Customers query bills at first energy conservation session
NB Power holding series of meetings in areas hardest hit by December ice storms
NB Power held the first of a series of province-wide information sessions on winter energy conservation in Rothesay Thursday evening, but customers had other questions for the utility.
"If they know exactly how much electricity they're using for instance in their PC or their dryer or their microwave or things like that, then if we can show them exactly how much they're using per hour then maybe they'll use it less or maybe pull the plug out every once in a while," said Bob Scott, NB Power's director of government relations.
The chosen locations for the sessions — Rothesay, St. George, St. Stephen and Grand Falls — are no accident, said Scott.
Residents question bills
They were among the hardest hit by the December ice storms, which left thousands of people in the dark, some for more than a week.
"Part of it was because, obviously, during the winter storm we had people who were without power for short periods of time and some of them longer periods of time, and we felt it was only fair that we talk to those individuals," he said.
However, conserving energy was not the only topic on the minds of Rothesay residents.
"I just find it difficult to understand how [bills] can be so high with a week of power outage," said Bob Perry.
John Gahagan wants to know why his power bill didn't reflect the days when no electricity was used.
"I was away for two weeks on a vacation and a power outage for five days and still have a bill that's about 44 per cent higher than it would have been that same month last year," said Gahagan.
"No washing machines, dryers, anything like that. And it still seems excessively high."
Efficiency 'not new' to NB Power
Gahagan says the answers he received Thursday are the same ones he's heard before: that it was a very cold winter and heat leaves the home quicker in colder temperatures, meaning heaters are on for longer hours.
Scott said "When the temperature goes down, obviously the consumption goes up and its goes up more than the temperature goes down."
The utility is taking over electricity conservation programs for Efficiency NB, which is cancelling its residential program at the end of the month.
"We have been doing a great deal at NB Power already," said Scott.
"Not only have we partnered with Efficiency NB over the past year, but we're also doing, for instance, the LED lighting around the province. So efficiency is not new to NB Power, sometimes people think that it is, but it's definitely not."
The next conservation meetings take place at:
- St. George Place, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.
- Grand Falls Conseil, March 4, 7 p.m.
- St. Stephen Legion, March 11, 7 p.m.