Did you know you can help reduce Ontario's reliance on fossil fuels? Saint John NB

Hot summer days lead to increased electricity consumption. Due to widespread use of air conditioning, Ontario residents now use more electricity duri ...

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Did you know you can help reduce Ontario's reliance on fossil fuels?

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(NC)-Hot summer days lead to increased electricity consumption. Due to widespread use of air conditioning, Ontario residents now use more electricity during the hot summer months than at any other time of the year.

Power generating stations across the province work 24 hours a day 365 days a year to supply power for Ontarians' basic needs. These "base-load" generators, like Sir Adam Beck hydro electric station in Niagara Falls and other renewable electricity generators like wind turbines and nuclear generating stations, supply electricity for Ontario's basic power needs.

"As days grow hotter and more air conditioners get turned on, these base-load generators - already working at capacity - aren't enough to meet demand," says Peter Love, Ontario's chief energy conservation officer. "It's during these times that the next line of generating stations, such as natural gas and coal-fired plants like Nanticoke and Lambton are ramped up to allow us to meet the demand for electricity."

During the summer peak, Ontario runs these secondary generating stations full-time as well as importing expensive, often fossil fuel generated, power from other jurisdictions. This significantly increases the cost to Ontario and the environment.

"For the average person, using less is easy," continues Love. "Ontarians don't need to significantly alter their lifestyles to make a difference. It only takes small changes that, if done together, will enable us to conserve a significant amount of electricity."

The following are some suggestions on how to decrease your electricity consumption this summer:

Set your air conditioner to 25 degrees Celsius when you're at home and 28 degrees Celsius when you're away. Many people admit they set their air conditioners too cold, forcing them to put on a sweater. Turning the thermostat up two degrees lessens the strain on the electricity system while maintaining a comfortable temperature.

Have your central air conditioner serviced in the spring, before the hot summer months, to ensure it is operating efficiently. If possible, have your certified technician clean the cooling coil.

If you have an older window air conditioner, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified unit which will run more efficiently.

Install ceiling fans to help circulate cool air throughout your home. Ceiling fan blades should rotate to move the air downward in the summer to help produce a cooling breeze. A cool breeze will allow you to turn up your thermostat to use your air conditioning less and still stay cool.

Close your window blinds (particularly on south and west facing windows) during the day to keep out the sun's hot rays.

More tips and hints on keeping cool and using less electricity this summer are available online at www.everykilowattcounts.com.

-News Canada