Ontario Power Authority programs help reduce energy costs

Since the electrical blackout that affected most of the North-Eastern United States and East­ern Canada occurred at 4:15pm on Aug. 14, 2003, Ontario resi­dents have heard about the need to renew electrical infra­structure.

Headlines speak to phasing out coal-fired generation, con­struction of new nuclear facili­ties and how conservation will play a material role in our electricity future.

In addition, public aware­ness of the consequences of glo­bal warming and green­house gas emissions have reach­ed an all-time high and evidence of the “green revolu­tion” appears in every corner of our lives, from the grocery stores to the vehicles that we drive.

More recently, the third component has fallen; a severe economic downturn that threat­ens economic health. Business owners and individuals alike are struggling to do with less in an effort to ride this one out.

While uncertainty and hard times are difficult to bear, that combination has created signi­ficant opportunities for busi­nesses to reduce their depen­dence on energy, contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and make busines­ses more competitive in the marketplace.

Just one compact fluore­scent bulb will save $77 of electricity over its lifetime. (See http://www.hydro­one­networks.com/en/.) If the elec­tricity avoided was coal-gen­erated, then greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by one-half tonne and one-third of a tonne of coal could remain buried in the ground.

The Ontario Power Auth­ority, the provincial agency that conducts planning for long-term electricity supply, has developed incentive programs to help businesses implement energy efficiency. Between now and 2025 the Ontario Pow­er Authority expects to spend approximately $10-billion to achieve its goal of permanently reducing electrical energy use in Ontario.

Why is that a good invest­ment? Simply put, the cost of implementing efficiency is far less than the cost of building, maintaining and fuelling the incremental electricity genera­tion capacity needed to meet Ontario’s power needs if there were no permanent conser­vation achievements.

The good News is the pro­grams are available now:

The Electricity Retrofit Incen­tive Program (ERIP) is available to all non-residential electricity customers. It pays an incentive to implement elec­tricity conservation measures in commercial, industrial, insti­tutional and apartment build­ings.

Program participants have reported the incentives amount to between 10 and 30% of the costs to implement the effici­ency measures, and the simple paybacks usually range be­tween one and two years.

A wide range of energy conser­vation measures are eligible, including energy efficient: lighting, motors and electrical transformers, agricul­tural products air conditioning equipment, heat pumps, control systems and process improve­ments.

Power Savings Blitz is available to all non-residential) customers who use less than 50 kilowatts of electricity demand monthly. Eligibility can be con­firmed with the local distri­bution company. Generally, qualifying customers operate a small business such as a store front, employ fewer than 10 people, and have an electricity meter. Some business types such as restaurants and food service industries do not currently qualify, but the On­tario Power Authority is de­veloping programs for that market.

Qualifying businesses are eligible to receive up to $1,000 of energy efficient lighting and electric hot water heater insulation blankets, profes­sion­ally installed, all at no cost.  Many participants report that annual electricity costs are reduced by $300 to $500 as a result of participation.

The Ontario Power Auth­ority funds the programs, but the local distribution compan­ies  provide administration. Help can be found by contacting your LCD:

– www.guelphhydro.com (Guelph Hydro)

– www.cwhydro.ca, (Cen­tre Wellington Hydro)

– www.wellington­north­power.com, (Wellington North Power); and

– www.hydroonenet­works.­­com/en/    (Hydro One Net­works).

Submitted by Rick Tomson, President, Aladaco Consulting