Canadian utilities energy saving trends
By John McMalcolm
Energy bills are expected to keep rising in certain parts of Canada, and therefore, households and businesses should start taking effective measures to save energy.
Conserving energy does not only result in significant monetary savings; it can also contribute positively to the environment.
Canadians who wish to lower their energy consumption can seek advice from their utility companies. Most of the utility companies in the country offer helpful information and a variety of programs to help their customers save money.
Providing energy saving tips
Canadians need to develop energy-saving habits in order to gain substantial savings.
They can learn how to do this by visiting the websites of their utility companies. Most utilities in Canada offer energy-conservation tips and tools on their websites.
For instance, Ontario utility company Independent Electricity System Operator, or IESO, has a page that offers many year-round and season-specific tips for reducing energy consumption and Manitoba Hydro provides a tool for comparing typical heat and water costs in homes. Some energy-saving measures may involve remodeling work or the purchase of certain devices, while others can be done with just a little extra effort.
Energy-saving programs and products
Another thing that Canadians can do to reduce their energy costs is to participate in the energy-conservation programs that are offered by their utilities.
These programs may be developed by utility companies, state energy authorities or manufacturers of energy-efficient products, and they include demand response programs, heating and cooling incentive programs, appliance rebate programs, fridge buy-back programs and others.
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One of the most effective energy-saving programs that are available in Canada is the peaksaver PLUS program.
Administered by Honeywell, this program is being offered by several Ontario-based utility companies, such as Hydro Ottawa, Burlington Hydro, PowerStream and Horizon Utilities.
It provides customers with tools such as the UtilityPRO programmable thermostat and PowerCost Monitor to enable them to manage their energy consumption more effectively.
Most energy-conservation programs involve the use of certain energy-saving devices, which can range from smart meters to compact fluorescent lights. Some utilities also offer discount coupons for energy-efficient products, as well as rewards for certain amounts of energy saved.
Assistance for low-income energy consumers
State energy boards, utility companies and energy consumer associations in Canada have been working together to develop a number of programs to help low-income households deal with rising energy costs.
One program that low-income households can apply for is the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP. This program consists of three components, namely, emergency financial assistance, targeted energy-conservation programs and special rules for low-income customers.
Some utility companies also offer free energy-saving kits, home energy assessment, energy coaching and energy-efficient upgrades for low-income households.
If they are willing to work with their utility companies, Canadians can learn many effective ways to reduce their energy costs.
By following energy-saving tips, using energy-efficient devices and upgrading their homes or buildings, they may be able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, including "why businesses should adopt cloud computing", "how a bill alertaffects credit score" and others.