Despite political headwinds in Ontario related to the cost of electricity, large companies working with Canada’s energy suppliers have been forced to accept rising electricity rates as part of the cost of doing business. Politics aside, the truth is: businesses of all sizes can gain a competitive edge by making their operations more energy efficient.
Time to Change?
The commodity price for electricity changes throughout the day, week and season, providing businesses an opportunity to adjust their energy use to take advantage of lower prices, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which sets electricity rates in Ontario. For example, the IESO says shifting operations to cheaper times of the day, or running operations overnight will help to reduce a business’ energy costs. Lower costs, in turn, mean businesses can be more competitive in their marketplace.
Helping the Planet
It can be argued that Ontario’s power grid is already somewhat environmentally friendly, as it uses no oil or coal products, relying mostly on nuclear and hydro power. Gas provides less than 20% of the province’s power on an average day, according to the IESO. The IESO also supports retrofit programs, allowing businesses to install and benefit from newer, more energy-efficient equipment. Incentives are available for a range of upgrades from high efficiency lighting, ventilation, chillers, motors, fans and more.
Investing in energy efficiency provides businesses with opportunities beyond energy savings. Such savings can help to optimize and increase productivity, reduce maintenance costs and create safer and more welcoming work environments for employees and customers.
A case study helps illustrate the benefits of improving a company’s energy efficiency. For example, 3M Canada, working with London Hydro, set up a comprehensive retrofit program, which included exchanging 1,000 standard light bulbs with energy efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) and upgrading their HVAC system. As well as saving energy, the project saved $1.5 million annually for 3M.
Services Provided by Active Business Services
Active Business Services can help your business with more detailed ways to improve electrical and natural gasefficiency. Our analysts study a company’s historical electricity consumption and load profile. Active Business Services then develops a customized purchasing strategy that best mitigates risk to volatile market prices. Businesses can also manage their overall electricity costs by using load following, a fixed price solution that provides businesses with a set electricity price for a specific term. Working with Canada’s energy suppliers, the load following option also helps protect businesses from price instability.