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.
November 28 2017, 10:49 AM
On an ordinary morning drive to work at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station last September, something extraordinary happened to Keith Whitebone - he became a hero.
Coming up on the Musquash highway, out of the corner of his eyes, he and a coworker spotted a car on its roof in the ditch, water coming up its side. Keith quickly pulled over to the shoulder and jumped into action.
“Some sort of calm came over me and I just did what had to be done,” said Keith.
Searching for something to help, Keith found a large rock that he used to break the back window of the car. He crawled inside. Once in the overturned car, he found a woman trapped upside down by her seatbelt.
“I did think when I got down to this lady hanging upside down in anywhere from inches to 3 feet of water, is this poor soul survives this terrible roll over and now she has the potential of drowning,” said Keith. “I wasn’t going to let that happen.”
He was able to cut her free from her seatbelt, and carefully helped her out of the car through the back window. Once out of the car, Keith sat by her side on the swampy ground and helped to keep her calm and comfortable while they waited for emergency responders to arrive.
Keith was nominated for a Safety Recognition Award by his colleagues at Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, and received a plaque from the Station’s Joint Health and Safety Committee for a company-wide Safety Excellence Award for his actions.
Now, just over a year later, Keith is getting more recognition - this time, on a national level for saving this woman’s life. On November 15 in Toronto, he received the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) Lifesaving Award. The awards are an annual event that publicly recognizes and celebrates incredible lifesaving acts.
“Recognition is appreciated but not needed,” Keith said. “I would give my life for a complete stranger.”
But Keith wasn’t alone is receiving this lifesaving award. Fellow NB Power employee, Trevor Munn, who works in Marysville, Fredericton, also took home this prestigious award in Toronto.
At an annual barbeque for his office’s Joint Health and Safety Committee, Trevor noticed something was off with one of his co-workers. They were choking. Without hesitating, he wrapped his arms around his co-worker and thrust his arms just under their ribs to help dislodge the food in their throat. After a few minutes of this, the food was out and his co-worker saved.
We’re proud of these employees for going above and beyond to help those in need around them.
November 6 2017, 15:27 PM
The warm weather that we have experienced in the summer and into fall can easily lull one into a sense of complacency – but we all know what is coming our way.
That is why at NB Power, even on blue sky fall days that have set record temperatures, we are working hard to prepare for the winter days ahead. Just as we prepare for the inevitable tough weather events to come, there are many things that you, our customers, can do to be better prepared.
The ice storm of January 2017 was a remarkable event for our province. It was the single biggest weather event that NB Power has experienced in our nearly 100 year history. It cost more than $30 million and resulted in 600 broken poles, requiring 150 new transformers and 52 kilometres of new distribution lines. At its peak, 133,000 customers were without electricity.
Since this event we have been doing engineering work to strengthen our systems in the Acadian Peninsula and other more vulnerable areas of the province.
In the summer, we put more effort into tree maintenance and have been doing more weather modelling to better prepare for the winter ahead.
Our power lines are built to meet or exceed national standards for the construction of overhead lines. Many are built to an even higher standard, especially along our coastlines. These standards include weather impact criteria such as ice build-up and wind force based on decades of weather data specific to each region of the country.
But we also know that we are witnessing a new weather reality in our Province, and NB Power will improve and invest in your grid to ensure it will be able to withstand larger ice loads and stronger winds so that we can deliver power safely and reliably to you.
We have dedicated the week of Nov. 6-10 as Storm Preparation Week and will be doing a number of outreach programs with our colleagues at the N.B. Emergency Measures Organization, but obviously being diligent and ready for bad weather is a year-round endeavor for us and many of our partners. Last summer for example, lightning and heavy wind events posed particular challenges for our teams and customers in several areas of the province.
There are a number of things you can do to be better prepared. Check the service entrance to your home to make sure there are no trees near it which could result in damage to it in heavy winds. Make sure we have your current contact information. Always have a corded phone in your house or a fully charged cell phone. If you have medical equipment that required power to operate, make sure we know about it.
Have an emergency kit ready with a flashlight, first aid kit, cash, and battery powered radio to stay informed of restoration efforts or other important information.
Visit our web site to learn more about storm preparedness and obtain tips on other ways you can be better prepared.
As we move ever closer to winter, I want to personally thank you, our customers, for your patience, support and perseverance as we learn, understand and prepare for the impact of future storms.
We will always work hard to improve reliability and strengthen our distribution systems and we thank you for working with us as we move forward to meet the challenges in the months ahead.
Above all, your safety and comfort is vitally important to us – as is your trust. We will continue to work towards improvements each and every day to maintain that trust.