December 12, 2014 - Energy Manager has learned Efficiency New Brunswick will cease to exist as a separate entity and officially become part of NB Power as of January 1, 2015.
By Anthony Capkun
EfficiencyNB was established as a New Brunswick Crown Corporation in November 2005 with the mission of offering “sound advice and practical solutions to help New Brunswickers use energy more efficiently, make better energy choices, manage energy expenses and lessen the impact of energy use on the environment”.
“All staff and programs will become part of a new Efficiency Services unit of our Customer Service division; however, the staff will physically remain in their offices in Saint John, where it is currently operating,” explained NB Power’s Marie-Andrée Bolduc.
Energy and mines minister Donald Arseneault said the government is moving toward a ratepayer-based funding model with oversight provided by the Energy & Utilities Board. This model aims to lessen the burden on taxpayers, provide energy savings for electrical ratepayers and support the government’s goal “to ensure energy efficiency programs meet the needs of all customers and the utility over the long term”.
“We are excited to have the expertise and knowledge of EfficiencyNB’s staff join NB Power. We’ve been working closely with Efficiency New Brunswick for the past two years as we continue to develop our Smart Grid with Siemens Canada and implement our strategy to help customers reduce and shift their demand for electricity. Together, we launched a 3-Year Energy Efficiency Plan in August,” said Bolduc.
Energy efficiency programs currently under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency of New Brunswick (EfficiencyNB)—including the Commercial Building Retrofit Program—are being merged with NB Power with the establishment of a new energy efficiency unit within the utility. In addition, NB Power’s Save Twice program, previously delivered by EfficiencyNB, will continue to be offered by the utility.
“By combining Efficiency’s programming with our smart grid developments, NB Power will be joining a select group of North American utility leaders who are working with customers to reduce their energy usage and shift it to times of day when it’s both cheaper and more environmentally friendly,” added Bolduc.
The government says it will also continue to help low-income households through funding of the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program.
The Government of New Brunswick says it remains committed to reinstating the home energy retrofit program to reduce energy use and lower costs for consumers (with a focus on helping low-income New Brunswickers), and to create jobs in the construction industry through support for home renovations that improve energy efficiency.
“We want to help New Brunswickers stop paying for electricity they do not need,” said NB Power CEO Gaetan Thomas. “Bringing these programs into NB Power helps us expand our efficiency investments with the goal of helping New Brunswickers reduce and shift their demand for electricity, defer the need for us to build new generation, rely more heavily on renewable energy, and keep customer rates low and stable for the foreseeable future.”
“We intend to offer customers more options to reduce their use of electricity, more choice and convenience in their homes, and will help keep rates stable as there will be very real savings of $1 billion in deferred investments in energy generation,” said Bolduc.
Each year, NB Power will be expected to demonstrate accountability and transparency by exhibiting how its expenditures in energy efficiency are helping the utility maintain low and stable rates.