Statement by Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, on Ontario’s new Conservation First framework
Environmental Defence is pleased that Ontario has looked at the solid financial evidence and is taking steps to put energy conservation first, an approach that can save families and businesses money, reduce pollution and create a more stable and sustainable energy system.
The new Conservation First framework gives electrical utilities more flexibility to design conservation programs to help reduce energy waste. Moving forward, conservation efforts for natural gas and electricity will be more coordinated. This is important as most homeowners pay both a gas and an electricity bill and finding ways to maximize savings for each through energy conservation is the most cost-effective way to reduce overall energy costs.
Importantly, the Ontario Energy Board, which makes decisions about investment in new infrastructure, has been directed to take steps to implement the government’s policy of putting conservation first. This move can ensure that before ratepayers are asked to pay for new infrastructure, all cost-effective ways to reduce energy needs are undertaken.
Energy conservation is critical to helping families manage their energy bills. A U.S. study estimated that homeowners could save an average of $1,000 per year if programs were in place to cut energy waste across the country by half. Here in Ontario, a recent report by Blue Green Canada estimated that an ambitious energy conservation plan could create more than 25,000 new jobs in Ontario and increase the province’s GDP by $3.7 billion by 2025.
Today the government also directed the Ontario Power Authority to procure 150 megawatts of combined heat and power (CHP). CHP is an efficient low carbon way of producing power where we need it.
Putting energy conservation first is the best option for our environment and our economy.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
-30-
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 
416-323-9521 ext 258 ; 416-570-2878(cell)
ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca