Low cost solutions to the energy crunch

Low-cost solutions to the energy crunch As I write this letter, a three-day workshop entitled Yukon Achievable Energy Savings Potential, is being held. This is being driven by Yukon Energy and Yukon Electrical Company Ltd., which have been directed by th

As I write this letter, a three-day workshop entitled Yukon Achievable Energy Savings Potential, is being held.

This is being driven by Yukon Energy and Yukon Electrical Company Ltd., which have been directed by the Yukon Utilities Board to “consult with stakeholders and develop a policy paper with respect to Demand Side Management, that is, energy conservation initiatives.”

I attended a morning meeting to observe what this was all about, in an attempt to represent residential and small-business Yukon electrical consumers.

There were about 30 attendees, with at least three-quarters being representatives from the utilities, or some branch of the government, be it Yukon Energy Corp., Economic Development, Yukon Housing Corp., Energy Solutions Centre, and so forth. Then there are at least three consultants who are devising this computer-elicited potential, who I am certain don’t come cheap.

All these costs will be charged back to ratepayers in some manner.

I happen to be an old-fashioned, practical kind of guy who believes in action (getting things done), not sitting around talking about feeding irrelevant computer-programmed models.

I also heard in the news that Yukon Energy had to burn expensive diesel during the peak times of the day, early morning and dinner-time hours.

Utilities are mandated by their regulator to be prudent for any costs they want to recover from ratepayers. So, if one were to add up all the man hours invested from the various government agencies, the cost of three or more consultants to tell us how we can conserve electricity and save money, as well as the wages of two newly hired Yukon Energy personnel and their new demand-side management office costs, we could have already developed and implemented some off-peak programs to relieve the usage or potential usage of diesel during these high-demand periods of the day.

Yukoners do not need consultants from Outside to tell us that one of our major demands on electrical energy is the heating of water, our hot-water tanks.

I don’t even know if these Outsiders know we use electricity to heat our water, not natural gas, as they likely do wherever they come from.

Yukoners also know that at this time of year we need block or pan heaters for our vehicles.

There is a very simple device, which costs about $25 (one for the hot-water tank and one for the pan heater) that would go a long way for residential customers to do their part in preventing this peak burning of diesel É a simple timer, set not to go on during these peak times when it is logical, of course (many morning commuters would need the pan heater on until they start their car).

If we simply used all this money burnt up for hiring more bureaucrats and consultants, and conducting all these meetings we are holding to justify having energy programs for energy savings, we could have long developed this potential.

Instead of hiring two more bureaucrats, Yukon Energy could have trained and hired three or four part-time workers to go from house to house in each community to educate about and properly install these timers.

At the same time, hot-water blankets, fluorescent light bulbs, switch and plug-in wall fixture insulator kits, etc., could all be installed, and all these costs tracked and documented under residential ratepayers.

Of course, any type of commercial water-heating systems would undergo the same program, only separately tracked and documented for that segment.

The industrial mining companies have to play their part in making such a program of lowering peak-hour consumption work, by ramping down mill production during these peak periods of the day. Most of the mills operate on electric motors, which normally have two or three settings from high gear to low gear. Shifting down during peak hours may affect a bit of mill production, but if the mines want to be connected to our grid, then they must be part of the solution.

If we can get everyone on track here, such a simple concept would not only be very prudent but very practical.

All these relevant costs could be recovered from each ratepayer group at the next rate application.

As an intervener in cost hearings, we would support this as long as it is properly tracked, documented and invoiced to the proper ratepayer group.

What interested parties and the utilities consider to “consult” are obviously two very different worlds.

Roger Rondeau

Utilities Consumers’ Group

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read