Saturday, August 4, 2007

74 megawatt

A shocking turnaround
We're using less power; thermostats up, lights off

The Hamilton Spectator, (Aug 4, 2007)

The heat is on, but Hamiltonians are less hooked on hydro this summer.

The Hammer has sweltered though 18 days with temperatures above 30 C so far this summer.

In 2006 there were 15 days that hot before Aug. 3.

Despite the heat, Hamilton area energy consumption dropped from a high of 1,223 megawatts in 2006 to this year's peak of 1,149 megawatts, set Thursday.

That 74-megawatt difference is enough to provide electricity to another 50,000 homes.

It also suggests the conservation message is getting through.

"We are noticing this summer, compared to last year, energy conservation and the environment are on people's mind more," said Lisa Pearson, spokesperson for Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator.

The story is the same across the province. Ontario's all-time record for electricity demand was set last year on Aug. 1, when users powered through 27,005 megawatts. That record hasn't been cracked so far.

Even in this week's heat wave, usage peaked at 25,584 megawatts.

Dean Ramacieri used to crank the air conditioning to a chilly 17 C in his southwest Hamilton home.

Today, he leaves it between 23 C and 25 C. He even turns it off as soon as his house cools down.

He credits the August 2003 blackout in Ontario for sparking the change.

"I think it was a wake up sign for a lot of people," he said.

Yesterday, the temperature soared to 33 C, but peak average demand for Ontario was 24,642 megawatts.

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