FORT FRANCES—As part of it efforts to enhance transparency in the billing of hydro customers, the Ontario Energy Board has begun to post on its website estimated bills for residential customers of each utility in the province.
And the numbers show residential customers of the Fort Frances Power Corp. have the second-lowest bills in Ontario.
“The concept of the website is that it allows people, no matter where they live in the province of Ontario, to see and compare bills across the board, whether it’s a Hydro One customer in Rainy River or a Toronto Hydro customer in downtown Toronto,” FFPC CEO Jim Kibiuk said Friday.
“They can see the total cost of an electricity bill for a residential customer.
“Province-wide, the average residential electricity bill is $117.5 per month,” added Kibiuk. “In Fort Frances, we’re the second-lowest in the entire province.
“Your equivalent bill for that power consumed would be $100.89—and that’s without the power agreement in it,” he continued. “When you add in the power agreement credit, we become the lowest in the province.
“That’s always been talked about in Fort Frances—that we have the lowest in the province. This exemplifies it.
“It’s a direct reflection on how well our organization—and I attribute our entire organization and staff—how well and how efficient we run to be competitive in the Ontario marketplace,” noted Kibiuk.
“We’re really quite pleased with the residential bills,” he added. “With our mandate to provide a high-quality service at the lowest possible cost, we are achieving that.
“It really reflects well on that.”
The list of each utility’s residential power bill can be found at www.oeb.gov.on.ca
Once at the website, click on “For Consumers,” then “Understanding Your Bill, Rates & Prices,” and finally, “Bill Comparison.”
Kibiuk noted the site should be of interest to anyone who ever wondered how their electricity bills stacked up against others.
“They have a disclaimer. You have to take into account different areas, where different utilities are,” warned Kibiuk. “But if you, as an average residential customer consuming 1,000 kWh a month, want to compare your bill to someone else province-wide, it gives you that chance to see where it’s at.”
It shows not only independent distribution companies but Hydro One, so it should be of interest to power customers in Rainy River District.
Kibiuk added the site should be of interest to those approached by independent companies trying to get them to change their electricity provider.
< *c>Conservation efforts
In other news, Kibiuk noted the FFPC has finished its conversion of town traffic lights to the LED format, and now will be looking at perhaps changing over the pedestrian crosswalk lights in the year ahead.
The traffic light conversion, which cost about $25,000, will bring an expected 75-80 percent reduction in kWh consumption—paying for themselves through the subsequent energy savings to the town at a rate of $9,000 each year.
A recent energy-saving initiative was the conversion of the bulbs used in the light standard at the north-end rink.
“We determined that the standard the town has used are 1,500 watt quartz lights fixtures and we’ve replaced them, as part of our conservation effort, with new 400 watt metal halide lights,” explained Kibiuk.
“What the pilot project is showing, as of right now, is we’ll save the Town of Fort Frances $10,000 over seven years in electricity and maintenance costs,” he added.
“We know the town has been doing a study on its outdoor rinks and deciding what they want to do.
“If they decide that they we will be rebuilding additional outdoor rinks, this may be of value for them to take into account as they go forward,” noted Kibiuk.
He also said results from the energy conservation survey conducted by the FFPC last summer have been tabulated, as well, with some very encouraging results.
“It shows that some of our conservation efforts are definitely paying off,” said Kibiuk.
For instances, at least 50 percent of the respondents were using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CPL) in their homes while 39 percent had started to use LED holiday lights.
The top three energy-efficiency programs respondents say they’re willing to participate in include CPLs, LED lighting, and Energy Star saving appliances.
“This is the kind of stuff I want to take into account when we plan our programs going forward,” said Kibiuk. “Say with the compact fluorescents, we’ve had two good years of pushes on them.
“Last year at the home show, we handed out compact fluorescents and promoted them.
“We’ll do the home show again this year and do the same thing. It really gets the message out to the people,” he stressed.
Kibiuk also noted 88 percent of respondents wanted to continue to see energy-saving tips.
“From my perspective, it tells me that people are aware of the importance of the need for conservation, and are receptive to ideas and tips that will help them with that.”
A total of 1,058 FFPC customers responded to the survey.