How well do you understand your company’s energy consumption and when your business is using the most energy and, alternatively, when it’s least active? A follow-up related question: as a business owner, are you aware of time-of- use (TOU) pricing and how it specifically applies to your company?
The cost of electricity in Ontario varies depending on when you use it. Rates are altered depending on the time of day, the day of the week and even the season of the year. That means making small changes and adjustments to your TOU can make a big difference in your business’ electricity bill.
When demand is low, less expensive energy sources of electricity are used, and likewise, when demand rises, more expensive forms of electricity production are called upon. Therefore, the province’s energy users are rewarded with reduced prices for using energy during low-demand periods.
Off-peak pricing can be nearly half the cost of on-peak pricing and companies can realize dramatic savings by adjusting usage habits accordingly.
Every six months, the Ontario Energy Board reviews energy prices and forecasts how much it will cost to supply consumers with electricity.
Winter TOU hours came into effect on November 1, 2016 and will run until April 30, 2017. The lowest rates tend to be at night, on weekends and over statutory holidays.
The best way to streamline your company’s energy use is to have a thorough understanding of its energy consumption. It is vital to understand when you are using the most energy and/or what equipment is using the highest amounts of energy in order to make effective adjustments.
If you are just beginning to explore your company’s energy use, it is best to establish a baseline. Sort through your utility bills, chart monthly demand and consumption. By having a more complete understanding of when and how your energy is being used, you will be able to identify and eliminate possible waste.
It is also important to think about how to engage your company’s employees in energy conservation efforts. Encourage using sleep or standby options on devices and turning equipment off when not in use.
One additional significant factor as it relates to energy costs pertains to your heating and cooling systems. It is always best to minimize heating and cooling in unused areas. Check the condition of seals and insulation and reduce temperature set points whenever the building is unoccupied.
Lighting systems can also be optimized by taking advantage of as much natural lighting as possible. This way you can reduce reliance on energy-draining light fixtures.
Use light coloured paint in order to reduce the need for additional lighting. Take advantage of LED bulbs and keep outdoor lighting to a minimum with sensors or timed switches. And, if you are looking to replace or install new fixtures, you may want to consider high efficiency T5 or T8 fixtures options.
All-in- all, there are a number of small adjustments that can have a huge impact on your company’s electricity costs, and in a province with sky-high energy prices, savings on your next utility bill will certainly come as a sigh of relief.