Nova Scotia

Help cutting N.S. electricity bills may soon be just a few clicks away

The Nova Scotia agency that manages energy efficiency programs in the province is test driving an online tool that would offer homeowners tailored advice on how to cut their power bills.

Software is being tested that helps users 'begin the energy efficiency journey,' says EnergyX co-founder

EnergyX Solutions co-founder Alex Corneglio (right) gives a demonstration of the company's software while Halifax MP Andy Fillmore looks on. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

Nova Scotians may soon be able to get advice on how to cut their power bills through a piece of software, rather than the in-home audits that are currently recommended.

EfficiencyOne, the Nova Scotia agency tasked with helping Nova Scotians reduce their energy usage, is testing software created by Ontario-based EnergyX Solutions.

Using a computer and billing information from a power utility, homeowners can receive an energy consumption report and specific suggestions on what they can do to lower their power bill.

EnergyX co-founder Nishaant Sangaavi said once a user provides the information, the software goes to work and will help them "begin the energy efficiency journey."

"As they answer questions about their building, AI [artificial intelligence] algorithms will start identifying the most relevant improvements they can make in the building, and at the same time connect them with specific rebates and specific programs that the utilities are offering," he said at a demonstration of the company's platform in Halifax Friday.

EnergyX Solutions co-founder Nishaant Sangaavi says the software is a win-win for Nova Scotia Power customers and the utility. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The software has been available to P.E.I. residents for almost two years, where more than 1,300 Islanders have used it. According to efficiencyPEI, 95 per cent of those who have received efficiency tips have used at least some of them to lower their power bills.

The software is meant to give Nova Scotians an option other than the current detailed in-home audits EfficiencyOne recommends that cost $99 and take two to three hours to complete.

EfficiencyOne is testing the software by using existing energy audits and it expects to wrap that work up in October. The agency will then assess the performance of the online tool before deciding whether to follow P.E.I.'s lead and offer it to Nova Scotians.

'The cheapest energy is energy you do not use'

EnergyX is so confident its software will pass muster, the company is setting up a Halifax office, thanks to a $500,000 loan from the federal government. Sangaavi said he expects the company to grow from six employees to 50 within two to three years.

Sangaavi called the software a win-win for Nova Scotia Power customers and the utility.

"For every dollar that is spent on energy efficiency, you can save up to $4 in avoided generation and transmission costs," he said. "The cheapest energy is energy you do not use."

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