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New Brunswickers take action to help Beat the Peak

January 21 2022, 10:19 AM

New Brunswickers take action to help Beat the Peak

With extremely cold temperatures across the province last week, we asked everyone to reduce their energy consumption to help New Brunswick Beat the Peak.

And it worked!

Peak electricity demand happens in the morning from 6 until 9, and in the afternoon from 4 until 8, when most families begin and wind down their days.

Thanks to the many customers who made small changes to reduce or delay energy use during peak demand periods, we reduced the need to use the most carbon-based energy to power New Brunswick during the cold snap.

Here’s how high in-province demand peaked last week:

January 11, 8-9 a.m. - 3,028 megawatts (MW)

January 11, 6-7 p.m. - 2,936 MW

January 12, 8-9 a.m. - 3,177 MW (second highest demand of all-time!)

The record for peak electricity demand in New Brunswick happened in January 2004, at 3,326 MW in the morning. For comparison, we only need about 1,500 MW to meet the needs of customers on a typical summer morning.

It’s our job to meet New Brunswickers’ energy needs all year-long and we had an opportunity to reduce the need for the most expensive energy. It was important for us to do our part, so early last week, many of our employees took steps to be ready for the peak periods.

  • Teams identified and implemented energy savings at NB Power generating stations and offices to reduce our own consumption. These actions included lowering temperatures in unoccupied spaces and delaying the operation of some of our equipment in our plants.
  • Generation employees readied and tested our reserve combustion turbine energy sources at Millbank, Ste. Rose and Grand Manan so they’d be ready if needed.
  • We dispatched our Peak Rebate Program, where 50 commercial and industrial customers who have signed up to work with us on peak demand through the winter months take action to reduce energy use for two-hour periods.
  • Our Key Account Specialists reached out to more than dozens of business customers who represent much of the energy use in the province. Most business owners and managers said that they appreciated the heads up and chance to make changes that would help them manage energy costs as well.
  • We partnered with municipal electric utilities in the province, including Saint John Energy who issued its own Shave the Peak alerts for their customers.
  • We shared information with New Brunswickers on social media, by email and on local radio stations to encourage everyone to join the effort.

Jean Marc Landry, NB Power’s Chief Customer Officer, is energized by New Brunswickers’ enthusiasm and interest in beating the peak. Many energy companies engage customers to help manage peak demand events in North America.

“It was great to hear how receptive our business customers were to making adjustments to their operations for a couple of days,” said Jean Marc. “They recognized that saving energy would not only help the province, but their bottom lines.”

Since this was the first time in years that NB Power asked customers to help Beat the Peak for specific dates, there were lots of discussions and questions.

“We recognize that this is a difficult time for many New Brunswickers, especially with so many working and learning from home,” said Jean Marc. “Thank you to all customers who made a small change to their routines to help lower overall demand of electricity during the morning and early evening periods. Together, we were able to avoid using the most expensive and least environmentally sustainable energy sources, which benefits the whole province.”

Thankfully, cold snaps like the one experienced last week are temporary, and so are our requests for New Brunswickers to use less power. But saving energy is always a good thing to do, for managing your power bill and helping the environment.

Thank you, New Brunswick!

What about Electric Vehicles?

On social media, we received lots of questions and comments about how Beat the Peak efforts would affect electric vehicles (EVs).

Most electric vehicle owners charge at home in the overnight hours, which has minimal impact on the morning and afternoon peak electricity periods. Electric vehicles also allow owners to schedule when they charge (to avoid peak periods) – the same way you might schedule a dishwasher to run on a 4-hour delay.

In the future, EV batteries will likely be a key part of our smart grid because they could be used as a source of power during times like these or during power outages.

 

Recognizing Jennifer Lennox' leadership in the nuclear industry

December 15 2021, 12:07 PM

Recognizing Jennifer Lennox' leadership in the nuclear industry

NB Power is proud to own and operate Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear power plant. Our employees at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) work hard every day to produce safe, reliable, and clean power for New Brunswickers.

In October 2021, Jennifer Lennox was named Chief Nuclear Engineer at PLNGS, making her the first female Chief Nuclear Engineer for an operating utility in Canadian nuclear industry history. Being a Chief Nuclear Engineer is an integral role in ensuring the safe operation of the Station within the limits and conditions of its design and operating licence.

Jennifer’s career has prepared her for this role. Prior to joining NB Power in 2009, she was employed as a research Engineer at the Center for Nuclear Engineer Research following completion of her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering focused on Nuclear at the University of New Brunswick. At PLNGS, she has held the positions of Manager of Reactor Safety and Manager of Systems Engineering in addition to various positions within Programs Engineering and Engineering Training throughout her career.

For Jennifer, stepping into a leadership role was an easy decision – she thrives on seeing others succeed, providing coaching and helping her colleagues reach their full potential. As a leader, she contributes to PLNGS’ success by being a mentor, removing barriers to success for her team and working collaboratively with industry peers to identify and share best practices. The New Brunswick culture of helping and learning from others is also a big part of Jennifer’s leadership philosophy.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Jennifer recognizes the challenges that females can face when starting their careers in nuclear. Diversity and inclusion in the nuclear industry is important – it highlights different perspectives and brings balance to teams.

Her advice to young professionals is simple “Build relationships with your peers, get involved in industry-wide initiatives, and embrace opportunities to teach and learn from each other."  A key initiative supporting the advancement of women in the nuclear industry is WiN (Women in Nuclear). WiN is a worldwide association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications.

When she isn’t wearing her Chief Nuclear Engineer hat, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old daughter Emma, a competitive dancer, at the dance studio. She also takes care of two furry friends Lola and Macy and is looking to add a third dog to her family before the Holidays.  

Congratulations, Jennifer, and thank you!

Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

November 24 2021, 11:06 AM

Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

Lucy and Desi live a pretty comfortable life at the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. The black bear siblings have a great enclosure and a steady source of food served to them daily. Like the other animals at the zoo, they receive great care from a dedicated team of professionals.

They lucked out.

Ten years ago, a terrible hunting incident led to deaths of their mother and sibling. The tiny cubs were stuck on top of a power line structure in Allardville, terrified and clinging to safety.

On April 10, 2011, NB Power received a call from the Department of Natural Resources, asking for help rescuing the cubs. Line workers James Doucet and Bruce White (who has since retired) jumped into action.

James still works in the Bathurst area as a Lead Powerline Technician and vividly remembers that day.

“Bruce and I were on call that weekend,” he said. “We sure weren’t expecting to be part of a rescue mission! We drove to the location and realized we needed a bigger truck. We came back with a double bucket truck and went up to help the bears. The cub that had been hanging on was easy to keep hold of as she melted into Bruce’s arms. The other one was a bit more feisty and harder to get down to safety!”

The Department of Natural Resources transported the cubs to the Magnetic Hill Zoo to be with a team of animal care professionals.

Tiffany Bateman is an Animal Care Supervisor at the zoo. She was part of the team that helped with the cubs when they arrived a decade ago.

“When I first saw them, Lucy and Desi were about the size of a loaf of bread,” she said. “It was an incredible experience to bottle feed the cubs and see them gain strength and grow into adolescent bears. They were curious, mischievous and adorable.”

As they grew into toddlers, the bears also became incredibly messy.

“We’d blend up a mix of baby food, puppy chow, cottage cheese and other items into a slurry,” said Tiffany. “In those early months, feeding time was like watching human toddlers eat spaghetti with their hands!”

The newest zoo residents received a lot of attention, and many families came to see them in an indoor enclosure for an up-close experience.

Lucy and Desi adapted well to the zoo environment and transitioned into an outdoor bear enclosure the next year. There they met 18-year-old bear Gary, who was happy to have the youngsters around.

“He was a great friend and teacher to the cubs and their energy gave him a new lease on life,” said Tiffany. “Sadly, Gary passed away last summer. Now Lucy is the dominant one – she definitely makes it known that she’s in charge. Desi is more playful and curious.”

In case you’re wondering, Lucy and Desi don’t hibernate like bears in the wild. They have different diets depending on the time of year and are quieter and chubbier during the winter months. This means they’re often visible during winter zoo visits.

Next time you visit the Magnetic Hill Zoo, be sure to say hi to Lucy and Desi for us!

 


From left; Lucy, Gary and Desi.

Co-op Placements a Win-Win

November 17 2021, 11:25 AM

Co-op Placements a Win-Win

For Massan Dopegno, NB Power is an opportunity to put what she’s learning at Université De Moncton (U de M) into action.

The third-year Computer Science student started her first eight-month Co-op term with our Digital Technology team on May 3, 2021.

Massan is from Togo, a country in West Africa. She began her post-secondary studies in Togo and realized that she wanted to study abroad. After researching her options as an international student, she chose U de M and traveled to Canada for the first time, arriving in the dead of winter in 2019.

“Arriving in a new place where I knew no one was a big adjustment, and then on top of that it was -15 C, something I hadn’t felt before,” says Massan. “But New Brunswick is great – I really like it here. I’ve found people here very enthusiastic and open minded to learn about my culture and share their own. From day one, I’ve felt welcomed by New Brunswickers, my U de M community and NB Power."

To be eligible for a Co-op term at NB Power, students must be enrolled in Co-op programs at post-secondary institutions. This means that their education alternates between academic studies and periods of paid job experience to enhance their overall learning.

Massan takes direction from Gino Arseneau, Senior IT Specialist, who has worked at NB Power for 30 years. Gino’s group is responsible for the development and support of applications such as e-Forms, Timesheet and off-the-shelf applications like PeopleSoft and SAP.

Gino says the partnership with post-secondary institutions is mutually beneficial. He is currently leading four Co-op employees from U de M and UNB: Massan, Cody Dunnett, Nick Trask and Nicole Duplessis. They are primarily focused on custom application development using Microsoft Visual Studio.

“I love working with students – they are full of energy and so eager to learn,” says Gino. “We see them bringing new ideas to the table every day. They are so engaged because we’re giving them a chance to gain practical experience that links to their theoretical learning in school. A positive Co-op term enhances the student’s overall education by also providing experience with how businesses operate and the social aspect of a real workplace.”

For Gino’s team, there’s a mix of simple and complex work to find that sweet spot between keeping students engaged but not overloaded. For many, it’s their first chance to work in both development (creation and testing) and production (live, in use) environments.

“I really love when a colleague comes to us with an issue and we get to go solve it,” said Massan. “Gino sets the direction, but doesn’t give us the solution, and he’s there if we get stuck. But we really get a chance to stand on our own. It’s been an amazing experience to be treated as a peer and have my opinions and expertise respected.”

The most common Co-op placements at NB Power involve Power Engineering, Business Administration, Digital Technology and Engineering.

Carole Volpe, Senior Manager, Careers & Resourcing, says that Co-op placements with universities and colleges allow NB Power to connect with future employees while meeting business needs.

“The ultimate goal is that we’ll capture the attention of these students so they’ll want to work at NB Power after graduation,” said Carole. “We see it all the time – the next-level caliber of job candidates who participated in Co-op programs. It might take longer to complete your program, but the hands-on experience is invaluable.”

Massan is very happy with her decision to go through a Co-op program. She can already see how she’ll have an edge when it comes to job hunting after graduation.

“Even in just a few months, my confidence in my abilities has grown,” said Massan. “Not to mention that moving to Fredericton and starting this role is helping me improve my English and network in new ways. I am so thankful for this opportunity and know it is setting me up for success with the rest of my program when I return to school this winter.”

National Tradesperson Day

September 17 2021, 13:21 PM

National Tradesperson Day

The third Friday of September is recognized as National Tradesperson Day to celebrate the important contributions of skilled trades workers across the country.

From our carpenters to our millwrights, and our electricians to our welders, skilled trades play a key role in providing safe and reliable energy to New Brunswickers.

We’d like to introduce you to Chad Crawford, a Mechanical Maintainer on the NB Power team.

 

Born and raised in the Moncton area, Chad says he was a very hands-on child, always taking things apart and trying to rebuild them.

His high school shop teacher recognized his passion and skill, recommending the Industrial Mechanic program at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) after graduation. Chad completed the program and worked his way through apprenticeships and testing to achieve his Red Seal, referred to by many as his ticket.

Staying in his home province was always a goal, so Chad was excited to accept a full-time position at the Coleson Cove Generating Station in 2015.

As the Lead Hand for the Unit 2 turbine system, Chad is responsible for repairs and maintenance on one of the three 350 megawatt units located just outside of Saint John.

“The team at Coleson Cove is fantastic,” Chad says. “I like that every day there’s a new challenge – and I never back away from an opportunity to learn more. The first couple of years in this role were about learning the systems in the plant and now I’m able to specialize my skills a bit.”

As the father of two young children, Chad values NB Power’s strong workplace safety culture.

“Safety at NB Power job sites is unlike anything else I’ve seen,” he said. “We have the tools, resources and knowledge to keep everyone safe – it’s up to each of us to own our personal safety and look out for one another. I feel confident knowing that if I encounter a safety issue, it will be fixed before anyone is in harm’s way. That gives me peace of mind that I’ll make it home each day to my wife and kids.”

Chad is proud to represent skilled trades at NB Power and suggests that more young people explore a career in the trades.

“I’ve always said if you get a trade, it stays with you your whole life,” he said. “There is tremendous earning potential and so many opportunities to do meaningful and challenging work right here in New Brunswick. The need for skilled tradespeople keeps growing. I highly encourage students to learn more about the great programs offered at NBCC. You might just end up in your dream job.”

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