No relief in sight: energy bills will stay high

Bill Bradley
Northern Life (Sudbury)
July 26, 2005

CanSpec Inspection Services of Sudbury helps the public understand what support there is for conserving energy, from technical to financial help through federal government programs.

CanSpec is holding an open house Thursday, July 28, at 2107 Lasalle Blvd., Suite 306 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“CanSpec is now providing the EnerGuide for Houses energy assessment service across Northern Ontario, with advisers in most major centres. Through its network of advisers, they are providing information to homeowners on how to make positive changes to their homes for real savings in heating costs,” says Fraser Rees, director for CanSpec.

The EnerGuide for Houses starts out with a detailed energy evaluation of a home carried out by a trained adviser.

A blower door test is used to detect air leaks. Then a printed report shows where energy dollars are being spent and what can be done to improve efficiency, say by increasing insulation, caulking around windows or replacing old windows and appliances, says Rees.

An energy rating is given to the house. If efficiency plans are implemented, the house is retested and CanSpec helps homeowners get financial rebates based on the improvements.

“The service has a value of approximately $300, and is subsidized by Natural Resources Canada, with the homeowner paying on average between $175 to $200,” he says.

Conserving energy is worth it, say experts because prices are escalating.

“North Americans will continue to face high prices to heat and cool their homes through to at least 2008,” says Michael Zenker, an analyst with Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a global energy consulting group.

On Monday at an international bankers meeting in Basel, Switzerland, the world’s top bankers says oil prices are expected to remain near $60 a barrel for several years.

In Ontario, energy watchdog Energy Probe says the province is in the worst energy crunch in three years as a heat wave and idled nuclear power plants forced Ontario to buy expensive imported electricity.

“The province has paid 7.9 cents a kilowatt-hour on average to buy power, up from an average of six cents in the first half of the year. Consumers, by comparison, are paying five cents a kilowatt for the first 750 kilowatt hours of power they use each month, and 5.8 cents for the remainder,” Karen Howlett, a business reporter at the Globe and Mail, said last week.

Howlett said Ontario residents paid 53 cents a kilowatt-hour when there was a supply crunch on July 20.

“Consumers are not paying anything like the real cost of power. That is expected to change April 1, 2006 when the Ontario Energy Board unveils its new electricity pricing plan,” says Tom Adams, executive director of Energy Probe.

There is another option. Use less energy.

Natural Resources Canada says that homes that are more than 25 years old have the potential to save an average of 35 percent of their energy use. Homes that are more than 50 years old could achieve even greater savings – an average of 38 percent.

CanSpec says the federal government is putting more money into energy conservation programs for homeowners.

“There have been recent improvements to the overall funding for the Rebate Incentive program for energy retrofits. The biggest change is the inclusion of low-rise residential and assisted housing properties and an increased level of eligibility rebates to homeowners,” says Rees.

“We now see some homeowners receiving $600-$700, or more, when changing their furnace to say an Energy Star rated appliance – that makes sense in lowering your heating costs.”

Visit www.canspecinspection.com or phone 688-8433 for more information.

 

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