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© 2004-2017 John Ford

 
Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Sunday 22 October 2017
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Published Columns: September 2004
Curbing Your Consumption:
Turning an Emergency into an Inconvenience

By John Ford

According to the latest numbers, Ontario did not conserve electricity this summer and the lights stayed on. It has been over a year since the big blackout. Are you prepared for another one? As we get closer to the 2007 promised shutdown of Ontarioís coal generators and our collective consumption rises, the likelihood of another occurrence increases. There are ways you can be more prepared and save energy in normal day-to-day consumption.

I make sure everything I buy runs on 12v or on AA batteries. By standardising on battery sizes and voltage, you ensure that batteries can be shared between items in case you donít have a fresh supply. A car battery can be used with an inexpensive inverter (<$100) to provide emergency power for smaller household voltage appliances. I keep a spare car battery charged at all times. Plugging in these same small appliances rather than larger ones at all other times decreases your consumption and ensures they are in working order for an emergency.

The main items to keep on standby include: flashlight(s), radio, candles. Keep all your blackout or emergency items in the same place so that you can find them. Also handy is a gas barbeque or fueled stove. Donít forget to keep your gas tank filled, a good supply of canned goods, and enough drinking water for a few days always on hand.

Other ways to prepare a long-term strategy include making sure your new gas fireplace works without electricity for cold weather outages. A gas water heater ensures a hot water supply.

The best preparation and long-term strategy is to do your part to help Ontario reduce consumption so that interruptions are less likely!

Ask the Miser
If you would like to see answers here to your questions about energy consumption, email them to questions@oea.dyndns.org

John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business.