January 24 2018, 15:09 PM
In New Brunswick, many homes are heated with electricity, so it’s no surprise that our homes use more energy in the winter. Space heating can account for 50% of homeowners annual energy use. So every time you crank that thermostat, it could end up being costly.
But there are some ways you can help fight the power bill blues this winter. Let’s take a look!
- Seal up drafts
Draft proofing is one of the most important upgrades you can make it in your home. It’s also one of the easiest and least expensive.
Fixing air leaks can save you up to 20% on your bills and make your home more comfortable by actually keeping your heat inside. Learn how to draft proof your home.
- Use a programmable thermostat
Turning down the heat may sound like a weird thing to do when it’s -20 outside, but just turning your thermostat back 3° when you’re either away from home, or asleep can add up in savings on your bill. Did you know many older dial-style thermostats can be off by as much as 3 – 5° C Celsius? That can start to add up on your winter bills. Programmable thermostats are more accurate and let you automatically set temperatures based on your schedule. Learn how to program your thermostat.
- Add more insulation
Want to get serious about bringing down your winter bills? Try upgrading your insulation- it’s the investment that will have the biggest impact on your energy use, especially if you have an older home.
Basements can be a major source of heat loss for homes of any age. Uninsulated basements can account for a whopping 20% of a home’s total heat loss. Attics can be another culprit of heat loss in homes during the winter. If you look at your attic’s insulation and its 12 inches or less, you should add more so it reaches an r-value of 60.
Not sure where to get started? Sign up for an energy evaluation of your home through our Home Insulation program. Our Energy Advisors will give you a list of recommended upgrades based on your home’s unique needs. Make the upgrades and we’ll give you money back too!
- Balance out your bills
Take the surprise out of opening your bill during winter months by setting up an Equalized Payment Plan. You’ll pay the same, equal amount each month based on how much energy you used in the last year. Any energy you used that was more or less than your monthly payments will go into a bank and you’ll either get a credit or have a balance at the end of the year when your settlement month comes around. Pro-tip- set your equalized plan up in the fall to avoid settling in the winter months when your usage is higher.
- Monitor your energy use
A great way to lower your energy use, is to better understand how much you’re using. Do you need to upgrade your fridge? Is your TV sucking energy when you’re at work? How much of an impact is the weather having? You can log into your NB Power online account and visit the Home Energy Report portal to see your monthly use and a breakdown of where it’s coming from. You’ll also get personalized tips to help you bring your bills down.
To measure the power and energy use of a specific device, consider borrowing one of our appliance meters from the public library. They are easy to use, but make sure you read the short manual first! Get started here.
Having trouble keeping up with your bills?
We understand there may be many reasons why you may not be able to pay your bill on time during the winter months. We can help by setting up a payment plan with you to help you get back on track. Just give us a call at 1 855 331-9633 or log in to your NB Power account and select payment arrangements. We’re happy to work with you to find the best solution for your situation. The Government of New Brunswick has programs to help with high winter bills.
January 21 2018, 15:26 PM
Early morning yesterday a large number of customers in the Moncton and Riverview areas were impacted by a transmission outage. Many customers have asked us why this outage happened and why did it take so long to restore power.
Restoration work requires a sequence of events that must take place in a specific order before the next task can occur. Many things can affect the timing of the sequence, like access to location, needing specialized equipment etc.
In yesterday’s case, an equipment fault happened in a remote location at an intersection of two transmission lines feeding three separate substations. Transmission lines feed the distribution substations that feed the distribution lines which in turn, feed into homes and businesses.
A transmission outage – like we saw on Saturday – is more difficult to address and results in larger outages. Crews were dispatched but given the remote location of the fault, more time was needed to get to the site, find the fault, bring in specialized equipment like off-road machinery, excavator, crane etc.
The initial plan was to make necessary repairs at the source of the issue, so crews outlined a plan to make the repairs, obtained work permits, brought in the heavy machinery and resources. Unfortunately, crews ran into some difficulty executing the original plan and decided to manually reconfigure the transmission circuit, isolating the damaged portion and try and energize the transmission line from another source. Once this work was done on the transmission lines, crews then needed to focus on restoring the impacted substations.
Transmission lines need to be energized before the distribution lines can be re-energized. While crews were working on the transmission lines, other crews were working to get the distribution lines ready to pick up the load once re-energized.
During this time our website displayed incorrect information regarding customers’ estimated restoration times and total number of customers impacted by the outage. We apologise for this. In cold winter months, when the power has been out for a long period of time, we can experience what is called “cold load pickup” meaning the grid is overloaded when it’s restored, and by design in order to protect itself from damage, will go out again. Some of our customers may have experienced one of these “cold load pickup” outages yesterday. Most customers were restored by 9 pm last evening.
As you can see, power restoration is not a simple task but we can assure you our crews were working as fast as possible to rectify the situation and we absolutely understand this was not an easy situation for customers, especially in winter months. We thank you for your patience.
January 11 2018, 11:48 AM
New Year, new resolutions! Each year, people commit themselves to being more organized, saving money and, even saving energy. This year, try taking on a resolution that can do all three: organizing your refrigerator. Here are 11 ways to get your fridge organized in a way that can help you save money.
- Arrange foods for quick in-and-outs. The longer you keep the door open, the more cold air you are letting out and the harder your fridge has to work. Reach items easier with the help of a lazy susan or labeled containers.
- Consider space that’s normally ignored like fridge walls, and under shelves. You can use plastic utensil organizers for smaller snacks on the sides of your fridge, and space saving organizers for under shelves.
- Some foods can be left out of the fridge: tomatoes, bananas, apples, pears, ketchup, soy sauce, etc. Leave these out to create space for foods that matter to avoid clutter.
- The temperatures near your door can fluctuate, so avoid storing easy-to-spoil items like milk on the door- instead, store milk on the middle shelf where the temperature is consistent. Items like condiments and canned or bottled drinks can be stored on the door.
- Make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature. We recommend keeping your fridge set to 2°C and freezer to -18°C to keep your energy costs down. Not sure what temperature your fridge is at? Check out this video to check your fridge’s temperature.
- Make sure there is an air gap for your fridge condenser. These are usually on the back of the fridge, so keeping your fridge an inch or two from the wall will help keep the air flowing.
- Don’t overfill your refrigerator. Overstocked shelves can reduce airflow and cause frost buildup. Ice makes it more difficult for the fridge to keep a consistent temperature. Make sure you don’t put tall or bulky items in front of air vents.
- Understand your fridge’s humidity. The two drawers at the bottom of your fridge can extend your produce’s life if used correctly. Use a higher humidity in one bin for leafy greens, peppers, and broccoli and a lower humidity in your other bin for items that will go bad quicker, like kiwi. This will help your produce stay fresher, longer.
- Store your meat near the bottom of the fridge. Being as close to the coldest part of the fridge (just above the freezer) is important to keep your raw meat from spoiling before you’re ready to eat it. If you don’t have a built-in meat drawer, you can use one of your produce drawers, or a separate container to keep any contamination away from your fresh produce.
- Cool off your leftovers before putting them in the fridge. Adding hot foods to your refrigerator will cause it to work in overdrive, using more energy and costing you more money.
- Clean the condenser coils. The condenser coils on the back of your fridge can get covered in dust and this will reduce heat transfer, causing your fridge to work harder, which uses more electricity to keep the inside cool. Clean these coils once a year or every 2 years with a vacuum, or with an ozone-friendly canister for cleaning keyboards.