Letter: On the Diet

Rossland Sustainability Committee recognized the city had a number of homes with electric heating and older homes with little insulation.

To the Editor:

In 2011, the Rossland Sustainability Committee recognized that Rossland had a large number of homes with electric heating and older homes with little insulation.

The committee asked FortisBC to determine what amount of electricity was being used and to help the city’s residents upgrade their homes to become more energy efficient.

As we began defining the program, we looked specifically at electricity use. We researched the amount of electricity that the community used and found that the average use per residential customer for British Columbia was 10,963 kWhs and the average usage for residents in Rossland was 14,924 kWhs, or close to 40 per cent more.

In-depth research was also conducted to determine customers’ barriers to making improvements to their homes.

The outcome resulted in the Rossland Energy Diet. The program was designed to help customers understand how they used energy, provide information about energy efficiency improvements for their homes, and to access the ecoEnergy and LiveSmart BC rebates.

To assist customers who did not have ready funds, the program partnered with Nelson and District Credit Union to provide low interest, long-amortization loans. The Energy Diet was incredibly successful.

To assist households with lower incomes FortisBC PowerSense installed energy efficient lighting and low-flow shower heads at no charge in more than 200 suites and apartments in the Kootenays. It also provided hundreds of energy savings kits to homeowners.

The expanded Kootenay Energy Diet, which was launched in May, provides residents another opportunity to access a low-cost energy assessment along with the installation of energy efficiency products.

Participants can also access the LiveSmart and FortisBC rebates for insulation, heating systems and Energy Star windows and doors. FortisBC is providing free energy assessments and other assistance to low-income households.

The five local credit unions are also offering low-interest, long-amortization loans for those who may choose to finance upgrades for their homes.

We’re thankful to the residents of Rossland who helped make the Rossland Energy Diet such a successful program.

Carol Suhan, MBA PR

manager, PowerSense Service

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