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Kingston and Sioux Lookout take top honours in conservation competition

Ottawa — Kingston and Sioux Lookout have taken top honours in the “Count Me In! Community Challenge,” an Ontario-wide energy conservation competition that included 83 municipalities and covered 56 per cent of the population.
 
The winners were announced at the annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) on August 19th. The provincewide Count Me In! Community Challenge was held Friday, August 14th between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., coinciding with the anniversary of the 2003 North American blackout that plunged some 50 million people into darkness. A total of 20,277 individuals pledged to take on 226,472 acts of conservation through the Challenge.
 
The winners of the Count Me In! Community Challenge are: Kingston for electricity consumption reduction (MWh), and Sioux Lookout for pledges per capita.
 
Kingston won “The Woodstock Cup” for achieving a drop of 7.8 per cent in electricity consumption (MWh) during the 12-hour assessment period compared with August 13th. According to the Independent Electricity System Operator, if a drop of 7.8 per cent could be achieved by the entire province, that would be equivalent to taking a city the size of Ottawa off the grid for a day. The name of the award is taken from the City of Woodstock, which organized the “Blackout Day Challenge” for several years.
 
“This is a great example of community leadership combined with people power,” says Ontario Power Authority CEO Colin Andersen. “The opportunity may have been created by the Ontario Power Authority and its partners, but it was made successful by everyone who made a pledge and took action—conservation saves energy, money, and the environment.”
 
“Everyone wins with conservation,” says Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding. “The ‘Count Me In!’ campaign shows Ontarians’ public spirit and willingness to take positive action. I’m naturally proud of my own community’s efforts, but all of the 83 participating municipalities and the 20,277 individuals who made pledges to conserve can take special pride in these results.”
 
If all of Ontario reduced its electricity consumption every day by the same amount as Kingston, it would have prevented the emission of 1.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Ontario plans to be the first jurisdiction in the world to rid itself of coal-fired generation at the end of 2014—the single largest action to fight climate change in North America.
 
Sioux Lookout won the trophy for conservation pledges: 593 individuals made a commitment in a community with a population of 5,183 (11.44 percent). Pledges could be made at the campaign’s interactive website (www.countmeinontario.ca), by toll-free phone, or on hard copy, and were accepted until 8:00 p.m. last Friday.
 
The top 10 standings in each category can be found at www.countmeinontario.ca, along with a list of all the participating communities.
 
“Count Me In! Community Challenge Day” is the final element of an overall spring-summer energy conservation campaign organized by the Ontario Power Authority and its partners. It began with a Leadership Summit on April 23rd, and was followed by Ontario’s second provincewide Energy Conservation Week, May 17th to 23rd. More than 175 conservation-related events were held across the province in conjunction with Energy Conservation Week. When the “Count Me In!” challenge was announced on June 3rd, 19 communities had committed to participate; 83 had officially registered by the time of Challenge Day.