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FortisBC reminds customers that energy use can spike as temperatures drop
Oct 3, 2022
Customers can prepare for colder weather by taking on some simple energy saving tips and tricks
Surrey, B.C.—October 3, 2022: In advance of Energy Efficiency Day on October 5, FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. (collectively, FortisBC), is reminding customers to prepare for colder weather by monitoring their energy use and familiarizing themselves with steps they can take to conserve energy, lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and save money on their monthly energy bill.
“The winter heating season is when our customers’ energy bills tend to spike,” said Alicia Hearn, program manager, conservation and energy management, FortisBC. “There are many low and no-cost ways to save energy and reduce emissions that can be quick to implement yet save energy all year long.”
For most British Columbians, space heating accounts for approximately 60 per cent of the total household energy use. This typically increases in the winter months when furnaces, baseboard heating and other heating equipment are used more frequently. Heat loss is money loss, so here are some tips to keep that heat inside the home:
- Caulking windows and weather-stripping doors to prevent drafts.
- Sealing gaps and cracks in exterior walls to help prevent heat from getting out.
- Installing a programmable thermostat to maintain temperatures throughout the day.
- Turning down the heat in unused rooms.
- Having appliances, such as furnaces, serviced by a licensed contractor to ensure they are running safely and efficiently.
FortisBC also recommends that customers monitor their home’s energy use by using their FortisBC Account Online. Through their account, customers can access a tool, My Energy Use, which by way of completing a home assessment will provide them with a customized energy-savings action plan. Income qualified customers can also apply for a free Energy Saving Kit or Energy Conservation Assistance program to help them lower their energy use.
For those looking to take the next step and invest in energy efficient upgrades, FortisBC offers rebates on insulation and high-efficiency natural gas and electric appliances and equipment so customers can continue to see energy savings year-over-year. To ensure the safest installation and that energy savings are realized, the upgrades require installation by a qualified contractor to qualify for rebate programs. FortisBC maintains a list of natural gas and electric contractors that have appropriate licenses and are familiar with FortisBC programs.
Natural gas customers who want to reduce their household emissions even further can opt into FortisBC’s Renewable Natural Gas1 (RNG) program, which allows them to designate up to 100 per cent of their natural gas use as RNG. RNG is a low-carbon gas derived from organic waste, which can seamlessly replace conventional natural gas and reduce GHG emissions without swapping out home appliances or heating systems.
Investing in conservation and energy efficiency programs is one of the ways FortisBC is helping customers reduce household GHG emissions in support of the province’s climate action goals. Last year, FortisBC invested close to $120 million in conservation and energy efficiency programs, with approximately $54 million invested into programs for residential customers. In addition to individuals getting cash back through rebates and incentives, collectively the customers who made energy efficient upgrades are expected to avoid an estimated $3.8 million in energy costs each year.
More importantly, participation in these rebate programs is contributing to the reduction of GHG emissions. Over the life of natural gas and electricity-saving measures our customers installed in 2021, they will collectively decrease emissions by an estimated 750,000 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent to removing almost 18,000 gas-powered cars—each with a lifespan of 12 years—from the road permanently.
As British Columbians continue to experience an increase in cost of living, FortisBC is here to support their customers in their efforts to manage their energy use and bills.
- As a regulated utility, FortisBC seeks permission from the BC Utilities Commission for costs associated with its energy efficiency and conservation programs, also known as demand side management (DSM) programs and reports annually on its results. These reports are publically available and can be found here:
1 Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).
About FortisBC Energy Inc.
FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC, a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, Renewable Natural Gas and propane. FortisBC employs approximately 2,630 British Columbians and serves more than 1.2 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,304 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 50,493 kilometres of gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. use the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information on FortisBC, visit www.fortisbc.com. For further information on Fortis Inc., visit fortisinc.com.