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Efficiency NS power reports pit homeowner against homeowner

HALIFAX — Thousands of reports will be mailed to Nova Scotia Power customers this week, outlining how their electricity consumption compares to their neighbours’.

The Home Energy Report program being launched by Efficiency Nova Scotia is the first of its kind in Canada.

The first wave of reports will go to 90,000 households — about 1 of 5 power customers in Nova Scotia. Those not selected can request to join the program in June.

Each home gets a customized breakdown of their current and past power usage. Efficiency Nova Scotia also lists the average power consumption for 100 nearby homes of similar size, age, and heating source.

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“This is like getting a bill with some context,” said Hugh Fraser from ENS. “I think a lot of us get bills that we just look at them and think this is a fixed cost that can’t do anything about it. Well the trick is, you can.”

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Below the stats and comparisons, the report offers tips to improve energy efficiency.

“We always turn down our heat at night and when we leave our home,” said Leanne Hachey, one of the ENS employees given an advance copy of her report.  Hachey’s power use is 23 per cent below her local average.

“We have programmable thermostats.  We always try to turn off the lights. We don’t have a deep freeze. We don’t have a DVR so we’re not always plugged in all the time. And it was fantastic for us to see that little measures like that really did make a difference.”

Officials say the program costs roughly $1.5 million to implement each year. That amount has already been included in this year’s $47 million Efficiency Nova Scotia budget, funded primarily by small surcharges on each Nova Scotia Power bill.

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