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Feel the difference with water-efficient showerheads

April 27 2017, 14:24 PM

Feel the difference with water-efficient showerheads

Are you looking for a new way to save on your household energy use that doesn’t sacrifice any comfort?

Maybe it’s time to consider a water-efficient showerhead- they use about 50% less water which helps you save on your energy bills.  

The newest water-efficient showerheads have been engineered specifically to maintain water pressure while reducing the flow of water. This means you can still shower under a strong blast if you replace your showerhead.

So how do you know if you’re ready to make the switch?

You can do a simple test to determine if your showerhead is a good candidate for replacement. Start by turning your water fully on and place a two litre jug or container in your tub. If it fills it up in less than 10 seconds, you should consider upgrading to a more efficient model.

What to look for in a showerhead

To find the most efficient showerhead when shopping, look for the ENERGY STAR certified label. These water-efficient models have been tested and rated to be the most efficient and yield the greatest energy savings.  

You should choose a showerhead with a low gallon per minute rating- this is usually on the package. We recommend models with a rating of 1.6 gallons per minute (GPM) or less.

Showers can account for up to 25% of your household’s hot water use. Imagine how much that can begin to cost the more people you add to your home? Here’s a breakdown of what the water use looks like for an average family of three with both a regular and water-efficient showerhead.

If you have kids, you’ll know they love to take their time in the shower. While we recommend limiting your shower to 10 minutes to see added savings on your power bill, it’s not always the case when you have a full house. An efficient showerhead can help limit the amount of hot water used, even if you have a family member who likes to take longer showers.

Use the installation of your efficient showerhead as an opportunity to discuss — as a family — the costs associated with hot water and other energy uses throughout your home.

Until the end of April, you can save even more on water-efficient showerheads with our Smart Habits rebate of $10 on select models at participating retailers.

 

 

Smart Grid Innovation Network: Bringing ideas to life

April 4 2017, 08:56 AM

Smart Grid Innovation Network: Bringing ideas to life

Walking through the hallways leading to the NB Power products and services lab is like traveling through time. Designs on the walls outline the present, past and achievable future of NB Power.

The lab is just one of 3 lab environments that support the incubation of ideas for products and services that will integrate with New Brunswick’s Smart Grid- together, these labs form the Smart Grid Innovation Network.

Who’s involved in the Smart Grid Innovation Network?

NB Power has partnered with Siemens Canada and the University of New Brunswick to create this unique opportunity for companies to bring their Smart Grid visions to life.

It all starts at UNB: it is the idea incubator and physical device research facility.

Siemens comes in to work with products creators to establish connectivity and ensure the product is “Smart Grid ready.” Then the product functionality and effectiveness is tested at the NB Power lab. This lab is the last stop before launching new innovations.

Both Siemens and UNB are indispensable partners in the Smart Grid Network.

The NB Power lab

The hallway leading to the product lab and showroom detail our utility’s history through a timeline of important events that showcase our evolution to this point, and the challenges that face us for the future.

We’ve got one of the most diverse electric systems in North America that already incorporates a lot of renewable energy (wind up north, a little solar, and lots of hydro.)

We’re starting from a good spot, but the challenge remains- finding a way to reduce and shift energy demand to ‘beat the peak’ that happens in the morning between 6-9am and in the evening from 4-8pm.

We are aware of the changing interests and behaviours of our customers. In previous years we didn’t have to know what happens beyond the meters, but now we have to work with customers in order to keep up and grow.

The two-and-a-half year old lab is where NB Power engineers test out new and innovative products. It is ground control for our engineers to monitor the input from smart devices being tested in the field right now in pilot projects.

The product demo room

Here are products that will help you become more energy efficient as well as products that will help us manage your load.

On one wall you will see electric vehicles, solar panels and smart batteries. All are examples of new technologies that are already available.

Smart water heaters are another. We can communicate with them remotely and tell them to consume power when it’s the best time to do so.

Energy efficient products, heat pumps, energy-efficient fridges are on another wall.

On the floor you will see an illustration of Integrated Load Management System. This is the brain behind everything. It is the network which connects appliances to the lab.

Get involved

Do you have an idea for a product or service that would integrate with the Smart Grid? Get in touch with the Smart Grid Innovation network here.

If you’re interested in the changing energy landscape and the opportunities that come with it, you can follow the Energy Innovations Forum- taking place April 4 and 5 in Fredericton, NB at the Fredericton Convention Centre on Twitter with the hashtag #EnergyInnoForum.

 

 

Ice Storm 2017 – A thank you to our customers

February 7 2017, 09:00 AM

Ice Storm 2017 – A thank you to our customers

On behalf of everyone at NB Power who worked on restoration efforts in the wake of the ice storm that hit our province two weeks ago, I want to thank customers for their extraordinary patience and support during this particularly challenging time. After two weeks of incredible work by all our employees and mutual aid partners, we now have all storm-affected customers reconnected to our grid.

The damage left by this storm was some of the most significant our utility has ever seen, with poles toppling over from the weight of ice build-up in the Acadian Peninsula to ice-coated trees contacting with kilometres long stretches of lines in Moncton and Kent County. The work required to bring our customers back online was complex, and difficult weather conditions only added extra challenges for our crews to restore customers in a safe, timely manner.

We are grateful to our partner utilities and contractors who came to help us out in restoration efforts. We also deeply appreciate the support from Premier Brian Gallant, municipal leaders, staff and volunteers from the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization,the Canadian Red Cross and the Armed Forceswho showed leadership and care for our customers in their communities. We also want to acknowledge the hundreds of volunteers who provided comfort and hot food in shelters and warming stations, and who went door to door to ensure our customers were safe and cared for.

These past two weeks have been incredibly trying for our customers and our employees. I spent a week in the areas impacted by the storm and was inspired by the collaboration and goodwill I witnessed from our fellow New Brunswickers. Everyone worked together to ensure that our customers were safe and comfortable and that our crews were well-fed, rested and prepared to restore power in challenging conditions. 

I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the support we have received and I know the crews are very appreciative of all kind words and tokens of appreciation.

We still have crews at work in the Acadian Peninsula responding to the lingering impacts of this system and we will keep working there and elsewhere to ensure our infrastructure remains strong.

During the next few weeks, we will be taking the time to reflect back on our efforts and what we can improve upon for future events, as we always do. 

Winter isn’t behind us yet, and we will continue to monitor future weather events to ensure we are prepared to face whatever those storms bring in order to keep our customers safe and connected.

Again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Gaëtan Thomas

NB Power President and CEO

Ice storm 2017 - Important resources for customers

February 4 2017, 15:05 PM

Ice storm 2017 - Important resources for customers

After two weeks of incredible work by NB Power employees and mutual aid partners, all storm-affected customers are now reconnected to our grid after an ice storm hit New Brunswick on January 24, 2017.  The intense and prolonged freezing rain knocked out 130,000 customers at the peak of the storm, with more losing power in Northern New Brunswick as the storm raged on in the coming days.

See below for a list of resources and important information if you were affected by the storm.

Power Bills

Are you worried about your power bill after the ice storm? The best thing you can do is call us at 1 800 663-6272 and one of our agents will walk you through the options available to you, from financial assistance, waiving rental charges (water heaters/ dusk to dawn) for one month, setting up payment arrangements to help you avoid falling behind and others.

Some bills will be estimated following the ice storm because it was impossible to read most meters. If you receive an estimated bill, don’t worry. Your next bill should reflect your actual electricity use. In the end, you’ll only be charged for what you use.

We work with several organizations that can help those who are having difficulties with their bills. You can find a list of those groups here.

Give us a call today, so we can work with you to find the best solution for your situation.  

Disaster Financial Assistance Program

The Government of New Brunswick has launched the Disaster Financial Assistance Program, which covers eligible damages and losses that threaten the health and safety of individuals and communities, like repairs to electrical panels.  It does not cover damages or losses for items that are covered by insurance.

It is recommended customers speak with their insurance company to see what could be covered under your plan before applying to this program.

You can apply by phone by calling 1 888 298-8555, in person at warming centres and shelters as well as online.

Red Cross Registration Centre

If you were severely impacted by the ice storm and have no access to food or means to buy it, the Red Cross has opened a registration centre in Inkerman at the community centre at 122 Church Street, which is open 9am until 7pm until February 12. You can also register by phone, toll-free at 1 888 893-1300 from 9 am until 7pm.

If you wish to donate to those New Brunswickers in need, the Red Cross is accepting donations online or by calling 1 800 418-1111 that will go directly to affected communities.

Wind Energy: How does it work?

January 11 2017, 09:31 AM

Wind Energy: How does it work?

The future of energy is changing, and we’re changing with it. We’re already planning for how we’ll meet New Brunswickers’ energy needs over the next 25 years. One key element of that is seeing how renewable energy sources fit into our generation mix.

Today in New Brunswick, there’s 294 MW of clean wind energy available to the power grid. This energy is supplied by 113 wind turbines located at 3 wind farms in Lamèque, Kent Hills and near Bathurst. 

As we look ahead at the part wind energy could play in New Brunswick’s energy future, let’s see how it works.

Wind power is one of the simplest forms of energy and its plain to see how. You can even watch the spinning blades on top of the turbines while you are driving along the highway.

The blades on these wind turbines are similar to aircraft wings in their design, allowing the wind to move faster over one side of the blade to give it momentum. The blades catch the wind and spin, which then prompts a generator on top of the turbine to rotate, which then produces electricity.

Even though the blades may appear to move quite slowly from the road or ground, out at the tip of the blade, they can reach speeds of 300km/hour. That’s about the same speed as the race-winning car in the 1976 Indy 500. In other words- they move really, really fast.

Location is important for these wind farms- areas that naturally have higher wind speeds is the single most important factor in determining location. They also come equipped with sensors that turn the whole unit so it is always facing the wind.

Each of the 50 turbines at the Kent Hills wind farm, just outside Petitcodiac, has the capacity to produce 3 MW of electricity- 150 MW for the whole facility. It produces enough energy to power approximately 26,000 New Brunswick homes. 


Supply and demand

Wind facilities run differently from traditional generating stations on our grid. Traditional stations respond to the demand for electricity and use more or less fuel to balance out that demand. Wind farms can only make power when it is windy – regardless of the demand.

Because of the variable nature of wind, operators at these wind farms work to predict the wind speeds a few days in advance so they can help energy companies like NB Power to put this energy onto the grid.

NB Power takes these predictions and balances other sources of energy to make sure there’s a steady supply of electricity for customers at all times, while making sure we get the most out of our clean wind sources. 


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