Any BC Hydro customers who would like to cut their hydro costs, and possibly earn a $50 reward, are encouraged to join Team Power Smart by pledging to reduce their home’s electricity use by 10 per cent over a one-year period.
Since the “Reduction Challenge” was launched in 2008, more than 46,000 households have successfully met the challenge and earned a $50 reward, which is given to successful participants. Energy consumption over the course of the year is measured against the household’s consumption over the previous year.
“There are more than 130,000 Team Power Smart members,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Kevin Aquino, adding that there is no limit to the number of people who can take part. The only requirement is that participants need to have been in their current residence for at least a year, so that there is a benchmark to measure against.
“You can track your electricity consumption back for as long as you have been at your residence,” he adds, so those taking part can check to see how they are doing compared with past consumption. And while BC Hydro hopes people will reduce their consumption by 10 per cent, Aquino notes that some people do even better than that.
“Many people use a combination of different energy-saving measures,” he says. BC Hydro suggests that people wanting to see a 10 per cent reduction take three measures: make the switch to Energy Star LED light bulbs, that use at least 75 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting; install a programmable thermostat to manage heating and save 15 per cent in energy costs; and unplug unused electronics or use an advanced power bar to manage standby power, which can account for 10 per cent of home energy use.
“Advanced power bars are usually used for electronic devices that use a lot of power, such as computers,” says Aquino. “They sense when a device isn’t being used and will power it down.”
Other measures that will reduce energy consumption include washing clothes in cold water; hanging laundry up to dry rather than using a dryer; closing up heating vents in unused rooms; replacing or cleaning your furnace filters; sealing up leaks around doors and windows; and switching to energy-saving appliances with the Energy Star label.
To find out more about becoming a Team Power Star member, or to join the challenge, sign in to your online account with BC Hydro (https://www.bchydro.com/) and commit to reducing your household’s energy consumption over the next 365 days.