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
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!
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John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy