July 31, 2006

Ontario extends conservation funding to local distribution companies

The Ontario government is making an additional $400 million available to local distribution companies (LDCs) for conservation programs for a three-year period. Energy Minister Dwight Duncan recently directed the Ontario Power Authority to invest the additional funding, bringing the total available to LDCs for conservation initiatives to more than $550 million and supporting the government's target of 6,300 megawatts (MW) of conservation by 2025.

The new funding will support a wide range of industrial, commercial and residential programs, such as energy audits, load shifting to reduce peak demand, farm energy efficiency initiatives, promotion of Energy Star-compliant appliances, replacement of incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights, and implementation of energy-efficient LED traffic lighting for municipalities. It will also provide the opportunity to expand successful pilot programs to other parts of Ontario.

LDCs are a key delivery agent of conservation programs across Ontario because of their close relationship with their customers and their ability to respond to local needs. In May 2004, Duncan asked LDCs to develop and deliver conservation programs for their customers. Approval by the Ontario Energy Board of $163 million in funding made it possible for the LDCs to invest in conservation and demand management initiatives over a three-year period ending on September 30, 2007. Using these funds, LDCs have implemented or planned more than 500 conservation programs across the province.

Examples include: Toronto Hydro's Keep Cool air conditioner retirement program and the peakSAVER program, which helps customers lower their air conditioner use during periods of peak demand; Hydro Ottawa's Fridge Bounty program to retire older, inefficient refrigerators and freezers; Powersteam's Cool Shops program for small business, part of its plan to reduce peak load demand in Markham by 5% in three years; and Orillia Power's Dollars to Sense program for industrial clients.

Charlie Macaluso, president and CEO of the Electricity Distributors Association, commended the government's expanded funding to support the delivery of conservation and demand management programs. "We're proud to announce that, by 2007, our members will have delivered over 500 such programs," he stated.

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