Super power-saving tips
If you are a customer of an electricity utility and in a low-income home, you may qualify for a reduction on your electricity bill through the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP).
The OESP will reduce the cost of your household electricity by applying a monthly credit directly to your bill. The amount of the credit you receive depends on how many people live in your home and your combined household income.
For example, a home with four occupants and an annual income of $37,000 will receive a credit of $34 on each bill.
If your home is electrically heated, or you rely on medical devices requiring a lot of electricity, OESP offers a higher level of assistance.
Gather up the following: Your electricity bill, birthdates and names of all residents in your home as registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, social insurance numbers, individual tax numbers, or temporary taxation numbers for resi-dents over the age of 16. Then visit OntarioElectricitySupport.ca. Complete the online application (you will see it on the home page). Print and sign the consent form and mail it to the address provided on the website. You will be notified of eligibility after your application and signed consent form have been reviewed.
If eligible, the credit will appear directly on your electricity bill in about six to eight weeks from the date of approval.
You will receive OESP for two years before having to reapply. Please note: If you have not filed an income tax return recently, or if your situation has changed since you last filed, you can apply for OESP through a designated agency listed on the website. You will need to bring all of the documents listed in Step 1, plus proof of your household income.
When you use less electricity, you’ll save money on your bill.
You can start today. Many conservation ideas are free, and just mean changing some habits. Others involve home improvements, but will pay off over the long term.
Start by following three general rules:
(1) Go off-peak. Use energy at times when electricity prices are lower.
(2) Evict your phantoms. Many devices – TVs, computers, cell phone chargers – draw “phantom power,” meaning they use electricity unless they’re unplugged. If you plug these into a power bar with a switch, you can turn them off fully when not in use.
(3) Invest in efficiency. Switch to LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs, and look for Energy Star® appliances for your home.
Think about lighting when you decorate. Lighter colours help make a room brighter.
Use task lighting and dimmer switches to apply the right amount of lighting where you need it. Turn lights off when you leave a room. Install a motion sensor that turns outside lights on and off automatically.
Refrigerators/Freezers Set the temperature no lower than the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check your refrigerator door’s seal by closing it on a $5 bill. If the bill is held tightly in place, the seal is OK. If not, the door should be adjusted or the seal replaced.
Clean your refrigerator’s coils and air intake grill as directed in your manufacturer’s user guide.
Keep refrigerators and freezers out of direct sunlight, and allow space on all sides to allow heat to escape (see manufacturer’s recommendations).
Defrost manual freezers before they build up more than six millimetres of frost.
Don’t keep that old, inefficient refrigerator (or freezer) running in the basement for occasional refreshments. It could cost you $150 or more per year in electricity.
Stove/Oven Use an electric kettle to boil water instead of your stove.
Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator (unless the label says otherwise).
If you put aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven to catch drippings, make sure the foil does not block any of the oven’s circulation holes.
Dishwasher Clean drains and filters regularly to ensure efficient operation. Laundry Match the water to the size of the load. Run full loads when possible. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water. Approximately 85-90 per cent of the energy used by washing machines is for heating the water.
Check home foundation, walls, windows, roof, plumbing, tubs and sinks for water leaks. If you find a leak or a spill, dry the area and fix the leak.
Check window sills regularly for condensation or moisture, particularly during the cold months. If found, act quickly to dry the wet surface.
Turn on an exhaust fan or open a window when showering or cooking. Let the fan run for a few minutes after you are finished.
Check clothes dryer, bathroom and kitchen fans, stoves, and oil or propane heaters to be sure they are vented outside.
Keep your home warm and
ensure good air circulation.
Rooms or areas that become cold can encourage condensation to form and surrounding materials to become damp and mouldy.
Keep furniture and other belongings away from exterior walls to allow warm air to cir culate.
Remove items that may cause mould.
Reduce the amount of stored materials, especially in the basement and closets.
Throw out wet and badly damaged or musty smelling items.
Do not store firewood inside the home.
Remove carpets in the bathroom and basement that are damp.
Avoid storing items in cardboard boxes on basement floors.