April 17, 2006

New conservation incentives help soften electricity price hike blow

Ontario Energy Minister Donna Cansfield and chief energy conservation officer Peter Love sought to soften the blow of sharp electricity price hikes announced last week with a new incentive program to help Ontario residents conserve energy. Cool Savings, the first component of the "Every Kilowatt Counts" campaign, will be in effect as of April 21. It will offer a $500 rebate to consumers who replace an inefficient central air conditioner with a new EnergyStar(r)-qualified system. There is also a $50 rebate for those who have their central air conditioning system tuned up by a registered participating contractor, and a $75 rebate on the supply and installation of a programmable thermostat.

Cansfield and Love said the Every Kilowatt Counts campaign will give Ontarians the tools they need to make cost-effective energy decisions.

"It's cheaper to save a kilowatt than to generate a kilowatt," Cansfield said. "Conservation is an important component of our energy plan, and this program will help reduce peak electrical demand and save energy over the hot summer months, but more importantly save people money."

"Our action list is extensive. Education, incentives, and collaboration are the keys to success," Love said.

Other forthcoming elements of the Every Kilowatt Counts program include a province-wide educational and incentive program, to be launched in late April, and a refrigerator retirement program, targeted at removing old, outdated and inefficient refrigerators (the infamous "beer fridge"), slated to begin later this spring. Reaching 4.3 million households, the education program will show citizens what they can do to help create a culture of conservation in the province.

To undertake the Cool Savings program, the Conservation Bureau, a division of the Ontario Power Authority, has formed a three-year partnership with the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) to design a program that will help reduce peak demand for electricity this summer and reduce overall demand during cooling seasons for years to come.

The Conservation Bureau was established in 2005 to develop, co-ordinate and stimulate electricity conservation and demand management by planning, designing and implementing comprehensive programs that foster a culture of conservation across the province. To date, it has formed partnerships with 31 organizations, among them the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA); the Clean Air Partnership (CAP); Green$aver; London Hydro; the Ontario Energy Association (OEA); Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA); Ontario Hospitals Association (OHA); Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA); the Pembina Institute; Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC); and Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

More information is available on the Bureau's Web site, www.conservationbureau.on.ca www.energy.gov.on.ca.

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