Small Adjustments Can Help Reduce Electricity Use and Save on Winter Hydro Bills

Posted on Wednesday January 23, 2019

Local hydro utilities in Waterloo Region are reminding customers that during this extended deep freeze, heating systems including electric baseboard heaters, furnace motors and fans are running more frequently in order to maintain a constant temperature of your home or business. So while no one can predict what Mother Nature will bring this winter, residents and businesses can make small changes now that can go a long way to help lower energy consumption and electricity bills.

Tips to help you reduce your electricity consumption this winter.

  • Turn off lights when not in use, or use timers and motion sensors on lighting to ensure they are only on when needed.
  • Use high-consumption appliances, such as electric dryers, washing machines and dishwashers, during off-peak  hours.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and set it to 20°C (68°F) when you are home, and 18°C (64°F) when you are sleeping or away to reduce heating costs by 20 per cent.
  • Use weather stripping or caulking to seal gaps around windows and doors to keep warm air in and cold air out.
  • Use power bars with integrated timers to reduce phantom power consumption on appliances and electronic equipment when they are not in use.
  • Use ceiling fans on low speed in a clockwise direction to help circulate warm air.
  • Open blinds and curtains on sunny days to let the sun warm rooms naturally, and keep them closed at night to keep cold air out.
  • Change your furnace filter every three months to ensure optimal air circulation so your furnace runs more efficiently .

 Know your appliances

 When it comes to energy consumption, appliance size does not always matter. For example , space heaters are small, but can use a significant amount of electricity. Customers are encouraged to buy energy efficient appliances, ask sales staff to help you compare the most energy efficient appliance for your dollar, and ideally use them during off-peak hours.

Take advantage of off-peak pricing

It's not only what appliance or equipment a customer is using, it's when the appliance or equipment is used that can contribute to increased electricity costs. Residential and small business customers on time-of-use pricing can sign up on line to track electricity usage. By monitoring daily and hourly electricity use, customers can adjust their appliances and behavior to take advantage of off-peak pricing periods. To register your account online, visit your local hydro utility website .

Help is available

Customers who are having difficulty paying a bill, or expect to in the future, are encouraged to contact their hydro utility as soon as possible to discuss payment options, including Equal Payment Plan.

Electricity Support programs are available for eligible customers, including the Ontario Electricity Support Program, which offers a monthly on-bill credit. The Affordability Fund is a program designed to help people who do not qualify for low-income conservation programs, but who are unable to undertake energy efficiency improvements without support. Customer Care representatives are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.