Nova Scotia's efficiency non-profit organization is under attack by Nova Scotia's private power utility.
Efficiency is the most cost effective, socially beneficial, and attainable measure to move our electricity system away from fossil fuels and to combat climate change. Efficiency services save Nova Scotians money and make our businesses more competitive. Efficiency costs less than generating electricity; 3 cents to save a kWh and 12 cents to generate a kWh. Efficiency is used instead of burning coal and therefore reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. Efficiency Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization with a mandate to reduce electricity consumption in Nova Scotia, is a model better than any other efficiency promotion agency in Canada.
In June, the Utility and Review Board will determine how much Nova Scotia Power should spend to purchase efficiency services for the next 3 years - either about $40 million/year as Efficiency NS proposes or about $22 million/year as NS Power recommends. This is the first decision under a new system introduced 1 year ago by the Liberal government.
The Ecology Action Centre wants to see efficiency investment increased, not cut. This hearing is about electricity but efficiency also needs to be increased for the non electric sector, more efficient transportation and better public transit, and better energy data collection. Now is the time to be investing in the efficiency industry because now is the time to streamline our energy system, cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce future operation costs.
Impact of NS Power's proposed budget:
NS Power proposal would reduce incentives for insulation/green heating solutions in existing homes by 70%, as well as completely eliminate the lighting upgrade program.
A 70% cut to the residential programming budget, a 20% cut to the commercial programming budget.
A new low-income program for renters will be impossible to fund.
We estimate the $18 million/year difference in funding EfficiencyOne is seeking amounts to less than $2/month or $24/year for the average bill and less than about $1.20/month or $15/year for low income households.
Fast facts about efficiency:
Over 190,000 Nova Scotians benefited from Efficiency NS programs in 2014.
1,200 people are employed full-time by the efficiency industry.
Energy efficiency has reduced Nova Scotia's need for electricity by 6.6% and in 2015, Nova Scotians will save $99,000,000 because of energy efficiency.
In 2014, 15,400 households received free upgrades like energy efficient light bulbs, saving up to $180/year per household, or $15/month.
Since January 2011, 1,300 low income homeowners heating with electricity have had major upgrades, saving over $600/year. However, only half of low-income Nova Scotians are home owners, so Efficiency NS has been doing research to design a program for low-income renters. The program is ready to be tested in 2016, but without the full $40 million, Efficiency NS will not be able to get the program off the ground. Rising power rates hurt low income households most. Efficiency is the best way to reduce that impact. This is a climate justice issue as we transition to a low carbon future.
In 2014, Efficiency NS saved enough electricity to power just under 15,200 homes. Since 2008, they have saved enough electricity to power nearly 78,000 homes.
Over 8,400 small businesses save $10 million/year due to efficiency upgrades, including 760 in 2014 alone.
Efficiency measures have prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 130,000 cars off the road. Efficiency is especially important in Nova Scotia where our electricity system is the fourth most carbon intensive in Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario have higher GHGs/kWh).
Check out these resources about why energy efficiency is important for our fossil fuel free future:
1) Speak at the Utility and Review Board Public Hearing on June 15th about Efficiency One's Application. You must register to speak by 2 pm on June 9th. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact information. In the registration email, inform them that you want to speak at Case M06733, Efficiency One's Application. Even if you don't want to speak, come out to show your support and fill the hearing room on June 15!