OttawaÂ’s demand for power slowing

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - The president of Hydro Ottawa says consumers are curbing their power use as a way to save money and the environment.

Rosemarie Leclair said that Hydro Ottawa has in the past seen a power-demand growth rate of about 2.5 per cent a year but she said that has declined to about one per cent. She said the slower demand growth is related to increased appliance and home efficiency but also a willingness of residents to use less electricity.

Hydro Ottawa is placing special meters in homes and businesses across the city so that customers will soon be able to track their power consumption more accurately. One of the goals of the Ontario government is to have customers shift consumption to off-peak hours to reduce the amount of power the province has to import and generate using polluting coal-fired power plants.

Leclair was attending an Earth Hour event, which Hydro Ottawa sponsors. The event, dismissed by some environmentalists as a trivial gesture, tries to get people to turn out their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 28. Last year, the first year of the event, Ottawa saw a four-per-cent drop in power demand during the chosen hour.

Ottawa Mayor Larry OÂ’Brien and Gatineau Mayor Marc Bureau stood in the freezing cold outside city hall Thursday while a huge banner proclaiming Earth Hour was dropped from the roof of the building on the Laurier Avenue side.

OÂ’Brien said 18 municipalities took part last year in the event and 200 are involved this year. He said that it was important that CanadaÂ’s capital city support even symbolic events that deal with climate change.


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