February 29 2016, 08:55 AM
This might sound like a strange idea – a power company wanting you to use less of the product they sell.
You might be skeptical and think this isn’t good for business. But NB Power wants you to use less.
Here’s our President and CEO, Gaëtan Thomas to help explain how it’s going to help the company and our customers over the long run.
Gaëtan Thomas - President and CEO
Regardless of where you live in North America, we all use electricity in similar ways – especially in the mornings before work and the period around suppertime. They’re called “peak” times.
As New Brunswickers, we use nearly 3x as much electricity on a cold winter day as we do on a nice sunny day in June. That’s due in large part because 60% of New Brunswick homes heat with electric heating systems.
That means NB Power needs to have additional generating stations available to supply customer needs in the winter. These are called peaking plants and they sit idle much of the rest of the year. Their power is expensive and largely comes from fossil-fuels. Because our costs are reflected in our rates, meeting these peaks increases all of our monthly bills and impacts the environment of our province.
What if we could still provide the comfort and heat you desire on those cold winter days but without needing all that “extra” generation? What if we could all save money by doing so?
That’s our goal right now, and the way to do that is for all of us as energy consumers to better understand how we use electricity and then to develop smart habits that will help us both reduce our energy use and shift it to off-peak, or less expensive and greener, times of the day.
This change isn’t going to happen overnight and so we’re going through a managed transition right now that will ensure we protect the electrical system in New Brunswick and keep rates low and stable over time
The benefits to all of us will be tremendous. We’ll have a greener grid, emit less greenhouse gases and avoid nearly $1 Billion dollars in costs that will be passed on to you as savings through rate stability over time, helping to keep our rates among the lowest in Canada.
We are making progress toward these goals, and that will only accelerate with the help of our energy efficiency programs and through the roll out of new smart products and programs over the next few years.
Saving power doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things you enjoy. There are simple steps you can take to change your energy habits like turning off the lights when you leave a room, setting a programmable thermostat to come before you wake up and waiting to do laundry or dishes until later in the evening.
Making simple behaviour changes like these are not only a great place to start, but can help save on your bill, without sacrificing your comfort. Working together in this way, we can have a huge impact on the future of electricity and the environment in our province.
Learn more about what we’re doing to solve the peak problem in New Brunswick in this video.