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Deer Lake is realizing energy savings through Take Charge programs

Peter Upshall of Newfoundland Power addresses a group of business people and municipal leaders during an energy forum in Corner Brook on Wednesday.
Peter Upshall of Newfoundland Power addresses a group of business people and municipal leaders during an energy forum in Corner Brook on Wednesday. - Diane Crocker/The Western Star

With a rise in electricity rates on the horizon and the impacts of Muskrat Falls still an unknown, reducing electricity costs is just as important for municipalities and businesses as it is for homeowners.

That’s why Junior Pinksen said the Town of Deer Lake is being proactive as it deals with its energy costs.

Pinksen, director of the town’s recreation department, was one of 35 business people and municipal leaders who attended a business energy forum hosted by Newfoundland Power at its Corner Brook office on Wednesday.

Over the last three years the town has availed of rebate programs available through the Take Charge program offered by Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Three years ago it changed the heat source at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex from propane to electric and installed three ice batteries. Earlier this year it replaced the incandescent light fixtures in the arena and pool areas of the centre with LED fixtures.

“LED is the way to go,” said Pinksen. “It was an investment for us.”

He said the town knew it had to replace the fixtures and felt it was just as well to be proactive by putting the LED fixtures in.

“When the rates go up the cost savings (from making the change) will offset each other.”

He said the town is already seeing a benefit from the changes and will now look to making upgrades in other areas of the arena — in the dressing rooms, lobby and the bowling alley.

“We want to make sure that we have a total LED project.”

And Pinksen is confident the town will be doing the same in its other facilities.

He said he attended the session to see if there are any new ideas or projects out there that the town could utilize.

One thing he and some others at the session were interested in was LED street lights.

Newfoundland Power says that’s still a bit of an unknown and it is studying the technology before its moves ahead with offering any program around it.

Peter Upshall is the energy management engineer with Newfoundland Power. He said the biggest barrier for businesses to making changes that would result in better energy efficiency is the upfront cost.

That’s why the rebate programs offered through Take Charge exist.

The session in Corner Brook was about reaching out to the community to start a discussion and let people know the utility is there to help with the process.

He said there is a lot of interest in the program on the west coast, which he described as being an environmentally conscious area.

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