 2013:112Me: You said it’d be cool to have your own community energy power why? Like why doyou think that is cool?Jason: Well, then BC Hydro wouldn’t have a lot to say. But then we also use BC Hydro’smoney to operate a lot of income in the village. [laughs then there is a pause] it’s a touchysubject.Me: Why is it so touchy?Jason: Because of the fact that BC Hydro’s helping with putting us to work in little projectshere and there. That’s the only income out this way, cause we don’t sustain ourselves outhere. So it’s actually run by BC Hydro BC Hydro’s putting the money on our table. Wedon’t sustain our own income out here. So it makes it we play by their rules.Jason and Angela, Feb 18 2013Chief among the little projects of the “here and there” is a project they call ‘the dust program’, whichaims to mitigate another impact of the dam— namely, the erosion problem on the shores of the reservoirand the dust that blows into the village all summer long when the water levels in the reservoir are low 2.In fact, Baker et al (2000) in their study of the dust problem in Tsay Keh, report that 80 percent of theresidents in the community believe that dust storm from the reservoir are responsible for adverse healtheffects, such as eye irritation, respiratory tract problems and skin rashes. In addition, in this study, 65%of community members indicated that the dust storms impacted their ability to enjoy the outdoors andcomplete their traditional activities such as smoking meat (2000, p.571). BC Hydro’s dust programattempts to manage the dust storms by increasing the vegetation on the shores of the reservoir. It hiresa crew of mostly community members in this project of here and there to plant vegetation every springin a mostly unsuccessful attempt to manage the dust. Every year, they plant vegetation on the shore inthe spring, every summer, the wind blows the dust into the village. It’s an ongoing project of seasonalemployment, dust, seasonal employment, dust, seasonal employment, dust . . . . And the tension betweenthe community and BC Hydro, so palpable in Jason’s quote, continues with each cycle.Jason’s comment simultaneously highlights two facets of energy poverty in Tsay Keh: first is thepersistent lack of access to labour markets in Tsay Keh and its effect on people’s ability to secure accessto material necessities whose paths of access necessitate either a robust welfare system or access toemployment, among which, as I have demonstrated in the previous chapter, is energy. Second, and2The valley floor dammed by WAC Bennett has a fine glacial till that was vegetated prior to the project. The fluctuatingwater level in the reservoir has led to wide erosion bands denuded of trees. These shorelines are exposed at times of low waterlevel, and are susceptible to wind erosion when dry. Given the geography of the lake, and the flat surface of the reservoir, thearea now experiences much stronger winds channelled by the mountain ranges into N-S flows. These strong and persistentwinds aerosolize the fine glacial dust towards the village at the northern end of the reservoir.113more importantly in this discussion, is a sense of powerlessness over the community’s energy future.Jason and Angela discuss this idea in more detail in a section of our interview preceding the quote above:Angela: [It] would have been nice if we tried that wind thing. energy.Me: yeah? wind power?Angela: yeah.Me: why?Angela: It’d be quieter. We have a lot of wind over the lake anyways, every once in a while.And have a back up of having the solar. But that’s a whole new . . .Jason: That’s a different ball game. BC hydro wouldn’t like that idea. BC Hydro wouldn’tlike that idea, because of the fact that Williston Lake is supplying the power and energy outthis way. Why would they put up a big wind mill? Unless they were running it themselves[. . . ] but like I said, BC Hydro is the one who runs the show out here. And I don’t thinkthey’d allow wind mills out here.Me: Why won’t they?Jason: Because it goes against BC Hydro all together.Angela: It would be us having our own energy.Jason and Angela, Feb 18 2013The community’s sense of dependence on BC Hydro, of course, is complicated and troubling to commu-nity members’ minds, but as Jason and Angela point out, it has specific manifestations in discussions ofthe community’s energy future. For them (and other community members) it amounts to a powerlessnessover making decisions with regards to how the community meets its power needs. This powerlessnessis an aspect of the energy poverty experience which an understanding of energy poverty as a justiceissue can incorporate under discussions of procedural justice (and one which understandings of energypoverty as a technical problem fail to integrate into their analysis altogether).On the most basic level, applying a procedural justice lens to questions of energy access demandsthe inclusion of ordinary citizens, especially those affected by energy developments in the planningand decision-making processes involved in energy provision and policy. In fact, the community energyliteratures, increasingly demand participatory processes of energy planning and hail their ‘democratic’powers of ‘transformation’ (Dusyk, 2013; Simcock, 2013; Leggewie and Nanz, 2013). Of course, itgoes without saying that participatory practices were not used in the development of WAC Bennett dam.Nor were basic participatory mechanisms such as public hearings in the environmental review processrelied upon in the development of site C dam unfolding today. However, the application of a proceduraljustice lens to Tsay Keh’s energy access situation is by no means about pointing out this historicalinjustice. Rather, it is about acknowledging the persistent effects of that injustice, while recognizing114that the community’s desire and struggle to address these effects, for example through the developmentof its own alternative energy projects, is located in the present.The community’s relationship with BC Hydro and the sets of energy planning practices that BCHydro embodies is among these reverberating legacies: that the community continues to remain withoutaccess to the electricity grid, even as they were displaced for the purpose of hydroelectric development,is a constant reminder of the very unequal distribution of costs and benefits in the development of WACBennett dam and the energy planning paradigm that enabled it — a fact that continues to underpin atense and acrimonious relationship between the community and BC Hydro. I knew of this tension in anabstract way, before I ever set foot on Tsay Keh territory; but it was not until a trip to the administrationoffices of the Nation in Prince George in December 2012, when sandwiched between the retelling ofracist comments made by BC Hydro employees on flights to Tsay Keh, I was told by a (white) employeeof the Nation of a BC Hydro representative who was recently banned from Tsay Keh territory. Thecomment that had gotten them banned sounded callous and insensitive to my nave, uninitiated ears. Tohave gotten banned from the territory for something that was “just callous” spoke of underlying tensionsthat I only begun to understand when I later encountered the very visceral accounts of loss, and of thepersistent and living sense of injustice born out of development of the dam and the continued lack ofaccess to the grid in the community. Accounts that not only highlighted an uncomfortable dependencyon BC Hydro and a sense of powerlessness in the face of that institution as the above quotes do, but alsooffered more justice-oriented understandings of that relationship:But this thing with Hydro it’s gonna keep going even after we’re gone, you watch. They’regonna pay. They’re still paying. There’s no such thing as settlement. It’s gonna be on theirconscious and they know it.Cathy, Feb 27, 2013Rather than merely framing the community’s contemporary relationship with BC Hydro as a case ofunwanted dependency, this elder alludes to the inherently ongoing nature of any restitution work, andof the implicatedness of the two entities in each other’s trajectories. What this elder demands is arecognition of the role of BCHydro (and the various levels of government that enable its energy planningpractices) in settler-colonial processes that continue to dispossess the Tsay Keh Dene, as well as arecognition of the responsibility of these energy planning processes in creating Tsay Keh’s precariousand unjust energy access situation. It is in this sense that addressing energy poverty, or the pursuit115of energy justice in Tsay Keh requires addressing colonialism and taking a decolonizing approach toenergy planning.Decolonizing the energy planning and provision paradigm in BC requires a robust engagement withquestions of land and resource governance on territories of indigenous peoples, including above allelse respect for indigenous sovereignty. To this end, the path to reconciliation between the province ofBritish Columbia and First Nations communities whose territory it occupies demands steps towards arelinquishing of territorial control (both materially and as it pertains to land and resource decisions) bythe province, and the provision of compensation for losses to indigenous communities (Kotaska, 2013).However, the pursuit of energy justice in Tsay Keh also demands fundamental changes to the natureof energy planning and provision in BC, including addressing its lack of transparency, re-establishingthe link between energy demand and energy generation capacity, creating meaningful opportunitiesfor public participation in energy planning, establishing mechanisms by which settler government andFirst Nation governments share decision-making authority and revenues from energy developments ontheir lands, and in places like Tsay Keh, a shift from the centralized power production paradigm whichhas historically excluded ‘remote’ communities like Tsay Keh from access to its networks of energydistribution. When Jason and Angela discuss and then reject the possibility of developing renewablecommunity energy projects on their territory given BC Hydro’s involvement, they tap into a critique ofthis energy planning and provision paradigm, of which BC Hydro is seen as an embodiment. Jason andAngela, of course, aren’t alone in their analysis of the tensions between BC’s energy planning paradigmand the pursuit of renewable community energy projects. Rob also brings up this tension, but does sowith an eye to the larger processes of energy planning in the province:Why do you think we haven’t gone to wind power or solar yet here? Because BC Hydrodictates to these guys -BC Hydro’s trying to put a dam in their site C Dam, so would theylook very good, encouraging these people to put windmills up here, I don’t think so. I thinkit’d be a conflict for them to go ahead and put windmills here and then have these farmersover in the Peace Arm complaining about why are you wanting to take our farmland andflood it when you’re putting windmills over there? I don’t think they want that kind of asystem to be set up here.Rob, Feb 19, 2013Again, BCHydro here is seen simultaneously as an embodiment of a larger energy planning paradigm,and also an arm of the government. This energy planning paradigm, again, is seen as something fun-116damentally incompatible with the development of community energy projects which communities areincreasingly demanding as part of transitions to both more environmentally sustainable and politicallyjust futures. The tensions between this larger energy planning trajectory and the pursuit of commu-nity energy projects is something that Tsay Keh has much to say about. This tension, and Tsay Keh’scontemporary struggle for energy justice is the subject of the following section.5.3 Tension in the wiresThe previous sections in this chapter have been predominately focused on outlining a historical trajec-tory of power development in Northeastern British Columbia and discussing the impacts of this trajec-tory, both historically and contemporarily, on the people of Tsay Keh. In the course of this discussion,I have suggested that Tsay Keh’s energy poverty is a product of this very system of energy planningand provision. It is a product of this system through the forces of colonial dispossession that haveeroded the community’s ability to meet the needs of its members. Here, energy poverty in Tsay Keh ismerely a manifestation of larger material poverty brought about, in this case, through the flooding anddestruction of Tsay Keh territory as well as other settler colonial practices of the Canadian state. I havealso argued that energy poverty in Tsay Keh is made manifest in the form of a sense of powerlessnessover the community’s energy decisions, particularly as it relates to community’s desire for alternativeenergy projects. This form of energy poverty, I have argued, is also a product of an energy planning andprovision paradigm which excludes public participation in general, and more specifically in the case ofTsay Keh and other indigenous communities ignores the sovereignty of nations on unceded lands and/orrights and title claims enshrined in historical treaties.Throughout this discussion, I have alluded to the ongoing operation of this particular paradigm ofenergy planning and provision, for example with reference to the current debates and plans for thedevelopment of the Site C dam. In this section, I aim to continue with this highlighting of its ongoingoperation in British Columbia, but rather than shifting focus to Site C, I will examine the ongoingoperation of this energy planning and provision paradigm in relation to the development of communityenergy projects, particularly Tsay Keh’s community biomass project which was under developmentfrom 2008 to 2013.1175.3.1 The beginnings of the Williston reservoir biomass projectThe tensions that the community members quoted above were alluding to in the context of hypotheticalrenewable energy projects, did in fact come to a head in the discussions and negotiations around thedevelopment of Tsay Keh’s bioenergy project. Throughout its development, I was fortunate enough toobserve (and participate in) the process by virtue of the fact that my PhD supervisor, Hadi Dowlatabadi,on a sabbatical leave from UBC during the peak period of project development, was heading the tech-nical engineering design and development of this project. A good friend, Sonja Wilson, whose mastersthesis was a feasibility study of this very project (Wilson, 2012), was the lead engineer. I, therefore, hadexceptional access (both through conversation with the technical design team and in being able to attendrelevant meetings with BC Hydro) to the ongoing negotiations with BC Hydro and other entities on thedevelopment of the project. The materials presented in this section are, as a result of this level of access,a sort of insider’s view of community energy project development and its collisions with the prevailingtrajectory of power provision in the province.Tsay Keh’s community energy project was catalysed in 2008 when a whistleblower of sorts calledHadi about accounting for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning the debris wood thatpiles on the Williston reservoir. Hadi has long been critical of the way BC Hydro accounts for andreports the associated greenhouse gas emissions of BC’s electricity system —for example, he critiquedemissions accounting associated with electricity exchange between BC Hydro and its power tradingpartners (Dowlatabadi, 2011). He is the person you call if you think things that are not accounted forshould be included in the calculus. The whistleblower reported that BC Hydro, in another one of theprojects of “here and there”, had contracted the Tsay Keh Dene Nation to remove the debris wood fromthe reservoir, pile it on the shores, and burn it. The unidentified whistleblower was concerned aboutaccounting for the GHG emissions, Hadi wondered if that wood could be used as a basis for economicactivity (e.g., wood pellets) or to produce energy. It turned out that the community leadership wonderedthe same.BC Hydro’s water licence requirements are such that the “lake” must be navigable. To ensure thisnavigability, BC Hydro collects the debris wood that floats from the bottom, falls from the shores orotherwise finds its way into the reservoir and piles and at the time was being burned on the shores3. Infact, in their application to BC’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, the project team that eventually118assembled to develop the “Williston Lake Biomass Energy System” estimated that this annual woodburning in the past has had an energy value equivalent to 30 million liters of diesel (Tsay Keh Dene,2010).In its 2010 iteration, The Williston Lake Biomass Energy System proposed to burn 2000 tonnes ofwood debris from the shores of the reservoir to produce a gas through a gasification process, whichwould then be fed into a modified diesel engine to produce electricity, meeting the 300 kW peak de-mand of the community and producing approximately 1020 MWhr of electricity per year (Tsay KehDene, 2010). The project was to improve air and noise quality in the village by displacing some of thediesel load in the community and preventing the open-fire burning of the wood and create 4 jobs in thecommunity. Furthermore, through the proposed project, the funds formerly used to buy diesel would beused in supporting the local economy. Beyond these tangible benefits, the energy project was seen as anopportunity to turn “something that is a negative in the community to something good”, Chief DennisIzony told me in an interview in 2013. When I asked why the community chooses to pursue this project,I was also told repeatedly that the bio-energy project was about “being rid of the diesel generators” andachieving “self-sufficiency” (Energy Project Team Member, May 20, 2011).The self-sufficiency discourse around community energy development, of course, is not unique toTsay Keh. In fact, many of the BC First Nations communities, remote or on-grid, explain their motiva-tions for engaging with community energy projects in terms of realizing a self-sufficiency goal (Rezaeiand Dowlatabadi, 2015). However, as in the case of the broader self-sufficiency discourse among BCFirst Nations communities, Tsay Keh’s understandings of self-sufficiency are multi-faceted and revealcritiques of the nature of energy provision in BC, as well as a desire for a material self-sufficiency in theenergy domain. While this material self-sufficiency is about the meeting of the energy needs of the vil-lage independently of the diesel generators, by using locally available resources the political dimensionof energy self-sufficiency aligns in several ways with the self-determination and sovereignty discoursesof indigenous communities in settler colonial contexts. To the community, self-sufficiency through theenergy project can come through a variety of avenues beyond material self-sufficiency in meeting energyneeds. My interviewees tell me self-sufficiency can come through the possibility of revenue generationfor the community if energy projects were set up as community enterprises, and through employment3BC Hydro has since sought other debris management plans for dealing with the wood piles on the reservoir. A summaryof some management options presented to BC Hydro by a Consulting firm DWB is summarized in their 2015 report (DWBConsulting Services, 2015).119that is independent of BC Hydro. In both instances, the community desires an end to the dependencyon settler-colonial government institutions that have historically been implicated in their dispossession.Interviews with community project administration staff, also highlight other self-sufficiency functionsto be achieved through engagement with community energy projects. In this case, self-sufficiency canbe about gaining power over energy decision-making processes:And that’s just one thing I’ve heard communicated clearly frommany community members:they just want to be self-sufficient, and running their own affairs.Energy Project Team Member, May 20, 2011Tsay Keh’s energy project, then, was a power project, literally in the material sense and also a‘power’ project in the sense of reclaiming decision-making space, which was hitherto centralized withthe settler-colonial state. The energy project, in this way, was an intervention into and disruption ofthe operating land and resource planning paradigms of BC, both with regards to energy planning de-cisions and more broadly the politics of self-determination. In fact, when I interviewed a member ofthe community energy project team in 2011, they discussed the ways in which seeking material self-sufficiency (power as energy) and political self-sufficiency (power as political power) are entwined forthe community:Unfortunately, whether community members agree with it or not, they do have a relation-ship with INAC and they are very dependent upon it and to get off that dependency is goingto require projects like bioenergy self-sufficiency. And then you can generate revenues andyou can become self-sufficient in so many more ways that you would like to define as acommunity.Energy Project Team Member, May 20, 2011Keeping in mind the entanglements of these two invocations of a ‘power project’ in the context of TsayKeh’s community energy project, I want to spend some time discussing the ways in which Tsay Keh’scommunity power project intervenes in and disrupts the electricity planning paradigm which I describedin the first half of this chapter. To do this I want to briefly go back to the earlier discussion around arelational (or dialogic) ontology, and specifically discuss its implications for understanding the energyspace of Tsay Keh.1205.3.2 Relational (energetic) encountersTsay Keh’s energy space, as has been evident throughout this discussion, is a contested one. In manyways, it is a space shaped by competing notions of what counts as legitimate power needs, and whatpower provision mechanisms should be employed in meeting these needs. Furthermore, what I havedescribed to be Tsay Keh’s particular energy access situation is made particular from the vantage pointof urban and southern British Columbia which has had access to some of the cheapest electricity ratesin North America (Hydro Quebec) and whose demands and desires has charted particular trajectoriesof energy and resource development in the North (Wedley, 1986), creating geographically segregatedareas of energy production in the North and Consumption in the South (Dusyk, 2013). Tsay Keh’sremoteness, its state of disconnection from the electricity grid only means something in relation to the“urban and interconnected” British Columbia. Its energy poverty, has specific meanings in relation tothe “energy abundance” of British Columbia. Its community energy project speaks to specific aspectsof the provincial trajectory of energy planning and provision that I have outlined.The negotiations around the development of the community energy project reveal further elementsof this trajectory and its present role in shaping Tsay Keh’s precarious energy access. As the communityenergy project developed through various feasibility and design stages, it engaged in various ways withthe history of resource development in the region and articulated an alternative to that trajectory in theform of community-based energy planning and development. The meeting of these two trajectories ofpower development, then, is an opportunity to reflect on the present day operation of the provincialpower provision paradigm in maintaining a variegated system of energy access. However, it’s importantto note that these trajectories meet in Tsay Keh, not just in the sense that the community energy projectspeaks back to some legacy of the provincial energy planning paradigm. The provincial energy planningtrajectory is, of course, discursively present in Tsay Keh in that sense — in the legacy of the WACBennett dam, its impacts on the people of Tsay Keh and the ways in which that history shapes TsayKeh’s views of energy use and access. But it is also materially present, in a contemporary way, throughthe operation of BC Hydro’s Remote Community Electrification (RCE) program.RCE was born after the government of British Columbia passed a legislation in 2007 mandatingBC Hydro to take steps to ensure the benefits of our so-called “heritage assets” (i.e. the dams) areavailable to all British Columbians (Government of British Columbia, 2007). This effectively meant a121mandate to BC Hydro to provide power to off-grid communities like Tsay Keh, who were previouslyoperating their own energy systems. This making available of the benefits of the so called heritageassets was supposed to provide a mechanism by which the high costs of electricity generation in off-gridcommunities could be at least partly subsidized by revenues generated from the BC Hydro system in theprovince. In its initial iterations RCE would see the responsibility for the operation of diesel generatorsin remote communities transferred to BC Hydro. As part of this process, BC Hydro would assumethe responsibility of power provision, take over the ownership of community generation assets fromcommunities, receive the INAC subsidies which paid for (a part of) community’s electricity generation4,and provide power to the community at rural BC rates. Since BC Hydro was going to sell power to thecommunities at rural BC rates (at the time 11c/kwhr), this process was thought to reduce the costs paidby communities for the provision of electricity (which for diesel generated electricity was at the timeclose to 50c/kwhr).However, interest on the part of BC First Nations communities in renewable energy projects aspaths to self-sufficiency (Rezaei and Dowlatabadi, 2015) necessitated BC Hydro to move beyond theoperation of diesel generators and engage with communities’ renewable energy projects. Early on, BCHydro found that that in many cases the communities were only interested in BC Hydro service ifdiscussions of renewable energy were not part of the negotiations. Alluding to the historically tenserelationship between many First Nations and BC Hydro, a BC Hydro representative explained to me, in2011, the importance of including community renewable energy projects in the discussions:In a lot of cases, the communities aren’t interested [in RCE]: [. . . ] the economics alonedon’t justify going with BC Hydro service necessarily, in a lot of communities. So, theywant clean energy, and they want BC Hydro rates because there’s a saving there [. . . ]they’re kind of linked together.BC Hydro Representative, May 30, 2011This insistence on the inclusion of renewable community energy projects in discussions around the RCEprogram was one of the first points of contact between the community energy trajectory and the largerparadigm of which BC Hydro is emblematic. This initial contact is particularly interesting because itrepresents an opening in which community energy is articulated in this space as an alternative paradigmto the thing that BC Hydro represents.4In addition to the INAC funds formerly received by Tsay Keh, BC Hydro received a 10% bump in the subsidy. INACfunds were also used to buy the capital equipment.122Community energy projects occupy somewhat of an ambivalent space in the academic literature.There is ambiguity (and some of it even strategically so) around just what constitutes a community en-ergy project, ranging from industry-developed, but “community-sized” projects to industry-developedprojects that have specific local impacts, to community owned and operated energy projects (Walker andDevine Wright, 2008). The concept itself has its roots in several different kinds of literatures includingthe 1970’s discussions around “appropriate technologies” and “soft energy paths” (Lovins, 1978; Schu-macher, 2011) and their more contemporary manifestations in the literature on distributed generation(IEA, 2002). The distributed generation literatures, certainly, position a network of smaller, community-sized energy projects as a distinct alternative to energy provision systems that rely on large centralizedpower plants like BC Hydro’s generation facilities on Peace and Columbia rivers. Since renewableenergy projects, often produce smaller community-sized amounts of power, distributed generation lit-eratures are often closely linked with discussions around the integration of renewable technologies inelectricity grids (Pepermans et al., 2005). Community energy projects, as conceptualized in these lit-eratures, then, offer fundamentally different characteristics to existing centralized systems in technicalterms, including the use of renewable technologies and generation scales that are far smaller than thesystems that have dominated the energy landscape in the post-WWII era.Community energy also finds a home in less technical literatures that advocate for public partici-pation in energy planning on ‘democratic’, procedural justice and sustainability-related grounds. It hasbeen argued that community energy projects might be more attuned to local needs and values (Hoffmanand High-Pippert, 2005), and that community energy projects lead to more sustainable and ‘democratic’outcomes (Wolsink, 2007; Leggewie and Nanz, 2013). While much of this literature relies on sim-plistic notions of democracy and sustainability, more recent work attempts to ask important questionsabout how ‘local’ communities view and participate in the development of community energy projects(Maruyama et al., 2007; Jeong et al., 2012; Rodman, 2013).‘Community energy’ in this context is invoked within a vast array of political agendas ranging fromthose who seek to implement community energy projects as ’justice’ projects (Rezaei and Dowlatabadi,2015, see for example), to those who use it as part of a ’neoliberal’ agenda challenging governmentutility monopolies (Morris, 2013; Pepermans et al., 2005, see) or those who seek to increase the localpublics’ acceptance of industry-led projects within these neoliberal energy landscapes (Devine-Wright,2005; Ellis et al., 2007; Van der Horst, 2007; Wu¨stenhagen et al., 2007; Warren and McFadyen, 2010,123see). In many of these invocations, however, community energy is articulated, again, as a mode of en-ergy planning and provision in stark contrast with the more mainstream paradigm of centralized powerprovisioning which has been characteristic of the post-WWII era. Instead of building large power plants,often in places far from the sites of consumption and transporting that power through the grid, commu-nity energy projects and the distributed generated networks of power that they will be a part of areseen as a closer geographical pairing of electricity generation and consumption (Calvert and Simandan,2010). These projects also fundamentally challenge the notions around who should be included in theplanning process for energy development, arguing for greater inclusion of publics (sometimes narrowlyenvisioned as independent power producers in liberalized energy markets) over the state and its technicalexperts.In BC, community energy planning and projects, as Dusyk (2013) outlines has been used to chal-lenge the BC government and BC Hydro’s supply-oriented energy development approach. In the spaceof contemporary BC First Nations communities, renewable community-initiated energy projects are ini-tiated in pursuit of communities’ self-determination agendas, and as I have alluded to above and arguedelsewhere (Rezaei and Dowlatabadi, 2015), are seen as important mechanism for addressing colonialismand resource-extractive capitalism in British Columbia. Here, community energy attempts to foreground‘communities’ and their priorities and needs over that of extractive capital. In fact, the communities’insistence on the need for community renewable energy projects, in BC remote communities, led to abroadening of the BC Hydro RCE mandate from simply providing more affordable energy to off-gridcommunities to meeting 50% of the electricity demand in these communities using renewable projects(Hawley, 2010). It is in this sense that the interactions between the community energy paradigm and thecentralized energy planning paradigm that BC Hydro has historically represented throw various aspectsof these paths to energy provision and planning into relief. In the following sections, I will explore threekey issues in the interactions between these two energy provision trajectories in the space of Tsay Keh’scommunity energy project development to reveal contemporary manifestations of BC Hydro’s approachto energy planning as it relates to community energy projects.5.3.3 RenewablesAs I have outlined in the discussion above, RCE’s engagement with communities and their desires forcommunity energy projects led to a change in RCE’s mandate from providing affordable (diesel) power124to remote communities to providing affordable power to remote communities while meeting 50% of thedemand in these communities with community renewable energy projects. Of course, BC Hydro did notdo this out of shear good will. As the BC Hydro representative quoted in the interview above suggests,many of the communities that they approached were simply not interested in BC Hydro service, despiteits promise to reduce costs to communities. In fact in the 6 years that RCE was in operation, theymanaged to bring a total of 6 communities under their umbrella5, more than half of which already hadtheir own renewable energy projects on the go.For these communities -Tsay Keh among them- the RCE program became a framework for the in-tegration of the various energy efforts in the community. And the shift in RCE’s position to include a50% renewable goal, even if ultimately more discursive than material6, represented one of the ways inwhich the community energy discourse challenged the larger paradigm of which BC Hydro is a repre-sentative. Of course, in remote communities with no access to the electricity grid, the entire operationof that paradigm should be inapplicable, but as I will discuss, the BC Hydro of today, even in remotecommunities, continues to function as an artefact of that paradigm of energy planning — a fact thatwas revealed through the interaction of the two entities around Tsay Keh’s community energy projectdevelopment.BC Hydro’s involvement in Tsay Keh’s energy project development, redefined the parameters ofthe space in which the project was being developed. In Tsay Keh, this new arrangement meant thatBC Hydro would become responsible for the provision of electricity in the community through theoperation of the diesel generators and the community grid. As Figure 5.2, shows, through RCE, BCHydro would generate power that costs about 55 cents/kWhr and sell it to the community at a rateequivalent to rural BC rates, which is subsidized by BC rate payers as well as the pre-existing INACsubsidies. As Figure 5.3 shows, the community’s own biomass project, if it were to become operational,would sell its generated electricity to BC Hydro at the avoided cost of diesel (that is the money BCHydro would save by not burning the diesel required to produce the equivalent amount of electricity -about 30 cents/kWhr). BC Hydro would then sell electricity to the community at rural BC rates (11cents a kWhr at the time).5In that same time period RCE connected 5 other communities to the BC provincial grid. However the grid connection ofthese communities were part of settlement negotiations between the government of British Columbia and these communities.In the case of these communities, RCE was merely the mechanism used for the grid connection of these communities.6None of those community energy projects have actually materialized.125Figure 5.2: Electricity transactions under RCEFigure 5.3: Electricity transactions with the community biomass project and RCE. Note that thereported values of 60 and 30 cents/kwhr are average values used for purposes of preliminarycalculations. Actual EPA terms are confidential, where EPAs exist.The terms of this series of transactions were sometimes pre-legislated, often contested and for themost part always in the process of being (re)negotiated. The contestations around the inclusion ofrenewable projects as part of RCE discussions, in fact, led to defining these transactions in the firstplace. It is through these negotiations and contestations that the two trajectories of power developmentrelationally defined themselves and each other as competing processes. Next, I will explore the issue ofdemand projection in the meeting of these two trajectories.5.3.4 Demand projectionsAfter the initial contestations around the inclusion of renewable projects in RCE discussions, the nextset of contestations in Tsay Keh’s project occurred around the issue of energy demand projection. Thecommunity energy project team, in this space, contested the utility’s future projections, which allowed126for a community growth of 1% per year beyond 2010 on the basis of historic growth rates (BC Hydro,2010). The project team took issue with these projections, arguing that it took account of neither the newdirection of installing electric heating and hot water heaters in future community housing developmentsnor the possibility of any economic growth in the community.For example, BC Hydro’s Community Electricity Plan document, developed in 2010, projects acommunity residential consumption of 888 MWhr annually in 2013, where the community project esti-mate, even after reducing the potential for electric heating growth in older homes, reports a figure 50%larger for that year, at 1348 MWhr/year (BC Hydro, 2010; Wilson, 2013). The main source of discrep-ancy between the two estimates is the question of ’fuel switching’, or in this case, a changing of homeand water heating practice from those that use wood or propane in favour of those that use electricity.There are several strong arguments for expecting this change in household practices, the most impor-tant of which is the explicit policy of the Nation to install baseboard electric heating, and electric waterheating in all its new housing developments.When Chief Izony explained the Nation’s motivations for this change in policy to me in 2013, hementioned the burden of paying for propane on community households, and the “inconvenience” of notbeing able to cook and shower for households that run out of propane and can’t afford to buy more.In this sense, planning for this fuel switching was imminently linked to eliminating some of the mostperverse manifestations of energy poverty in Tsay Keh, as I have described in the previous chapter. Thedifference between the two electricity consumption estimates is, in fact, almost entirely due to account-ing for the increased electricity demand associated with this policy in new housing construction. Incontrast, the estimates for non-residential electricity demand in the village are fairly consistent betweenthe two reports.This discrepancy between the residential consumption estimates came to head in the negotiationsaround and energy purchase agreement. As the final community project report summarizes, on July 12th,2012 a formal proposal for an EPA was submitted to the RCE group, whom on July 31st, responded withconcerns over the technical feasibility of the proposal, demanding a third party review.In August of 2012, the community project team met with the RCE team to discuss these concerns.The community project’s final report summarizes this meeting as follows :At the meeting the question of the electricity load forecast was raised and BC Hydro stated127that they would only sign an EPA for the existing electricity consumption in the village, andthat they would not accept the “artificial” fuel switch to electric heating as described in theproposal (Wilson, 2013, p.13).Of course, BC Hydro’s own earlier report anticipated fuel switching and discussed it as a “liability”for BC Hydro. It then, went on to state their generator sizing policy which takes account of only“the needs of the present and reasonably anticipated customer load” (BC Hydro, 2010, p.21). Thisdeeming “artificial” or to use the language of their policy “unreasonable” a change in energy usingpractices which, in this case, is literally built into the infrastructure of the place, not only signifiesan unwillingness on the part of BC Hydro to consider the community’s plans for growth in housinginfrastructure by disregarding the implications of their preferred direction of growth on energy demand(i.e. the use of electric hot water and heating), but also has important implications for the viability of acommunity energy project.In a remote community setting with no access to the electricity grid, the potential revenues of aproject is imminently linked to local consumption. In other words, the inability to sell excess generationon to a grid means that revenues from any community energy project is limited to what the communityconsumes. Economies of scale work against communities whose demand is too small, and when demandis not allowed to change shape -from relying on propane for heating to electricity, in this case- thechoice of technologies to meet this small demand becomes restricted to only those technologies thatare specifically designed for meeting very small demands. This, along with some other demands ofthe paradigm of energy provision that BC Hydro espouses, as I will discuss below, affect the economicviability of Tsay Keh’s project in profound ways.5.3.5 ReliabilityAnother area of contestation between the two trajectories was the issue of “reliability”. Reliabilitybecame a flashpoint in the negotiations between the two camps relatively early on. For example, in theproject initiation meeting, on February 9th, 2012, BC Hydro discussed the contingency of an EnergyPurchase Agreement on the community project’s technology of choice meeting its reliability criteria(Wilson, 2013). Reliability, BC Hydro insisted at the time, can only be demonstrated by the proventrack record of the same system operating elsewhere. BC Hydro defines ‘proven technologies’ forpurposes of their electricity purchase decisions as follows:128The technology is readily available in commercial markets and is in commercial use (notdemonstration use only), as evidenced by at least three generation plants generating energyfor a period of not less than three years, to a standard of reliability generally required bygood utility practice. (BC Hydro, 2008, p.9)The implication of this definition for remote community energy projects, firstly, is that no trulynovel arrangement can be used. In some ways, this is a reasonable requirement. Maintaining an untestedsystem in a remote community is costly and difficult and chances of failure are higher. Of course, an EPAdoes not make BC Hydro responsible, in any way, for the operation and maintenance of the system. Thebulk of the responsibility -and the burden of becoming a testing ground for a new technology- remainswith the community. BC Hydro, however, bears the risk of planning on purchasing power from a thirdparty and not developing enough generation capacity of its own but remaining responsible for providingadequate power regardless of the performance of this third party generator.But BC Hydro already accounts for this risk in the EPA terms that specifically deal with the priceof the power purchased. As I have already described, in EPA discussions with remote communitiesas part of RCE, BC Hydro indicated that if communities were to develop their own power projects, itwould purchase power from them at the avoided cost of diesel. As I have discussed before, the avoidedcost of diesel takes into account only the major operational costs of producing electricity —namely,the fuel. That is to say, it accounts only for the cost of diesel associated with producing a single unitof electricity. What it does not account for is the capital cost associated with securing an appropriateamount of generation capacity. In other words, using the avoided cost of diesel implies that purchasingpower from the community energy project makes no difference in BC Hydro’s calculus of determininghow much generation capacity to develop.BC Hydro would truly face risks from purchasing energy from a technology that it deems unproven,if it were using the avoided levelized cost of electricity (closer to 50/kWhr than 30/kWhr for dieselgeneration electricity) in its EPA negotiations — that is, if BC Hydro was planning on buying a smallergenerator or fewer generators to meet the community’s demand because it was planning on relying onthe community energy project for supplementing the generation capacity of its own generators. Asthings stood in Tsay Keh, BC Hydro was planning on buying enough diesel generation capacity to meetthe entire demand of the village (and its own redundancy requirements)7. That means regardless of what7This purchase was funded by INAC129happened with the community energy project, BC Hydro would be able to meet all of the demand andif the community project was successful, BC Hydro would purchase electricity from the communityenergy project and pay the community project the amount of money it would save from not burningdiesel.All this is to say that BC Hydro is already accounting for the risks associated with purchasing powerfrom an ‘unproven’ technology. In insisting on applying its general power purchase policies -developedin the context of on-grid power purchases- to the context of off-grid power purchase negotiations, BCHydro is failing to consider the unique circumstances of Tsay Keh and in some ways, double counting itsrisk. What’s more, it is imposing even more constraints, on an already constraint technological selectionprocess. For Tsay Keh’s project, this meant that the 300 kWe CPC gasification technology that formedthe basis of its initial proposal would not be eligible for an EPA with BC Hydro — but that an OrganicRankin Cycle (ORC) system would be (Wilson, 2013).The CPC system was constituted of multiple 150kWe units. Three of these units would cover theredundancy standards of BCH and provide room for growth. The ORC system, on the other hand, cameas a much larger system. And while 300kWe units were available in Europe, they were not available inNorth America. The project team, therefore, had to design their project around a 600+kWe unit. Usingthis much larger ORC system, rather than the CPC gasification system proposed earlier, increased thecapital costs of the project dramatically. By the time, all the various requirements of the project wereaddressed in the design, the initial proposed price tag of $3.3M had grown to $12M (Wilson, 2013; TsayKeh Dene, 2010)— the largest part of this increase due to the change in technology from a gasificationto an ORC system.Of course, concerns over the reliability of proposed technologies are entirely legitimate (though,maybe not for BC Hydro in this context, as I have argued). However, reliability discussions in thiscontext need to take account of the particularities of the situation. One such particularity already alludedto is the combination of lack of access to the grid and the small size of the community’s electricitydemand (paired with the fact that heat from ORC system was not usable in Tsay Keh, because of thegeographical dispersion of the houses). This combination of circumstances is somewhat unique. Energysolutions for these kinds of contexts, indeed, must be developed specifically for these contexts and mustengage with notions of reliability and demonstrated performance specific to these contexts. As thisdiscussion has revealed, many of BC Hydro’s positions in its negotiations with the community energy130project team suggest a lack of appreciation for the particularities of the context and can be read as theinsistent application of the paradigm of power provision which begat BC Hydro to a situation whichdemands a fundamentally different approach.Another area of tension around issues of reliability between the community and BC Hydro arosewhen BC Hydro decided to replace the community’s existing generators with new ones as part of theRCE program. This decision to spend approximately $3M on buying new generators was justifiedby BC Hydro on reliability grounds. They wanted none of the risks and liabilities of old generatorsand therefore negotiated with INAC to upgrade the community’s energy infrastructure all together aspart of the RCE take over. This decision, however, seemed suspect both on the part of communityadministrators and the community energy project team. It seemed to them that prioritizing new upgradesover the many other needs of the community (including the community’s own energy project) was yetanother instant of the siloed approach taken to energy planning, as well as planning for communityneeds more broadly. To explore this issue, during my fieldwork, I asked people explicitly about theirviews on the performance of their current generators from a reliability perspective and about competingareas of priority.With regards to the performance of their current generators, people in Tsay Keh overwhelmingfound the performance of their current generators satisfactory, and more importantly, consistently rankedother areas of priority with equal implementation costs to replacing generators, such as building a watertreatment facility or the provision of free propane for residents for the next 20 years, as more pressingneeds. Furthermore, electricity that is as reliable as it is in on-grid contexts was the option that garneredthe most number of low or not at all’ priority rankings along with the cash handout option, as Table 5.1,below, summarizes.Here, again, BC Hydro’s energy planning processes, along with INAC’s siloed approach to planningfor community needs, fail to foreground the needs of the community. In double counting risks of whatthey deem ‘unproven technologies’ and the insistence on purchasing new and unnecessary generatorsat the expense of more meaningful things to the community, BC Hydro insists on applying notions ofreliability, risk and ‘proven performance’ inherited from its on-grid developments to an off-grid setting.In doing so, BC Hydro makes the range of technologies available for this setting from a very smallselection of technologies to one, with a rather large price tag, in effect, making the project impossible.131High or very high Medium Low or not at all NAWater treatment facility 81% 5% 10% 5%Free propane to residents forthe next 20 years69% 10% 19% 2%40K to each household 62% 10% 21% 7%Electricity that is as reliableas the supply in PrinceGeorge60% 17% 21% 2%A pool and recreation centre 14% 74% 12% 0%Weekly doctor visits for thenext 20 years12% 71% 17% 0%Table 5.1: Rating of priority developments with equal cost as the purchase of new generators forthe community5.4 Lessons from engagementIn the space of Tsay Keh’s energy project development and negotiations, several characteristics of thetwo paradigms that came into contact are revealed through their collisions over flashpoint issues. In fact,the very notion that there are two paradigms of energy planning in collision in this space, rather thanmerely two entities representing different sets of interests is born out of the revelations of this processof engagement. I have identified three flashpoint issues in my description of the engagement processbetween the two entities: the inclusion of renewables, the issue of future load projections and the notionsof reliability at play. It is the positions of each of the entities on these flashpoint issues that defines theparadigmatic characteristics of each of the two entities.The ‘old’ paradigm of centralized energy planning, to which large dams like the WAC Bennettdam belong, relies on large energy generation facilities often miles away from much smaller sites ofconsumption. This geographical unpairing of the sites of generation and consumption, as well as thescales of generation and consumption is made possible through the grid which connects these largefar away power plants with smaller consumers of electricity in different regions and municipalities.This system of energy planning and provision has produced specific understandings of the kinds oftechnologies that can be relied on for power provision both in terms of generation capacity and reliability(including what reliability in this kind of system means). In its specific regional interpretations, it hasalso created specific ways of estimating future demand and planning for the meeting of this projected132demand. In BC, as the first half of this chapter argued, the specific shape of this electricity planningregime is one that treats future industrial demand as a thing that is decoupled from existing demandprojected into the future by the constant planning for industrial loads that do not materialize.Community energy as part of a distributed generation paradigm, on the other hand, demands adifferent pairing of sites of consumption and generation — one that relies on a closer pairing of thetwo in terms of both geography and scale. As an energy justice project, which I have argued it is inTsay Keh, community energy’s foregrounding of community needs demands specific considerationsfor community’s priorities in terms of future growth or degrowth. It should be no surprise, then, thatthe flashpoints of the meeting of these two paradigms would occur around questions of what kinds oftechnologies can be relied upon to produce electricity and how future demand is to be estimated andplanned for. The tensions in the negotiations around Tsay Keh’s energy project, as I have describedabove, are entirely symptomatic of the meeting of these two paradigms.However, in many ways, it is genuinely surprising that these specific points of contention arise inthe context of Tsay Keh’s community energy project development, because the off-grid nature of TsayKeh’s energy systems should throw all of the assumptions and operating parameters of the centralizedenergy planning paradigm into question and obsolescence. That BC Hydro brings its expectations ofappropriate technologies and notions of reliability to this context and insists on applying them to afundamentally different situation (one that lacks the grid) would suggest an absurd reliance on the energyplanning processes that create energy poverty in the first place — in this case, energy poverty in itsmanifestation as powerlessness (material and otherwise) in Tsay Keh.But insistence on a relational reading of the paradigms of energy planning engaged in these negotia-tions reveals not only the characteristics of each in a static way, but also places where their engagementsleave meaningful changes in either approach. One such change was the discursive embracing of re-newable technologies by BC Hydro as part of RCE program. Another such impact eventually occurredaround understandings of reliable, proven generation technologies. In January 2013, as the Final com-munity project report outlines, BC Hydro informed the community energy project team of a newfoundwillingness to consider novel technologies in its EPA decisions in remote communities (Wilson, 2013).By January 2013, however, the community project team and community administration had reacheda decision to not further pursue the project due to the large financial risk that its $12M price tag posed tothe community. In their final recommendation, in light of this new willingness to consider less proven133technologies, the community energy project team recommended considering a small-scale (45kWe)biomass gasification system from Germany. This is a technology also under consideration by the neigh-bouring community of Kwadacha and there are clear benefits to the two communities using the sametechnology in terms of developing local expertise around particular technologies for maintenance pur-poses.Nevertheless, none of the RCE communities have succeeded in developing energy projects at thetime of writing, so my assessment of how the engagement between the two trajectories of power devel-opment might have changed either trajectory is limited to discursive manoeuvring within the space ofTsay Keh’s negotiations.The interaction of the two paradigms in the space of Tsay Keh energy project negotiations, however,also reveals unexpected aspects of the community energy discourse. Much of the discussion here hasbeen focused on BC Hydro’s inflexibility around the technological specificity of providing power for asmall, off-grid community- namely the particular points of tension that arose around notions of relia-bility and demonstrated performance as they relate to the perverse economies of scale which are at thecore energy generation technologies. The flip side to this argument is that there are not many renewabletechnology options that could actually work in a situation like Tsay Keh’s.Outside of those with very small renewable generation capacity (of the kind that would be considerednegligible in meeting communities’ electricity demand), the only technology that has been used withany success at all in remote communities in BC are run-of-river technologies that attempt to supplementthe diesel generators. Most others have not been able to deliver their promises in the constrained contextof small, off-grid community power provision. This was certainly the case with the biomass technolo-gies that were considered for Tsay Keh. The lead design engineer for the community energy project,explained this to me as follows: It got too big and too expensive. Because, in the end, there wasn’t atechnology that was small-enough and robust-enough for that scale of generation (Sonja Wilson, March27, 2014). In other words, the project would have been feasible if the electricity demand in Tsay Kehwas larger, or if there existed robust technologies that were a better match for the scale of electricityconsumption in the village, generating smaller amounts of electricity. However, the particular demandsof small generation capacity, ‘proven’ track record (as understood by BC Hydro) and the failure of BCHydro in recognizing the specific challenges that these demands impose on community energy projectsmeant that Tsay Keh’s project posed a large financial risk on the community and could not go ahead.134Renewable energy technologies and the community energy paradigm are said to herald a closerpairing of energy consumption and production (Calvert and Simandan, 2010), of producing new kindsof ‘localisms’ around energy. This is true to a certain extent, but it is also true, as this discussion hasrevealed that many renewable technologies rely on the grid, and struggle in its absence. Renewabletechnologies might create closer pairings of energy production and consumption, but their localism isnot a closed one— it’s an interconnected one. The infeasibility of Tsay Keh’s energy project highlightsthe impossibility and problematics of the kind of community energy discourse that ignores the questionsof interconnection, and in this sense takes for granted certain artefacts of the centralized energy planningparadigm.The encounter between the community energy paradigm and the energy planning paradigm thatBC Hydro employs in its power provisioning exposes the ways in which the state of energy poverty inTsay Keh is maintained by the mainstream energy-planning paradigm, even when it attempts to engagematerially and discursively with the alternative energy provision paradigm of community energy. Thismaintaining of the state of precarious energy access is accomplished in Tsay Keh through the resistancesand inflexibility of BC Hydro in accommodating the needs of a community energy system in its planningpractices. But this encounter also sheds light on the bigger question of just what is deemed legitimateelectricity demand when planning for the provision of future demand. As I have demonstrated in thefirst half of this chapter, large-scale industrial electricity demand has historically (and as the discussionsaround Site C and LNG have suggested, contemporarily) been not only accommodated, but explicitlyplanned around, even when the possibility of it materializing has been tentative at best. Demand growth,in Tsay Keh, by contrast is capped at 1%, denying the Nation not only the possibility of increasedeconomic activity, but even more importantly, the very material increase in electricity demand thatcomes with the concrete housing policy changes of implementing electrical heating and water heatingappliances in new housing units. In this sense, one of the central tensions between the two paradigmsis around the question of which needs are foregrounded in planning for the meeting of future electricityneeds.5.5 ConclusionsIn this chapter, I have argued that energy poverty must be understood as a product of the systems ofenergy planning and provision that decide how energy is to be produced and distributed as well as135what constitutes legitimate needs. Discussing Tsay Keh’s energy poverty as a product of this system,I have demonstrated in sections 5.1 and 5.2 of this chapter, that Tsay Keh’s situation of precariousenergy access has come about historically through the particular operations of BC’s centralized energyprovision paradigm.This paradigm has historically been a case of, and served to further enable, resource extractionprojects in the province’s Northeast. During the time of the development of the energy facilities on thePeace and Columbia rivers (and more recently with the development of Site C dam), it has primarilyplanned on meeting industrial energy demand for industries that did not exist at the time of planningand often never materialized, thereby decoupling energy supply decisions from existing demand char-acteristics. Furthermore, during the time that the developments on Peace and Columbia rivers wereplanned and executed, it has done so with little to no public scrutiny and input, thus decoupling thepower planning process from the publics. The planning and provision paradigm is, therefore, central-ized, both in the sense that power is produced in large “centralized” facilities and that the power to makeenergy planning decisions is centralized with the state, and in this case to serve the interests of extractivecapital.This paradigm of energy planning has produced Tsay Keh’s energy poverty in two ways: First, byflooding the lands and making impossible the land-based practices that enabled the survival of the TsayKeh Dene people, it, as well as other concurrent colonial projects of the Canadian state, has foisted acondition of material poverty (of which energy poverty is a form) on people of Tsay Keh. This materialpoverty is exacerbated in the case of Tsay Keh’s energy situation by the lack of access to the provincialelectricity grid, which exposes the community to modes of access to energy services that are three orfour times more expensive than equivalents available elsewhere in the province.Secondly, the legacy of this energy planning paradigm has left the community with a sense of pow-erlessness over their energy decisions, as well as a sense of dependency on BC Hydro for access tolabour markets and relief from material poverty. This manifestation of energy poverty in Tsay Keh issimultaneously a direct product of the historical patterns of energy development in Northeastern BritishColumbia and the current operations of BC Hydro’s approach to energy planning in the space of itsinteractions with Tsay Keh’s community energy project.As I have outlined in section 5.3 of this chapter, Tsay Keh initiated the development of its owncommunity energy project in 2008 aiming to address several manifestations of energy poverty at the136community level. The project aimed to generate revenues for the community through the sales of itselectricity, thus reducing the burden of energy expenses. It also aimed to tackle the sense of powerless-ness within the community by reclaiming the power of decision making over the community’s energyfuture. In its use of the debris wood that collects on the Williston reservoir, as the community’s electedChief described to me, it also aimed to turn “something that was a negative in the community to apositive,” addressing the legacies of resource extraction and colonialism in Tsay Keh territory.The development of Tsay Keh’s energy project was an opportunity for the foregrounding of thecommunity’s priorities and needs, and in doing so, employing an approach to energy planning whichwould counter the prevailing paradigm of which BC Hydro is emblematic. In addition to this projectof material and political self-sufficiency for the community, additional priorities included plans for agrowth in housing units in the community as well as the installation of electric heating in new housingdevelopments to help reduce the burden of propane costs (as well as improve the economies of scale atplay for the community energy project).The negotiations with BC Hydro around the development of the community energy project, in thespace of the Remote Community Electrification (RCE) program, represented the meeting of two energyplanning paradigms in Tsay Keh— that of community energy and BC’s particular version of the central-ized energy planning paradigm. During the space of these negotiations, the two paradigms came headto head on three flash point issues: the inclusion of renewable community energy projects in the RCEprogram, discrepancies between demand projections of the community and BC Hydro (and questionsof what demands were legitimate), and BC Hydro’s application of notions of reliability from its on-gridpower purchase practices.On the first issue, BC communities succeeded, discursively, though ultimately not materially, atbroadening the RCE mandate to include a 50% renewable generation goal in remote communities.Though, ultimately, the RCE program was cancelled and even in communities where RCE was com-pleted, no renewable projects have yet materialized.On the issue of demand projections, BC Hydro’s insistence on rejecting the community’s demandprojections had implications for the choice of technologies that were available for the community energyproject, as well representing a failure to foreground communities priorities, including tackling energypoverty in the community by reducing household reliance on expensive propane. Similarly, the appli-cation of the reliability criteria from on-grid contexts to Tsay Keh’s off-grid context, further narrowed137the technology options available to the community project. The combination of BC Hydro’s positionson these two flash point issues left the community energy project team with one technology option witha price tag of $12M, and an Energy Purchase Agreement insufficient to secure debt financing for sucha large capital investment. This combination of constraints represented too large a financial risk for thecommunity.Ultimately, this account of the relationship between these energy planning and provision paradigms,reveal how Tsay Keh’s energy poverty is historically produced and contemporarily maintained throughthe operation of a distinct energy planning and provision paradigm, even as it is countered by alternativeparadigms that nonetheless reproduce certain aspects of it.138Chapter 6Structural Problems6.1 IntroductionAs I suggested in the introductory chapter of this dissertation, the articulation of a mechanism by whichthe injustices being claimed can be remedied is an important part of a justice claim, or certainly, of mak-ing one actionable. Of course, the articulation of remedial approaches is challenging, time-consumingand in situations where systemic injustice is being claimed, often requires years of organizing by thoseaffected before even the most cursory commitment to partake in such a conversation is secured from thesystem that perpetrates that injustice. It is, nonetheless, in such moments that policy makers attempt toengage with various justice claims in the hopes of addressing them.While the previous chapter was in part focused on outlining one part of a community’s attempt ataddressing the injustices of their energy access situation, this chapter focuses on one policy tool oftenused to address energy poverty more broadly. Residential energy retrofit programs designed for low in-come energy users, or those who meet some definition of energy poverty, have become a common policytool for improving the energy performance of housing units, thereby reducing energy consumption andtherefore expenditure among households who spend a disproportionately large part of their income onmeeting their energy needs. This policy tool, of course, is not one necessarily designed by those af-fected. It is, rather, often a technically designed policy instrument with little input from those that itattempts to help. This chapter aims to contribute some perspectives derived from doing on-the-groundethnographic work on the delivery of energy efficiency programs to inform such policies.Beginning with a review of the literature on residential housing retrofits as means of addressing en-139ergy poverty, this chapter goes on to evaluate the effectiveness of one such program in reducing energyuse and expenditure, improving household comfort or addressing energy poverty along a different di-mension of the experience in Musqueam. This study was born out of a multi-year collaboration with theHousing Department at Musqueam and evaluates the only energy efficiency program in BC designedfor low income energy customers, namely, BC Hydro and Fortis BC’s Energy Conservation AssistanceProgram (ECAP).6.2 Insights from the residential retrofit literatureResidential energy retrofits focus on the upgrading of the building envelope, systems and controls withthe aim of improving the energy performance of the building. Common measures include draft proofing,increasing loft or attic insulation, upgrading windows, and installing more efficient appliances such asfridges, water heaters or light bulbs. Some residential energy retrofits programs also use the opportunityfor what they call household education, which ranges from talking to inhabitants about how varioushousehold activities impacts their energy bills, to giving them personalized advice on what additionalmeasures they can take to improve the energy performance of their houses.While retrofits of older buildings with the purpose of improving their energy performance havebeen a mainstay of energy policy for about 40 years, beginning as part of conservation efforts in re-sponse to the energy crises of the 70s and 80s and later becoming a part of climate change mitigationpolicies (Lutzenhiser, 2014), some contend that the residential energy retrofit field is still an emergingone (William et al., 2014; Brown et al., 2014). One reason this assertion is made has to do with the factthat academic studies of energy retrofits frequently question the efficacy of retrofits, debating the costof saving energy in programs that deliver energy retrofits (Joskow and Marron, 1992, 1993; Loughranand Kulick, 2004; Nadel, 1992) and pointing out vast discrepancies between reported calculated savingsfrom such programs and actual savings associated with them (Hewett et al., 1986; Hong et al., 2006;Dowson et al., 2012; Rosenow and Galvin, 2013).Actual savings from many energy retrofit projects appear to be less than calculated savings forseveral reasons. Low quality installations, lack of monitoring of the installation work, lack of monitoringof energy use before installations (and thus overestimating the pre-installation consumption), reboundeffect, and the effects of free-riders are frequently cited as common reasons for this discrepancy.The rebound effect, or Jevon’s paradox - the idea that increasing efficiency of consumption does140not reduce consumption- certainly occupies a lot of academic attention. Various economists have esti-mated the degree of rebound for different classes of efficiency action. For residential energy efficiencyupgrades Greening et al (2000) summarize the results of various studies into categories for lighting (5-12%), new appliances (0%), space heating (10-30%), space cooling (10-50%), and water heating(¡10-40%). However, many argue that in the case of energy efficiency upgrades for low income or energypoor folks, an explicit goal should be a raising of living room temperatures where they are too low forthe maintenance of physiological function. In this sense, rebound is seen as a desirable outcome ofsuch programs. In fact, the quantification of non-energy saving benefits (such as the increase in indoortemperatures) is, increasingly, suggested as important in the evaluation of such programs (Riggert et al.,2000), and several studies have attempted to quantify the temperature takeback phenomenon (Hamiltonet al., 2011; Deurinck et al., 2012; Milne and Boardman, 2000).Free-ridership is another area receiving considerable attention in the academic literature. Some(Loughran and Kulick, 2004) contend that failing to account for free-ridership can lead to an overes-timation of energy savings by between 50 and 90 percent. While, increasingly, many others suggestthat the effect of free-ridership is more than countered by the positive spill-over benefits and markettransformation of energy retrofit programs (New York Energy Smart Program, 2005). For purposes oflow-income energy efficiency programming, which is often income tested, the consensus among utilitiesis largely that the effect is negligible. However, I would like to point out that such assertions often relyon classist assumptions about lower income people and whether or not they procure CFL light bulbs ontheir own — assumptions that should be interrogated and verified at the very least. More importantly,where the issue of targeting has been explicitly investigated by looking at whether those who receiveprograms are merely low income or indeed in energy poverty, ineffective targeting appears to be a prob-lem. Tom Sefton’s work (2002), for example, shows that 75% of the recipients of UK’s Warm Frontprogram where actually not in fuel poverty.While lack of monitoring and evaluation is increasingly receiving attention (Rosenow and Galvin,2013) with evidence mounting in favour of actual energy metering in randomized control trials, the effectof low quality installation and lack of accountability in that work receives little attention. However,recent evaluations of the Warm Front program, again, note poor installation of loft and cavity wallinsulation in 13 and 20% of the homes investigated, respectively.There is also the larger problem of how in real life there does not appear to be as much saving141potential as many energy economics modellers have long suggested. In other words, the so-called energyefficiency gap (or the perceived difference between how much potential there is for saving energy andhow much people actually save), which some claim is up to 23% of end use energy use for the US(Granade et al., 2009), in practice appears much smaller in the residential retrofit market (Metcalf andHassett, 1999). A study of the potential for reducing residential energy consumption in Canada throughhousing retrofits, for example, finds this potential to be very small, between 0 and 8 percent (Guleret al., 2001). Furthermore, the authors find that most major upgrades are economically unfeasible withlong payback periods of about 20 years. This finding is consistent with other work in this field, whichoften suggests that most of the activities that fall on the residential retrofit framework are economicallyunfeasible given current energy prices, and in most cases, upgrading appliances with new models onlymakes sense when they are ready to be replaced.In addition to the uncertainties and problems that surround residential energy retrofits in general,programs designed specifically for low income people or those who meet some definition of energypoverty face a series of unique issues and challenges. These programs are often designed specifically toreach a demographic that is said to be unable to invest in energy efficiency and/or suffering from some ofthe consequences of being in energy poverty. In other words, these programs are sometimes specificallydesigned by governments to alleviate the effects of energy poverty (e.g. the warm front in the UK), andother times are designed by utility companies or third party agents as a consequence of mandates bygovernments to make energy efficiency accessible to lower income people (with the intention of closingthe so-called energy efficiency gap, or reducing GHG emissions).Regardless of intention these programs often run into several challenges, among which is locatingthese low income or vulnerable households and persuading them to partake in the program. In orderto address this challenge, many programs have focused their efforts on social housing providers, with aliterature documenting findings from research on this work in collaboration with universities. William etal (2014), for example find among key barriers in this sector is a lack of familiarity and knowledge withsuch retrofits in both housing providers and their supply chains. Brown et al (2014) report low levelsof participation in retrofits due to the disruptiveness of the work to tenants, technological complexityand issues of trust in the provider — though issues such as lack of support in making this disruptivenessmanageable, the intrusive nature of the work in the context of experiences of low income folks with judg-mental and marginalizing structures that they interact with on a regular basis might also be explanatory142factors. In overcoming the challenges of locating and recruiting participants for such programs, severalauthors and institutions have recommended area-based and community-based approaches. Walker et al(2012), for example, have developed area based fuel poverty indices for Northern Ireland and Morris etal. (2015) have made a case for greater reliance on Local Authorities in the UK for delivering energyefficiency programs. While Reeves (2016) discusses the role of community based groups in increasingengagement and participation, as well as the limitations of these groups in terms of capacity, others, likethe consumer organizationWhich? (2015) and Citizens Advice (2015) note that local and area-based ap-proaches can lead to effective targeting of those in need, improved economies of scale, better synergieswith other local initiatives and more flexibility in how local housing circumstances are addressed.While there are few evaluations of energy efficiency programs designed for low-income and/or en-ergy poor households that look at whether or not they actually make energy more accessible to thesehouseholds, those that do exist tend to find increases in living room temperatures to varying degrees,and no or little reduction in energy use (Oreszczyn et al., 2006; Hong et al., 2009; Lloyd et al., 2008).Furthermore, this literature often finds such programs struggle with targeting those in energy poverty(Sovacool, 2015). This study aims to contribute to this small literature.6.3 ECAP, an overviewIn response to the 2007 Clean Energy Act which ultimately required the meeting of 66% of futureresource needs through energy conservation by 2020, BC Hydro designed several demand-side man-agement programs aimed at low-income households. Included under the umbrella of the Power SmartLow-income Household Program (PSLHP) these programs were namely the low-income Energy Sav-ings Kit (ESK) and the more “ambitious” Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP).ECAP was designed to provide low income households with a home energy evaluation, the instal-lation of the type of measures usually found in the ESK (CFL light bulbs, low-flow shower heads, etc),basic draft proofing assistance, personalized energy efficiency advice and for qualifying customers anew, more efficient refrigerator. The more advanced version of ECAP would add to this basic offeringmore comprehensive insulation upgrades. According to BC Hydro’s own estimates 47% of all eligiblelow income customers would meet the requirements for this more advanced insulation work(Rebmanand Li, 2012).The program in its basic form was to be available to all those who met an electricity consumption143threshold of 8000 kWhr per year (effectively eliminating apartment buildings), and the Low-income CutOff (LICO) established by Statistics Canada. The program commenced operation in 2009, with dismalparticipation— a total of 534 basic and 73 advanced deliveries (Fiscal year 2010). In the following year,while overall participation increased, the proportion of households receiving the advanced measures waseven lower (see Table 6.1 below). As Table 6.1 shows, this proportion remains dismally low throughoutthe program life. Furthermore, these participation numbers suggest that over the first two years of itsoperation the program achieved only about 44% of the participation anticipated in its business case(this percentage is much lower at 9% for advanced retrofits delivered versus what was expected it in itsbusiness case)(Rebman and Li, 2012).Fiscal year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015Basic 534 1659 1148 1852Advanced 73 60 62 38Table 6.1: Participation in ECAP. Data from BC Hydro(Rebman and Li, 2012) the Proceedings of the BC Hydro Rate Design Application to the BritishColumbia Utilities Commission (British Columbia Utilities Comission, 2015, 1.135.7)In 2012 Fortis BC joined ECAP, allowing gas-heated homes who were Fortis BC customers toqualify for the program as well. In that year Fortis’ participation package only included draft proofingand insulation work in line with the basic and advanced streams of ECAP as offered by BC Hydro —but now non-electrically heated homes would also qualify. In subsequent years, high efficiency furnaceswere also included for qualifying households.The next changes to the administration of the program involved dropping the electricity consump-tion threshold from the qualification requirements, followed by changing the the low-income definitionto LICOx1.3 in the DSM Regulation (B.C. Reg 141/2014). Again, as the numbers in Table 6.1 sug-gest, these changes do not seem to have solved the participation (and particularly advanced measuresparticipation) problem of the program.6.3.1 Program objectivesThe Power Smart Low-income Household Program (PSLHP) was designed with several stated goals.According to BC Hydro’s internal review of ECAP (Rebman and Li, 2012, viii), these were:1. Make energy efficiency more accessible to low-income customers;1442. Provide energy savings for BC Hydro;3. Provide low-income customers with energy efficient technologies that reduce energyconsumption and lower utility bills;4. Increase knowledge and awareness of energy efficiency among low-income customers.A close reading of the objectives of the low-income DSM programming offered by BC Hydro would,indeed, suggest that BC Hydro designed these programs with the intention of providing energy savingsfor the Utility (rather than the customer) and on the customer side, providing knowledge, awarenessand access to some energy efficient technologies (and not necessarily savings). In fact, when in 2011, Isuggested a partnership to the ECAP program manager in the evaluation work that I was doing as partof this project on addressing energy poverty, I was told, repeatedly, that the program was not designedto address energy poverty — a point I did not yet appreciate.Regardless of the stated objectives, and the repeated in-person statements on not aiming to addressenergy poverty, BC Hydro projects ECAP as a program designed with the customer in mind. In fact,when one of the intervenors (the British Columbia Old Age Pensioners’ Organization) in the proceedingsof the BC Utilities Commission on BC Hydro’s 2015 Rate design application specifically asked aboutthis, the following exchange took place:1.109.14 Is the primary goal of ECAP to provide BC Hydro with energy savings, or isthe primary goal to significantly reduce bills for low income customers who are havingdifficulty paying their electricity bills?Response: The goal of ECAP is to reduce energy consumption and lower bills for low in-come customers (emphasis added) (British Columbia Utilities Comission, 2015, 1.109.14).While BC Hydro flip flops on what its objectives for ECAP are, this study, starting with the premisethat such programs should help low-income people in reducing their bills, asks whether programs likeECAP, in fact, do reduce bills for low-income households and whether they are, indeed, productive waysof addressing energy poverty, as policy makers have assumed for many year.6.4 Overview of our work in MusqueamThis 3-phase study was designed in collaboration with the Musqueam Housing department. Musqueamis a First Nation community whose traditional territory covers what is now Vancouver and its surround-145ing area. Today, the community occupies a small portion of their traditional territory near the mouth ofthe Fraser river, in what is known as the Musqueam Indian Reserve. In 2012, when the fieldwork forthis study began, there were just over 200 households living on reserve (not including the lease lands).In Phase 1, one hundred households in the community were surveyed to assess their access to en-ergy, including assessments of self-reported thermal comfort, ability to pay bills, degree of worry aboutelectricity and heating bills and physical characteristics of the dwelling along with the types of energyusing practices that might have some bearing on energy use. Electricity use data were collected fromold bills, or via electronic download fromMy Hydro, since BC Hydro would not agree to releasing data,even for customers who authorized it via a consent form. Gas use data were directly obtained fromFortis BC for all participants who signed consent forms authorizing us to do so.This first phase was carried out with the help of two community research assistant — however,ultimately we created a part-time regular energy coordinator position who assisted with the remainingphases of the project.During the second phase of the study, all qualifying households were invited to apply for ECAP.In case of First Nations communities, BC Hydro leaves the income verification step to the community,so all interested households who were on social assistance or would meet low income criteria wereencouraged to apply at various community events. In effect, though, community income verificationmeant that a less strict measure of household vulnerability were used in determining eligibility and as aresult some households who ultimately received ECAP self-reported higher incomes than LICO.Households in our sample who were characterized as having a hard time in meeting energy needswere especially encouraged to apply. Households received help from the community energy coordinatorin filling out the forms. Where followups were needed, the energy coordinator also performed this work,ensuring that applications were completed successfully.BC Hydro’s third party contractors, Quality Program Services, then, conducted the audits andretrofits. 81 households ended up receiving ECAP, with 9 qualifying for a new fridge and only onereceiving advanced ECAP measures, namely blowing insulation into the attic. I went along for 12 ofthese audits/retrofits to observe the way that audits/retrofits were delivered and the interactions betweenthe auditors and the households. My field notes from these visits constitute the data for the second phaseof the study.One common observation from the audits was that many households were not changing their fur-146nace filters regularly, so the Housing Department started a one-time program of providing free furnacefilters for all community households in the hope of reminding households of the importance of regularfurnace maintenance. The community energy coordinator, again, conducted this work, approaching allcommunity households, regardless of their participation in ECAP.In the third phase, I went back to the community one year after the audits/retrofits were performedand conducted interviews as well as surveys with households who had participated in ECAP and house-holds who chose not to participate. This second category of households functioned as a sort of controlgroup, against whom changes in the energy consumption of the first group was measured.This second group is in some ways different from the first. For one thing, even when their incomespermitted participation in the program, they chose not to participate. For another, their incomes aregenerally higher (see Table 6.2). However, there is no statistically significant difference between theelectricity use of the groups while the difference in their gas use might be marginally significant (SeeTable 6.3). Therefore, I use them as a “naturally occurring” control group, while accounting for anydifference in their ‘before ECAP’ energy use an ANCOVA analysis. I use this naturally occurringcontrol group, for several reasons: Firstly, I did not want to create an intentional control group, becausewithholding what was assumed to be a valuable program from low income households who wouldotherwise qualify for it seemed unethical. Furthermore, they function well as a control group in thatthey have been subject to the same “community engagement” as those who received ECAP, and also,by virtue of their inclusion in a 3-year study allow for isolating the effect of energy audits/retrofits asdelivered through ECAP, and excluding Hawthorne’s effect and the effect of community engagementwhich happened as a result of the study.6.4.1 ObjectivesI use the data collected in this study to evaluate ECAP across several indicators of performance reflectingECAP’s own stated objectives and those found in the literature. Firstly, I examine whether participationin ECAP results in a lowering of energy consumption (and bills). Secondly, I examine the “personalizedadvice” delivered during the course of the audits by reviewing the interactions between the auditor andhouseholds in the moment of delivery, and asking the households, a year later, if they remember anyof the advice given to them. Thirdly, I review other impacts of ECAP as identified by households thatparticipated in the program as well as those identified by the Housing department.147No ECAP ECAPLess than $5,000/yr 12% 17%$5,000 - $14,999/yr 8% 20%$15,000 - $24,999/yr 12% 27%$25,000 - $34,999/yr 19% 10%$35,000 - $44,999/yr 19% 10%$45,000 - $54,999/yr 4% 3%More than $55,000/yr 23% 7%NA 4% 7%Table 6.2: Incomes for ECAP and Control groupsMean Welch two sample t-statistic p-valueElectricity use (N=62)No ECAP 6279.20.2225 0.8249ECAP 6105.5Gas use (N=57)No ECAP 72.8-1.759 0.08415ECAP 92.3Table 6.3: Electricity and gas use for reference periods in 2011 for ECAP and Control groups6.5 Energy poverty in MusqueamThough this chapter is primarily an evaluation of ECAP, I want to start by giving a brief account of whatenergy poverty in Musqueam looks like. Much like chapter 4, this section is largely descriptive -thoughmuch less detailed- and in the context of this chapter, is meant to establish an understanding of thephenomenon that programs like ECAP should be attempting to address. I will, in brief, outline severalmanifestations of energy poverty in Musqueam revealed through the surveys as well as the ethnographicwork I conducted in Musqueam.6.5.1 Energy billsMany households in Musqueam shoulder high energy burdens. Using the percentage of householdincome spent on energy bills as indicator of this burden, Table 6.4, below compares Musqueam to BC148and Canada. As the table suggests, the median household spending in Musqueam is almost 3 times theprovincial median expenditure and over twice the national median. Of course, part of this problem is thefact that incomes in Musqueam are lower than provincial and national incomes, but equally important isthe lower quality of housing on reserve.Musqueam Vancouver BC Canada7.8% 2.1% 2.4% 2.9%Table 6.4: Median values for percent of household income spent on energy services (The valuesfor Vancouver, BC and Canada are from the 2011 cycle of Survey of Household Spending)For many keeping the heat on is a priority above many other necessities of life, meaning that theykeep paying the bills even though it consumes such large portions of their income. However, someexperience disconnections and have to go without heat on occasion. Others, report turning off theirfurnace in winter and only using electric heaters. One household even reported not having gas forheating or water heating all winter and using electric heat and boiling water when needed.These more extrememanifestations of energy poverty, of course, do not affect everyone inMusqueam.Depending on the measure used for the quantification of energy poverty, anywhere between 28 and 62%of the households in Musqueam experience energy poverty. The lower end of that range representshouseholds that report never, rarely or sometimes finding their homes warm enough during the winter(see Figure 6.1), while the higher end represents the percentage of households in Musqueam whoseexpenditures on energy services amounts to more than 5.8% (or twice the national median) of theirincome.The fact that there is such a large difference in estimates of energy poverty depending on the measureused indicates one of the problems with solely relying on one category of indicators. In Figure 6.2, aconsensual measure of energy poverty (feeling warm at home) is contrasted with an expenditure basedmeasure of energy poverty, while highlighting the influence of incomes above or below the low incomecut-offs.6.5.2 Psychological stressWhen bills represent such large burdens on households, they also take a toll in the form of psychologicalstress. Figure 6.3, below, summarizes the results of a question I asked about how often folks worried149Figure 6.1: Finding one’s home warm enoughabout their energy bills, showing that 44% of households worry about their bills regularly (Always orUsually).This worrying about energy bills and the possibility of disconnection is also reflected in the strategiesthat households adopt for paying their bills. Lucy, for example, explains how after she experienced adisconnection she started a habit of paying more than she is billed in order to avoid the possibility of alarge bill when she does not have the money to pay it:I always pay extra. Always. And if we get Christmas money I always pay extra on everysingle bill. Just so that we’ll have nice things to look forward to in the summer kind of thingLucy, July 29, 2014In fact, Lucy is not alone in adopting this strategies. Several households that I interviewed describedsimilar approaches to staying on top of their bills, particularly when they are worried about large equal-ization payments, at the end of the year. Frederick, for example, explains:I used to get paid every two weeks, right? So, I just go to the bank and I take care of myutilities, my Hydro, my gas, and my phone. And then what I do. . . I just put whatever I canafford, like 50 down, 100 down. Every two weeks. Just so. . . Just a piece of mind. So, Iknow I’m trying to keep on top of it. So come winter, fall. Or whatever. It’s not such astressful thing. Cause things get a little more expensive during those seasons.Frederick, July 31, 2014150Figure 6.2: Energy poverty by indicator usedOther households manage this stress differently, still. Some of the households on social assistance, forexample, reported, being scared to open their bills, and delivering the bills unopened to social assistanceoffice to have them paid. While different households manage this stress in different ways, what theseexamples illustrate is that households in energy poverty experience a great deal of psychological stress.6.5.3 ShameGiven the history of moralizing poverty, as I argued in chapter 3, there is an element of shame associ-ated with some facets of the experience for many who experience energy poverty. In the case of energypoverty, in Musqueam this includes a range of experiences including the work that goes into the pre-sentability of children and the performances of “good parent.” Several of the households I interviewed,particularly those with small children, emphasized having to do multiple loads of laundry, often withhot water, and feeling bad about not saving energy, but also feeling stressed out about how their childrenmight be perceived and how they themselves might be viewed as parents.151Figure 6.3: Psychological stress about utility billsShame around energy poverty can also be experienced in how one’s home is viewed, particularlywhen this home has structural issues that contribute to cold and drafty homes, as I learnt in this interac-tion, while conducting surveys in Musqueam in 2012:I ask if they use curtains in winter for added insulation. She says ‘never’. I check the box.But there is no box for her tone.She says ‘never’ with a tone that is indignant. It’s a tone that says how dare you ask such athing — of us. Her husband laughs and says you mean blankets, eh? I don’t mean blankets.I didn’t mean blankets when I designed the survey. I meant anything that covers windowsand sills, adding insulation. But here I am, in a place where some people nail blankets totheir walls, covering their windows. Not this couple, of course. But some. I explain that no,I don’t mean blankets, specifically. He is still laughing. He says: “but you know the joke,right?” I don’t know the joke. Though by now, I know where this is headed. “It goes: youmight be red-skinned if you have blankets on your windows.” She looks on, disapprovingly.I don’t know if it is disapproving of me, or his telling me the “joke.”Alice and Peter’s house, April 30, 2012For Alice, ‘curtain’ is a loaded word, closely connected to the practice of nailing blankets ontowalls, which layers on more than insulation and includes understandings of class and race, of what’sproper and what’s shameful. Before I encounter Peter and Alice, of course, I’ve seen blankets nailedonto walls. A few people tell me it’s for privacy. Many tell me it’s to keep the draft out. But what’sremarkable about Alice is that just before I ask the question about curtains, she has told me that she had152new windows put in her living room, but that they are poorly installed and there’s always a draft comingthrough them. Still, given how curtain and blankets are implicated with shame brought on by years ofliving in racist and anti-poor society, she will not use them to protect her from the drafts in winter.As the brief descriptive sections above indicate, the experience of energy poverty in Musqueam ismultifaceted and manifests itself in a range of experiences, including financial hardship, inability toachieve thermal comfort, stress, and feelings of shame about conducting certain practices. Addressingenergy poverty will, therefore, require policy makers to take account of these various experiences. Thefollowing section primarily focuses on whether ECAP successfully achieves any of its own laid outobjectives, granting that some of those objectives do align with addressing the problems laid out above.However, I will return to the question of what kinds of programs may address these manifestations in amore comprehensive way in the final section of this chapter.6.6 Evaluating ECAPMy evaluation of ECAP will first consider the impact of the program on reducing energy use and there-fore energy expenditures. I will, then, examine its success in delivering energy efficiency advice, andlastly exploring aspects of the program that the community identified as valuable.6.6.1 Energy useIn this section, I evaluate the changes in energy use before and after ECAP for both groups of programparticipants and those who did not participate in ECAP by looking at gas and electricity consumptionseparately.Gas useTo evaluate the changes in gas consumption for the two groups, I chose a reference period from thebeginning of April 2011 to the end of March 2012, before the audits/retrofits took place in the summerof 2012. Complete gas use data form 59 households in the two groups were available during thisperiod. I used this data in conjunction with weather data, namely the Heating Degree Days1(HDD) ona quarterly basis from Environment and Climate Canada, to estimate the parameters in Equation 6.1,below, for each house in the study:Gist = ai+bi ·HDDst (6.1)1Heating degree days for any given day are the number of degrees, in mean temperature values, below 18 degrees C.153where i indexes the house, s indexes the billing or measurement period, and t indexes the year. Grepresents gas use,HDD the heating degree days and a and b are the intercept and slope of the regressionline, respectively.Then using the values for heating degree days for the same period in 2013-2014 and the valuesfor the slope and intercept from Equation 6.1, I calculate “expected” gas use values for the evaluationperiod in 2013-2014. This calculation is, in effect, a weather correction performed on pre-ECAP gasuse data. Total corrected annual gas use for the months between April and March is then compared toactual gas use data for this time period after audits and retrofits have taken place. I do this comparisonusing an ANCOVA style analysis that attempts to take into account any differences in pre-retrofit gasuse, as described by Equation 6.2.Gaf ter = a+b1 ·Gbe f ore+b2 ·ECAP (6.2)Where ECAP is a binary variable denoting participation in ECAP.Figure 6.4, below, summarizes the results of this comparison for ECAP participants and the con-trol group. As this Figure suggests, there might be differences between how high and low gas usersresponded to retrofits. However, the small sample does not allow for meaningful segmenting to inves-tigate the differential behaviours of these groups. Regression parameters to the lines on Figure 6.4 areestimated for the slope and intercept parameters in Equation 6.2 and are summarized in Table 6.5, below.Prameters Estimate p-valueIntercept 4.568 0.231ECAP 2.402 0.484Gas use before intervention 0.897 <2e-16***Table 6.5: Coefficients from regression model described by Equation 6.2 (N=56)These results suggest that overall, ECAP does not significantly change gas use for those who par-ticipate in it. In fact, it seems to result in overall higher gas uses for those who participated (see ECAPparameter value). That participation in a weatherization program should lead to no change in the use ofheating is not surprising. In fact, the literature on rebound fully anticipates this phenomenon and offersquantitative estimates of its magnitude. This failure to reduce energy consumption through weatheriza-154Figure 6.4: Weather-corrected gas use before and after ECAPtion is primarily contributed to increases in thermostat set points. Sorrell et al (2009), in their review ofthe literature, suggest that this change in set point is between 0.14 to 1.6 degrees C. They also argue thatthis effect is particularly significant in the case households who might be experiencing energy poverty,and specifically living in colder homes. Milne and Boardman (2000) suggest that the pre-retrofit in-door temperature is an effective predictor of how much of possible savings in a retrofit program willbe achieved. For example at temperatures as low as 14 degrees, they suggest that only half the savingsmay be realized, the rest taken as temperature increase. As this temperature rises to 16.5 degrees, theyestimate 30% will be taken back and as it increases to 20 degrees the take back begins to diminish. Ofcourse, these values are only applicable to the UK context where the social norms of indoor heating aredifferent from North America. Given the preference for higher indoor temperatures in North Americanhouseholds, I would expect take backs at pre-retrofit temperatures of 14-16 degrees to be even higher,as well as the threshold beyond which thermostat take backs diminish.There are few studies with experimental design that explicitly look at changes in heating fuel use155in the aftermath of weatherization work. However, where they exist, they report similar findings -bothHeyman et all (2010) and Oreszczyn et al (2006) find no change in heating fuel use for householdsthat participated in weatherization programs in the UK. However, both studies report modest increasesin indoor temperatures. These findings have two implications for energy efficiency programming: 1)household energy retrofits do not represent a promising avenue for realizing energy savings and cuttinggreenhouse gas emissions, particularly in low-income settings. In other words, the synergies betweenaddressing fuel poverty and climate change seem far more limited than some suggest; 2) effective low-income energy efficiency programs should explicitly include non-energy saving benefits, such as im-provements in comfort or increases in indoor temperature, in their design, so while they fail to generatemonetary savings for their participants, they can at least offer improved comfort.Electricity useAs mentioned earlier, BC Hydro did not agree to release consumption information for consenting house-holds in this study. I therefore, collected electricity use data for the household by collecting old bills,ordownloading historic consumption values from BC Hydro’s online interface for households that had MyHydro accounts. The period of time for which I was able to compile electricity use data for the majorityof the households (53) is, therefore, shorter than a year. This reference period covers the winter beforethe retrofits, from October 2011 to March 2012.Since most Musqueam households do not use electricity for heating or water heating, no weathercorrection is performed on electricity use values. Instead the ANCOVA performed compares the actualelectricity use in the winter after retrofits to the electricity use the winter before retrofits for householdsthat participated in ECAP and the control (see Equation 6.3). The results of this analysis are summarizedin Table 6.6 and Figure 6.5.Ea f ter = a+b1 ·Ebe f ore+b2 ·ECAP (6.3)where E represents Electricity use during the reference period.In the case of changes in electricity use, again, there is no statistically significant difference betweenthe ECAP participants and the control group overall. However, the negative coefficient for the ECAPparameter does indicate the ECAP group reducing its electricity use over the control group. A larger156Figure 6.5: Electricity use before and after ECAPParameters Intercept p-valueIntercept 1031.973 0.027*ECAP -115.898 0.734Electricity use before intervention 0.769 <2e-16***Table 6.6: Coefficients from regression model described by Equation 6.3 (N=52)sample, as well as access to more months of data, may indeed reveal statistically significant changes toelectricity use in the aftermath of ECAP retrofits.6.6.2 ‘So, Hydro recommends’: energy adviceDelivering energy audits is hard. The work is intrusive. It makes people whose house is being auditedfeel like they are under a microscope. It’s often inconvenient in that it requires them to be at home ata certain time or to make their attics accessible. These dynamics are often heightened when deliveringaudits to low-income households, where the operation of respectability politics requires certain perfor-157mances of “presentability” on the part of households. On the part of the individuals delivering the audits(certainly if they are to do their jobs well), delivering audits requires an extremely non-judgementalattitude when encountering lives that look vastly different from the life of the auditor and/or mainstreamsociety.Furthermore, when energy audits and retrofits are delivered in bulk by the housing provider, whichis often the case when an agency attempts to deliver low-income energy audits but wants to make thechallenges of recruitment easier, it often ends up including households that would not have volunteeredfor it — households that are somewhat coerced into participation. These households tend not to view theaudit as favourably as those who voluntarily applied for it, thinking that it would do them some good.The person delivering the audit/retrofit walks (intrudes) into people’s lives having to manage thesecircumstances. Sometimes, particularly in the case of households who voluntarily apply for these typesof programs, household members are curious and want to learn about the work. But more often thannot, when an entire community is being audited/retrofitted, the attitude of the household is ambivalent.The delivery of audits and retrofits in Musqueam, as I mentioned before, certainly falls in this categoryof bulk applications. Bulk applications from social housing providers and First Nations, in fact, madeup approximately 80% of ECAP deliveries in the early years of the program (British Columbia UtilitiesComission, 2016, 2.332.1), making this by far the most common situation an ECAP auditor wouldencounter.However, the literature on energy audits remains largely silent on the interpersonal dynamic betweenauditors and households. Some, like Brown et al (2014) have reported low participation in energyefficiency programming in the social housing sector even when programs are delivered for free. Theauthors attribute this low participation to the disruptiveness of process, distrust of housing and/or energyservice provider, and the technological complexity of the measures implemented in energy efficiencyprogram (Brown et al., 2014). But beyond this, little is said about the ways in which the delivery ofenergy audits and retrofits navigate these complex dynamics. The ability to effectively navigate theinteractions with household members seems like an important part of audit delivery, particularly if oneof the aims of the work is to deliver energy advice that householders may act on.Delivering “personalized” energy efficiency advice is, as mentioned earlier, one of ECAP’s goals.This personalized energy advice, however, comes from a drop down menu of several items on the appthat the auditors use. As I go to audits with three different auditors, I hear less than a handful repeated158several times: get rid of your extra freezer. Unplug electronics. Air or line dry your clothes. Followingthem around, I get the sense that they do not think their own advice valuable or hesitate in delivering itto manage the intrusive, inconvenient nature of their work. One of them, Gerald, in fact, never deliversadvice — instead he leaves the requisite pamphlets. Even that, on occasion, draws angry responses:“don’t leave me your pamphlet unless they’re going to help me fix my house” (Julie, June 27th, 2013).John, while telling me how hard it is to get people to care about energy when they don’t pay theirown bills, does deliver energy advice to a person he assumes is on social assistance. He opens with “Soa few things I noticed around your house” and goes on to list electronics that can be unplugged and howclothes can be line dried, while the homeowner listens on dismissively (John, June 18th, 2013). He,then, rejects John’s pamphlet of energy saving tips, saying he can’t read.Jim, somewhat more attuned to how commenting on people’s lives might sound like a judgment ontheir lifestyle, delivers his personalized advice while distancing himself from the advice. Still, it leadsto uncomfortable interactions:Jim asks Penelope if she has a deep freeze. She says she does. Jim does some paper work,then says: “so, Hydro recommends swapping out your deep freeze.” Penelope looks unsure.Jim explains that it’s because it runs all the time and constantly switches on and off. It costsa lot running it. So, Hydro recommends getting rid of it. Penelope says there isn’t much inthe deep freeze right now, but that she likes shopping the sales. Jim makes a joke: “oh theywon’t come take it away.” Penelope looks outraged: “take it away?” Jim goes into damagecontrol mode, explaining that he himself has a deep freeze and that he just needs to makethat recommendation because the point of all this work is to reduce Hydro bills.Penelope’s house, June 5, 2013Later, when he goes to make a recommendation about insulation levels he says: “I’m supposed torecommend R40, but the cost of getting another two inches is more than any savings” (Jim, June 5th,2013), which in fact is why ECAP does not fund that particular upgrade.Of course, not all interactions are as tense. Some householders listen along politely as their livesare commented upon. Others, watch TV or chat with the community energy coordinator who has comealong to the audits, creating little space for interactions with the auditors. Still, while the auditors thatI followed around were indeed respectful in their interactions with householders, they often ran intotense or uncomfortable situations when forced to deliver “advice”. Jim and Gerald tried to avoid thiscommenting on peoples’ lives, by either not delivering advice or by distancing themselves from it. John159charged ahead when he had an audience. Yet, an important question with respect to the effectiveness ofthis advice is whether or not households remember and act on this advice.To get a sense of whether people remembered any of this personalized advice after the audits, I askedpeople if they had been given any advice or recommendation during the audits, if they remembered thisadvice and whether they had implemented any of those recommendations. I conducted 19 interviewswith households who had received ECAP and as Figure 6.6 below, demonstrates, 11 did not rememberany recommendation or advice, 2 reported that a different member of the household was present duringthe audit, and 6 mentioned specific things. However, looking at what was reported by these participantsreveals that only two (or about 10%) remember any “personalized” advice, while the others either namedchanges that had been implemented during the audit or mentioned benefits of CFL lights (long lasting,energy saving), the latter of which does not constitute “personalized” advice.Figure 6.6: Recollections of advice received during auditsFurthermore, when asked if any of those recommendations were implemented, both those who re-membered specific recommendations and those who did not, mentioned that they had thought theserecommendations would be shared with the housing department who would be responsible for im-plementing them. This tension between households that believe their government responsible for theprovision and maintenance of housing and neoliberal governance regimes that increasingly hold indi-viduals responsible for services previously provided by governments is ever present at Musqueam both160when talking to individual members of the Nation and to the housing department and more broadly theadministration of the Nation. Both housing managers2, in fact, mentioned this as a ‘problem’ faced bythe ECAP project:But I believe that the expectations of remedy of the problems in their homes were high.[. . . ] we needed to keep the band members more informed of, this is how, this is what’shappening, [. . . ] this is not going to happen. Like, you need to be very detailed in ex-plaining. So, I feel that was the department’s fault that the band members weren’t informedproperly.Lorna Stewart, Current Housing Manager, September 6, 2014However, regardless of what the role of the housing department should be in the maintenance ofhouses, policy makers design programs like ECAP precisely because they think low-income customerswill not be able to invest in energy efficiency. What they hope to achieve by recommending energyefficiency measures which they themselves will not invest in because they’re not economically viableis at best puzzling. This leaves the ’behavioural’ category of energy advice, which without takingaccount of the dynamics between auditors and householders amounts to further judgmental commentson people’s lives. In short, the audits and retrofits performed under ECAP fail to deliver meaningful andmemorable personalized energy efficiency advice to the majority of the households that receive them.Certainly, in failing to account for the often difficult interpersonal dynamics between the auditor andhousehold members, particularly for households that enter the program under “bulk application”, ECAPrenders its personalized energy efficiency advice a largely futile endeavour.6.6.3 What’s it good for, then?I have so far detailed how ECAP has failed at both reducing energy consumption and delivering effectiveenergy efficiency advice for Musqueam households, both goals set by the program itself. However,this is not to say that ECAP did absolutely nothing of value for households. In this section I discussaspects of the program that the housing department and/or households found valuable about the program.However, I should mention that ECAP retrofits were part of a bigger suite of energy efficiency awarenessand activity that took part in the community, led by the housing department as part of our collaborative2During the 3.5 years that I worked on this project, there were four different housing managers at the head of the housingdepartment. Two were only involved in the early discussions about project design and the next two managers, Catherine Talbotand Lorna Stewart were involved in the administration of ECAP. For context, I should mention that Lorna is a member of theMusqueam Nation, while Catherine is not. I conducted interviews with both during the post-ECAP evaluation work.161project. When the housing department comments on the successes of ECAP, it is ECAP within thiswider range of activities that they comment on. This is particularly true of the class of benefits that thehousing department calls education and awareness of energy use.The housing department in Musqueam perceives there to be a gap in the knowledge of homeownerswith regards to how household activities translate to energy consumption and energy bills. Both housingmanagers, therefore, stress how different aspects of our work on energy efficiency, including ECAP, havebeen a great opportunity to address this knowledge gap:We come from living in a longhouse to living in houses. I mean, yeah, the transition hasbeen a long one but it’s still the mentality. And [. . . ] some of the band members don’tunderstand that their bills are high —sky high, because of whatever they are doing or notdoing in relation to conserving their energy, and their heat and all of that. (Lorna Stewart,Current Housing Manager, date?)Lorna Stewart, Current Housing Manager, September 6, 2014This emphasis on education and awareness often ties in with the tension I mentioned earlier onwhose responsibility it is/should be to provide and maintain housing. The housing department pushesan agenda of “increased self-reliance” for individual members of the Nation and intervenes to educate inways that would enable that. During ECAP audits it came to light, for example, that many householdswere not changing their furnace filters on a regular basis. The housing department then rolled outa one-time campaign of providing households with a washable furnace filter, which the communityenergy coordinator delivered to every home, installed it, and talked to residents about maintaining theirfurnaces. The housing manager, sees this opportunity for education, as a positive outcome of ECAP andas a priority going forward:The majority of individuals don’t know that they should be maintaining [the furnace].Maybe they know more now. But historically they haven’t maintained them. I mean, asyou know, we found furnaces that were 30 years old and never had a filter in them. Sojust really promoting this and pushing this and the educational piece and keeping peopleinterested. Is a barrier and an opportunity.Catherine Talbot, former Housing manager, July 21, 2014The fact that the housing office sees the educational opportunities of ECAP as an avenue to pursue theirown agenda of ‘increased self-reliance‘ means that ‘education’ becomes a valued attribute of ECAP.162However, I want to point out, again, that some of this education is only made possible by the fact thehousing department chooses to follow up on some aspects of the work ECAP performed.Another class of benefits from ECAP, identified by both households that benefitted from it andthe housing department, was the identification of structural problems which the housing departmentdeemed important to address immediately. These predominantly included the identification of faults inthe ventilation system, leading to poor air quality in the house.During the ECAP audits, it was noted that in several of the houses the ducts vented out into the atticrather than outside the house. This meant that moisture was being carried from bathroom or kitchen fansinto the attic and deposited there, increasing the risk of mould in that space. Several of the houses withthis problem, were, in fact, new ones; completed in 2010 and still under warranty. For these houses, theidentification of the problem enabled the housing department to have the builders come back and fix theducts. For other older homes owned by the Nation the housing department repaired the problem at nocost to the residents.The housing department also addressed a number of other issues flagged during the audits, includingthe installation of furnaces in a number of homes that had no working furnace. However, in these casesthe housing department already knew of the problem and the audits played no role in informing a courseof action beyond generally raising the profile of heating and ventilation issues in the community.In the case of both education and awareness building activities and the identification of structuralissues needing immediate repairs, the benefits of ECAP are only realized when there is a communityorganization (in this case the housing department) that acts on the recommendations of the audits col-lectively. Without this collective action, recommendations from audits face many of the same barriersto implementation that energy efficiency action in low-income households face in the first place.As I mentioned in section 6.6.2, above, none of the households receiving ECAP had implementedany of its recommendations. Of course, as I outlined in that section, the manner in which the recom-mendations are delivered, as well as their ability to actually save households money has everythingto do with whether the smaller, more actionable recommendations are acted upon. However, the rec-ommendations requiring alteration to the built environment face additional barriers to implementation—namely the lack of monetary resources on the part of households to dedicate to implementing changesto the physical building and its heating and ventilation systems.Making energy efficiency programs geared towards low-income customers successful can be ac-163complished through the coordination of the implementation of the recommended changes — preferablyas part of the program itself, or in the case of many First Nation communities, a housing departmentthat is willing and able to act on the information provided in the audits (and in this case, the housingdepartment was enabled to carry out far more follow up work than is typically possible by virtue of thefact that our collaboration had a funded position for a community energy coordinator position). This iswhere the advanced stream of ECAP shows some promise by implementing the recommended insula-tion upgrades within the program, but the fact that only one house in Musqueam received the advancedstream suggests that the qualification criteria for it is set too high to benefit most low-income house-holds, particularly those in the lower mainland, where the mild weather makes it difficult to for higherinsulation levels to pass a financial viability test by utilities —in other words, the cost of upgradinginsulation is often higher than any savings associated with the higher insulation level over the expectedlifetime of the upgrade. However, households that start with low insulation levels due to poor qualityconstruction choices continue to be penalized by paying higher energy costs. Programs that are seriousabout addressing high energy burdens on households should address the needs of this group of energyusers. The following section is a brief discussion of the shifts in program design perspective requiredfor programs like ECAP to do so.6.7 Concluding thoughts on designing better ECAPsIn the preceding sections I have shown how ECAP fails to make a meaningful difference in the lives ofthose who receive the program—both failing at delivering energy efficiency advice and reducing energyconsumption, goals that ECAP set for itself. In this section I take a step back and ask why this is thecase and how ECAP can be improved.During my field work, in addition to attending a number of audit/retrofit sessions, I also interviewedthe management staff of the third-party company that administered ECAP at the time. During thisinterview I asked about their experience delivering ECAP and soon discovered that they found ECAP,particularly in the context of First Nations communities, as ineffective a project as I had. Areef, thecompany CEO, described working with ECAP as a “straight jacket” that did not allow addressing ofreal problems:But with [ECAP], I felt like we were working with a straight jacket on. So, we would gointo the home and put weather-stripping on doors in houses where the windows were in a164very poor state and leaking like nuts. There was nothing we could do about it. So I felt likeI was delivering energy trinkets.Areef Abraham, QPS CEO, May 22, 2014While ECAP delivers ‘energy trinkets’, the real problems of leaking windows, ducts that vent intothe attic and other problems of poor construction continue to pose significant challenges to reducingenergy use. One of the participants in this study describes the constant worry of having a home built onreserve, particularly in the context of energy use: “no matter how hard you try to oversee the constructionof your house you still get an outdated furnace” (Bill, August 20, 2014)— a furnace that not only is notenergy efficient, but quite often is manufactured several years prior to the construction of the house andhas been sitting in a warehouse in the interim until a builder buys it for a discounted price.What these comments allude to is the appalling status of housing in many First Nations communi-ties, including Musqueam. In fact, 37% of First Nations homes require major repairs, while the limitedhousing funding that is available is often directed towards the construction of new homes since 94%of First Nations have long waiting lists for homes (Assembly of First Nations, 2013). The Kelownaaccord, which was finalized in 2005 after an 18-month negotiation process between 4 indigenous or-ganizations, the federal government and provincial governments, aimed at eradicating the persistentinequalities in life outcomes between indigenous and settler people in Canada, focuses on housing as akey site of inequality(Alcantara and Spicer, 2016). However, following the election of the Conservativegovernment in 2006, the federal government dropped its commitment of 5.1 billion dollars over 5 years—30% of which would have gone to housing and infrastructure on reserve. The government continuedto maintained the 2% funding cap to First Nations’ budgets, which effectively has prevented Nationsfrom addressing their infrastructure and housing gap3.The ventilation issues that were discovered during the course of the audits are hardly one-off issues— they were found in newer and older homes. Nor are they particular to Musqueam. For example,in a series of workshops looking at housing priorities for the Haisla Nation in Kitimat, McTavish etal (2011) encountered three poor installation practices reported by community members, one of whichis the ventilation of kitchen and bathroom fans into the attic. The Assembly of First Nations (2013)reports that 50.9% of First Nations adults find mould in their homes (compared to 12.3% across Canada3The cap was recently lifted in December 2015. But a large gap in infrastructure and housing remains to be bridged.165in 20114). Poor construction quality and issues such as venting, leaky windows, and inadequate heatingsystems along with overcrowding are largely to blame for this moisture problem — which has a slew ofassociated health problems, such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses.Both these issues —the chronic underfunding of the construction and maintenance of homes onreserves and the fact that what gets built is of poor quality— are part of a pattern of structural racism,which in addition to its implications for energy poverty and its associated health outcomes, have muchfurther reaching implications for First Nations families and their life outcomes. Addressing energypoverty, on reserve, however, cannot proceed without a reckoning with the consistent underfundingof housing, addressing the absence of the building code on reserve and more importantly developingmechanisms for ensuring code compliance (both on-reserve and off-reserve) so that builders are heldresponsible for their construction work.This raises important questions for the role energy efficiency has to play in the improvement ofaccess to energy services. On the one hand, improving energy efficiency in a context of poor qualityhousing seems to be impossible without improving the house itself. On the other hand, the business ofretrofitting homes to be more energy efficient has always been a ‘housing’ issue before a technologyissue — In the UK, the country on which much energy efficiency work is focused, addressing energypoverty, improving home insulation from old buildings with little or no insulation requires major workon the “house” itself. Indeed, where energy efficiency work is seen to be effective at improving inhab-itants’ comfort, it makes significant changes in insulation levels, as well as heating systems (Heymanet al., 2010; Oreszczyn et al., 2006).If programs like ECAP intend to move beyond delivering ’energy trinkets’ and fulfill the promisesof the program, they need to integrate the problems of housing into their solution delivery rather thanwalking away when such problems are encountered. What Musqueam considered worthwhile about theprogram, in the end, was essentially the recommendations that were acted upon. Knowing that housingdepartments often don’t have the budget or capacity to act on recommendations, programs like ECAPwould become far more effective if they delivered their own recommendations. This would requirerunning a program that is much closer to the advanced ECAP.As I mentioned in the introduction, ECAP (certainly the BC Hydro run part of ECAP) struggles with42013-06-20, “Households and the Environment Survey, 2011”, http://hdl.handle.net.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/11272/4PQNTUNF:5:AcddFITsEU/n2Bh3sFtH/g== V4166delivering the advanced stream of ECAP. In 2015, only 62 advanced ECAPs were delivered to electri-cally heated homes— a mere 5% of the total ECAP deliveries (British Columbia Utilities Comission,2015, 1.135.7).However, even more importantly, though 10% of ECAP clients were First Nations com-munity members in that year, no First Nation member received the advanced stream of ECAP (BritishColumbia Utilities Comission, 2015, 1.135.8). This certainly points to problems in the analysis that isused to define the criteria for the eligibility for advanced retrofits.There is another important characteristic of the utilities approach to running ECAP that, I think, hashindered its ability to deliver meaningful results for low-income people in British Columbia. Programmanagers for ECAP at both utilities, but particularly Fortis which is a private utility company, seemto face a hostile environment and find themselves constantly advocating for the continued existence ofECAP. Unfortunately, this has meant that they have not taken serious steps towards the evaluation of theprogram and implementing changes when evaluations have suggested problems. No significant changesto ECAP has been made after BC Hydro conducted its own evaluation of the program in 2011, findingthat a shockingly low percentage of advanced retrofits were delivered. In fact, when I asked for copiesof this report, BC Hydro repeatedly refused to release it, saying that only the summary report whichthey had submitted to the Utilities Commission was available to the public. When the same report wasrequested as part of the proceedings before the utilities Commission, they, again, refused to release it —this time saying that it was not relevant to the proceedings. However, BC Hydro was ultimately orderedby the Utilities Commission to release the report. But this unwillingness to make public the result ofthe evaluation of a publicly funded program highlights BC Hydro’s general culture around issues oftransparency and unwillingness to engage with the inefficiencies of their programming.Fortis BC seems to have an even bigger problem on this front. When in December of 2014 I pre-sented the results of my work in Musqueam to both Fortis’ and BC Hydro’s program managers, I askedif any evaluations had been performed by Fortis on their program. It turned out that no evaluation hadbeen conducted. When BC Hydro’s program manager encouraged the Fortis program manage to dosuch an evaluation since they would have all the data already, the Fortis Program manager respondedby saying that he was afraid the evaluation would show that the program wasn’t doing well and he feltlike he already had an exceptionally hard time advocating for this program to Fortis (the two of themmust have forgotten that I was a researcher and that to me that interaction was data). Certainly a part ofimproving programs like ECAP would include changing this attitude towards evaluation work in both167organizations so that programs geared to low-incomes are no longer seen as ‘charity’ and are held toefficacy standards that they should.Beyond ECAPWhile improving housing quality and thermal comfort as well as reducing energy use remain key com-ponents of addressing energy poverty, as the section outlining the experience of energy poverty inMusqueam suggests (also see chapter 3), they are but a part of addressing the problems of precari-ous energy access. As I outlined in that section, living with precarious access to energy presents manyanxieties around bill payments, disconnections and the rising cost of energy. Developing programs thataddress these aspects of the experience, therefore, remain crucially important. Beyond making ECAP aone-stop shop that tackles housing quality issues rather than walking away from them, three areas needspecific attention:1. Crisis managementMany people who struggle with precarious energy access find themselves in occasional crisismoments, when they feel unable to make ends meet. The sense of crisis is particularly heightenedin winter, when not paying energy bills means no heat. The allocation of crisis managementfunds for people who on occasion find themselves in this situation would help reducing some ofthe anxieties of those who face higher energy burdens. In 2013, Musqueam changed the waythat social assistance funds were allocated towards rent and/or utility payments from a bills-firstpolicy to a rent-first approach. The housing department pursued this approach since their rentalarrears were preventing them from seeking additional funds (Catherine Talbot, July 21, 2014). Ofcourse, this change meant that many utility bills for people on social assistance would go unpaid.In order to help low-income folks in the community, they established a one-time crisis assistancefund that would pay reconnection fees for people who were disconnected. A similar approachfor all low-income and/or energy poor household in BC can reduce some of the stress and burdenof living with precarious energy access. The fund should be applicable to both reconnectionfees and bills themselves to prevent disconnection in the first place. Furthermore the suspensionof disconnections during winter months would remove some of the stress associated with highenergy burdens.1682. Easier and more flexible payment and reconnection optionsMany low-income people also struggle with a myriad of logistical challenges (beyond lack offunds) when it comes to paying for energy bills. Energy companies require large upfront secu-rity deposits for those with low credit scores, and make it exceptionally difficult to get on theequalization plan once there has been a disconnection. Furthermore, once disconnections occur,reconnections are often subject to large reconnection fees. Reconnection fees for BC Hydro havebeen reduced from $150 to $30 on an interim basis since December 2015. Making this changepermanent, as well as establishing easier and more flexible low income rate rules, as the BC Pub-lic Interest Advocacy Coalition (BC PIAC) advocates, would go some ways towards improvingaccess to energy. These include, waiving reconnection, late payment and security deposit fees forlow income customers (BCPIAC).3. Cost of energyBuilding better homes, significantly improving the energy performance of existing homes andestablishing crisis management strategies for those who struggle with energy bills are importantcomponents of addressing the high burden of energy services. However, the increasing cost ofenergy, and the fact that it far outpaces income growth in BC remain large contributors to theproblem of energy poverty. In fact, the increase in price of energy (and particularly electricityin BC) contributes far more to increasing energy burdens than improving energy efficiency canaddress.BCHydro’s own evaluation of ECAPRebman:2012tu was conducted on electrically heated homeswho would see an impact equivalent to the cumulative impact of both categories of energy usediscussed here and using a considerably larger sample size. They do find a statistically significantdifference between program participants and a randomly assigned never-contacted but regionallyrepresentative control group. They find an average 5.8% reduction in annual energy use for pro-gram participants relative to the control group. Even accepting this finding, it remains evident thatthese savings are insufficient to balance the impact of rising electricity prices in BC. In the past3 years, for example, BC Hydro rates have gone up by 20%, and they’re scheduled to continueto rise. A one-time decrease in energy consumption by 5% does little to counter the increasesin energy bills, particularly when energy rate increases outpace increases in incomes, minimum169wage and social assistance rates.Even more robust energy efficiency programs than ECAP cannot hope to counter the effect of suchrate increases in BC. Others have observed similar processes elsewhere. Jenkins et al (2011), forexample, suggests thatEnergy inefficiency is not the main driver of fuel poverty in the UK. The small changesin the efficiency of the UK stock over the last decade have had minimal impact on fuelpoverty numbers. That is because this is driven by, in particular, gas prices (Jenkinset al., 2011, 25).To treat energy poverty as a problem independent from energy policy and the regulation of energyutilities would be to ignore the largest contributors to the increasing magnitude of the problem.While the variable price of natural gas has been declining in BC since 2009, many Fortis cus-tomers in Musqueam are locked in fixed-term contracts with third party gas marketers, whichmeans they might not have seen the decline reflected in their energy bills. The BC Utilities com-mission has a convoluted process for launching a dispute or complaint against one of these naturalgas marketers. The complexity of this process would discourage most customers from launchinga complaint. However, most importantly, most customers do not know that the utilities commis-sion oversees third-party marketers. On occasion BCUC does review third party marketers, and insuch reviews it is often found that promotional material by the reviewed marketers are in violationof the Code of Conduct set by the Utilities Commission for such organizations. In addition, salesreps are often found to follow predatory practices, including forged documents, and aggressivebehaviour. A more strict review process independent of customer complaints for all third-partymarketers and making the results of these reviews easily available to customers would go someways towards reducing predatory practices. Furthermore, customers should be advised (perhapson their Fortis bill) that they can launch complaints or disputes against these marketers.However, while the predatory practices of gas marketers affect some customers, most have beenseeing declining gas prices on their bills. The bigger issue in BC continues to be the risingelectricity prices, over which both the government and the Utilities Commission have control. Asthe Introduction chapter of this dissertation suggests, however, the government of BC’s particular170approach to energy planning has important implications for both how the Utilities Commissioncan fulfill its role, and more importantly electricity prices in the province. I will expand on thisidea in the Conclusions chapter of this dissertation.To summarize, programs that address energy poverty in BC must firstly integrate more robust formsof evaluation in their design, and transfer their program delivery model from one that does ’charity’ (andis, therefore, considered inherently good) to one that must deliver meaningful results for customers. Themost important step towards making this goal a reality would be the expansion of ECAP or ECAP-likeprograms to something closer to the advanced ECAP. This shift must also include increased flexibilityin program delivery, such that contractors can address housing deficiencies as they come across them,rather than walking away from them. The integration of such programs with federal or provincialefforts on mould remediation and housing improvement may help in securing additional funds andstreamlining the delivery of various programs. Furthermore, should the Province take an interest inaddressing energy poverty, it needs to implement crisis management mechanisms and develop paymentrules and regulations specific to low-income customers. It should go without saying that raising welfarerates, the minimum wage and other poverty alleviation strategies would also enhance the lives of thosewho live in energy poverty. And most importantly, reconsidering BC’s energy policy more broadly andrestoring the Utility Commission’s power to review prospective energy projects (such as site C) shouldbe a priority for stabilizing electricity prices across the province.171Chapter 7ConclusionsEnergy poverty, or the experience of struggling to meet a household’s energy needs, is increasinglythe subject of attention in Canada. On the right, it is obliquely used to argue against taxes on energy,and more specifically taxes on carbon or policies that encourage renewable energy development (FraserInstitute, 2016; Green et al., 2016), while on the left, it is often, paradoxically, used to argue for actionon climate change in the form of energy efficiency (Lee et al., 2011). However, besides its strategic usein arguing against carbon taxes or arguing on behalf of the energy efficiency industry, little attention isbeing paid to questions of how it manifests itself, who is affected by it, and more importantly how it isproduced and reproduced by energy and housing policies.This dissertation is primarily written in the spirit of exploring these questions. By adopting a justiceframework which aims to link the experience of energy poverty with the processes that produce it, Ihave aimed not only to start a productive conversation on how we might think about energy povertyin Canada, but do so in a way that sees it as a product of specific practices of energy and resourcedevelopment. However, given the state of discourse on energy poverty in Canada (one that lacks a robustanalysis behind its claims), in Chapter 3, I have had to engage with questions of appropriate definitionsand indicators, as well as identify broad patterns of energy access across all the territory and regulatoryregimes that is southern Canada as a first step to more specific explorations in chapters 4, 5, and 6.These chapters collectively explore a past and present of energy and resource development regimes inBC, particularly as they relate to the creation of precarious energy access for some communities.A key feature of this work is, then, its navigation across different scales of geographical and temporalanalysis, as well as considering different units of analysis in the form of individuals, households and172communities. I do this with the belief that how one goes about defining a problem has everything to dowith the kinds of solutions that one proposes to that problem (and justice is always solutions oriented,whether those solutions are reforms or revolutions). This belief would suggest that there is somethingto be gained from exploring energy poverty from different vantage points, particularly given that it washitherto undefined and unexplored in Canada. And, indeed, different chapters of this dissertation revealdifferent facets of the experience of energy poverty, as well as different processes responsible for itscreation.Firstly, by exploring energy expenditures as fraction of net household income, I have defined an en-ergy poverty threshold at twice the median percent expenditure value in southern Canada. This definitionof energy poverty is essentially a relative definition, suggesting that those that spend more than twicethe median percent expenditure on securing their energy needs face higher energy burdens. However, itshould be noted that the median expenditure in Canada is quite low, at 2.9% of the household income,yielding an energy poverty threshold of 5.8%. At this threshold, 2.8 million Canadian household (21%of all households in Canada) are in energy poverty.Next, while exploring broad patterns of energy poverty, I demonstrated that where a household livesseems to be a much more robust predictor of being in energy poverty than the sociodemographic groupsa household may belong to. In fact, sociodemographic groups such as single parents, seniors and renters,who are commonly said to be more vulnerable to energy poverty face no statistically significant higherchances of being in energy poverty in Canada. Rather, households in the Maritimes, followed by thosewho live in Ontario and Alberta (provinces with deregulated or semi-deregulated energy markets) havesignificantly higher chances of being in energy poverty than, Quebec, BC and Manitoba.Another significant insight from the statistical analysis was that while energy poverty overlaps withpoverty (7% of Canadian households are both income and energy poor), there are differences betweenthe two categories that warrant analytically treating energy poverty as a distinct problem. One keydifference between those who are in poverty by income measures and those who are in energy poverty isoften the type of house a household lives in, and its tenure. Many of those who are in poverty by incomemeasures but do not face higher energy burdens live in rented apartment buildings, which tend to havelower heating needs, keeping energy expenditures manageable. Conversely, many households who arein energy poverty but are not considered in poverty by LICO measures, tend to be lower middle classand own their single detached homes (median annual household income in this group is a $44,000).173This observation should have important implications for the design of programs that aim to addressenergy poverty, not only through the answers it provides to the question of who should qualify for suchprograms, but also in delineating the the differential needs of each of these groups on matters of energyaccess.However, this statistical analysis is inherently incomplete, for several reasons. Firstly, none of therecent available cycles of the Survey of Household spending has reliable data for energy expendituresin the northern territories. This omission distorts the picture of energy poverty painted to one onlyinformed by the experiences of southern Canada. Furthermore, as the discussion in Chapter 6, andmore specifically Figure 6.2, suggests there are large discrepancies between estimates of energy povertyderived from consensual/subjective measures (such as ability to keep warm) and expenditure-basedmeasures. In Musqueam, for example, expenditure based measures yield and estimate of energy povertywhich is twice as high as the one derived from subjective evaluations of ability to keep warm. While, thisdifference might not be as large when looked at nationally (Musqueam, and BC’s lower mainland, enjoyvery mild winters compared to the rest of Canada, so it’s possible that while energy costs are a burden,keeping warm is less of an issue), it nonetheless represents an important gap in current analyses ofenergy poverty. One recommendation from this work is for Statistics Canada to consider the inclusion ofsome subjective measures of energy access in a relevant survey(perhaps the Household and EnvironmentSurvey).To address another gap in the available data, namely the availability of energy use data on reserve,primary data collection work for this dissertation was focused on the experiences of two First Nationscommunities in British Columbia. I had several motivations for this focus: One such motivation was be-ginning the work of documenting inequalities in energy access for First Nations communities. Another,particularly with regards to working with ‘remote’ communities, was with regards to their unique placein networks of infrastructure (roads, pipelines, the electricity grid) — I was interested in how their par-ticular geographies of inter/disconnection presented opportunities for investigating energy vulnerabilitybeyond the household and as a problem faced by communities in networks of energy production andconsumption. My work with Tsay Keh and Musqueam, therefore, emerged with these motivations inmind, as well as from ongoing relationships that my supervisor had cultivated with these communities.The projects that developed with each community represent each community’s unique set of interestsgiven their locations relative to networks of energy distribution. In Tsay Keh, without access to the elec-174tricity grid or natural gas network, the community was focused on developing its own energy project.In Musqueam, given its urban location and access to utility programming, we developed a project thatsought to improve the energetic performance of housing units in the community. The insights from theseprojects offer complementary understandings of energy access in off and on-grid contexts in BC, as wellas a unique discussion of how past and present energy and resource development policies of the gov-ernment of British Columbia yield particular patterns of energy access for First Nations communities inBC.One important discussion to emerge from the work in Tsay Keh was tracing the legacy of a particularregime of resource development, both in terms of its implications for provincial electricity planning andmore importantly for patterns of access to energy in the province. Focusing on a twenty year periodduring which most of the hydro power in the province was developed, I outline an electricity planningregime that served to enable an agenda of ‘industrialization by invitation’ (Froschauer, 1999), wherecertain extractive industries were wooed by the province with promises of easy access to markets andcheap electricity, hoping that in return those industries would process more of the extracted resourcesin BC. The electricity planning regime emerging from this industrialization by invitation agenda hadfour key characteristics: 1) Not only were the hydro projects that followed resource extraction projectsin themselves, but they served the larger agenda of extractive capital by both providing it with cheapelectricity and improving the transportation of its extracted resources through their waterways; 2) Asa result of its focus on attracting industries that did not yet exist (and often never materialized) it hadenergy forecasting practices that decoupled energy supply planning from actual energy demand; 3)Was developed without much input from the publics and/or independent review bodies; 4) Was highlycentralized, both in its approach to planning (#3) and more importantly in provisioning power throughlarge centralized hydro-electric facilities.This electricity planning paradigm legitimized certain kinds of demand over others, while pairedwith invocations of ‘terra nulius’ arguments completely denied the existence of the indigenous peoplewho, in the case of theWCBennett dam, lived in the Rocky mountain trench and whose homes and landswere destroyed. This history of electricity planning is an important element in understanding energyaccess challenges in Tsay Keh. The present day of Tsay Keh energy access is very much coloured bythis history, since the community who was displaced for the purpose of dam development in the late 60’sremains without access to the electricity grid. One key argument that I put forward in this dissertation175is, in fact, that energy poverty, as with other forms of poverty, is not a purely material problem, and thatemploying a justice lens in its investigation will invite a recognition of how politics of energy use andaccess form key features of the experience. People in Tsay Keh understand their energy access situationas one that is entangled with that history of dam development, and the ensuing relationship between BCHydro and the community. In this sense, a sort of powerlessness over the community’s energy future, isindeed part of the particular experience of energy poverty in Tsay Keh.At the household level, this recognition of the importance of the relationships governing energyaccess, reveals how the lack of access to labour markets in Tsay Keh, combined with Tsay Keh’s par-ticular arrangements around securing access to energy carriers such as electricity, wood and propanecreate manifestations of energy poverty, predominantly around practices that require hot water. Sincethe path of access to propane as an ingredient of practices that use hot water is, for most people in TsayKeh, strictly mediated through market transactions and since there is often less flexibility in the infras-tructure involved in heating water, hot-water-using practices represent the sites of most compromise inthe successful performance of household activities. This making explicit the relationships of access toingredients of practice, and demonstrating how the successful performance of these practices, as well asthe meanings ascribed to them are related to these relationships, is one of the theoretical interventionsof this dissertation.Furthermore, in locating energy poverty in the failure to successfully perform household practices,or in having to compromise on comfort, convenience, cleanliness, I draw out the non-material impli-cations of energy poverty. Households that struggle with securing access to energy services, not onlystruggle with any health implication persistent living in cold environments might have, but also contendwith psychological stress over paying their energy bills (incidentally, women tended to report higherstress over energy bills), in having to divert time, funds and their own energies from other pursuits tosecuring access to the material necessities of life, and in some cases the stigmas associated with failingto perform household practices, and therefore the roles of competent adult/parent, etc.Another important set of findings from this work pertains to the ‘solutions’ proposed for addressingenergy poverty. One common policy tool for alleviating energy poverty is household energy efficiencyprograms. My work in Musqueam (Chapter 6) suggests that BC Hydro and Fortis BC’s Energy Conser-vation Assistance Program (ECAP) fails at achieving any of its own stated goals for improving energyefficiency in low-income households. Furthermore, where research with an experimental design has176been conducted on the efficacy of these types of programs, it suggests that reducing heating fuel use (andtherefore expenditures) is often not among their accomplishments (though improving comfort might be)(Heyman et al., 2010; Oreszczyn et al., 2006). What BC Hydro’s own evaluation of ECAP suggests isthat when savings are not split between electricity and heat (i.e. households that use electricity for heatare evaluated), there is a one-time 5.8% savings in energy use — a value that is dwarfed by the 20%increase in price of electricity in BC over the past 3 years.This finding would suggest that energy efficiency programs are not promising avenues for addressingenergy poverty. Rather, changes to processes that create energy poverty in the first place, should takepriority, along with measures that aim to reduce the immediate burden of securing energy servicesfor households. This dissertation highlights several processes that create energy poverty, includingthe energy planning processes that prioritize industrial energy demand at the expense of residentialconsumers who end up subsidizing the electricity use of this sector (in addition to BC’s practice ofreckless dam building for meeting industrial demand that does not exist, it’s important to note thatnearly everywhere in Canada, the price of electricity for industrial consumers is lower than the pricepaid by residential accounts). Furthermore, as the discussions in Chapters 3 and 6 suggest, housingquality plays an important role in determining whether a household shoulders disproportionate energyburdens. Improving energy efficiency requirements of the building codes in various jurisdictions, as wellas developing mechanisms for ensuring that houses are built to code will serve to improve the qualityof housing stock going forward. However, older housing stock will remain in need of energy efficiencyupgrades that go beyond the ‘energy trinkets’ approach often funded by utility companies and evaluatedin this work.As the discussions in Chapters 4 and 5 suggest, fundamentally altering relationships of access toenergy services, as is done in Tsay Keh when the Nation provides free electricity for all residents, orin relying on wood which is accessed outside of the market system goes some ways towards alleviatingthe immediate hardships experienced by households. However, this transfers the higher burden to thecommunity level. On the one hand, community level organizations in First Nations communities (as wellas social housing providers) m
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Power to the people : thinking (and rethinking) energy poverty in British Columbia, Canada Rezaei, Maryam 2017
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