Horizon Utilities launches major energy conservation program to help customers reduce electricity usage and earn a credit on their hydro bill


    HAMILTON, ON, June 14 /CNW/ - Horizon Utilities, with support from the
Ontario Power Authority, today launched the SUMMER SAVINGS - 10% Credit
program, an initiative that will encourage residential customers to conserve
electricity, save money and help the environment.
    Under the Summer Savings - 10% Credit program, eligible home owners who
reduce their energy use by 10% during July and August compared to the same
months last year and normalized for weather differences, will receive a 10%
credit on a future hydro bill. There is no paperwork to fill out. Eligible
Horizon residential customers are automatically enrolled in the program.
    Details of the program were announced today at the Hamilton Farmer's
Market where representatives of Horizon Utilities, accompanied by Peter Love,
Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer, and Councillor Bob Bratina,
handed out free, energy-efficient, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), a
re-usable market tote bag and energy conservation tips to launch the
initiative and promote energy conservation.
    "By participating in the Summer Savings program, Horizon customers will
play an important role in reducing peak electricity demand over the critical
summer months when hot, humid weather puts a severe strain on the province's
electricity system," said Eileen Campbell, Vice-President, Customer Services,
Horizon Utilities.
    "We want as many customers as possible to achieve the 10% reduction goal
because the energy savings and environmental benefits are significant. For
example, if only 20% of Horizon's eligible customers in Hamilton and
St. Catharines achieve the goal, well over six million kilowatt hours (kWh)
will be saved, enough to power 675 homes for a year. On the environment side,
this represents a monthly reduction in greenhouse gas of over 4.3 million
pounds of CO(2)," added Campbell. "That is like taking 375 cars off the road
for a month."
    "We now use more electricity in the summer than during the winter, so
programs like Summer Savings really make sense," said Love. "Turning off
lights, increasing the temperature in your house by a few degrees, using fewer
appliances, it's quite easy to save 10% on your electricity consumption. Not
only does it save money, it's also good for the environment."
    To help consumers get started on reducing their energy consumption,
Horizon Utilities offers the following top ten tips for energy conservation
this summer:TOP TEN TIPS FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION THIS SUMMER

    1.  Central air conditioning can account for up to 50% of your summer
        electricity bill, so try to use it only when necessary to remain
        comfortable.

    2.  If you must use air conditioning, use a programmable thermostat and
        set it at 25 degrees Celsius or higher.

    3.  Turn off lights and keep blinds drawn during hot summer days.

    4.  Turn off air conditioning at night and open the windows.

    5.  Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent
        bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs for outdoor or dimmer use are now
        available.

    6.  Put outdoor lights on timers or motion sensors.

    7.  Computer equipment and home entertainment units generate a lot of
        heat and use electricity even when they are turned off and in standby
        mode. To avoid this, plug them into a power bar and turn off when not
        in use.

    8.  Dry clothes outdoors. They smell wonderful!

    9.  Avoid heating your pool by using a solar blanket.

    10. Install a timer and set it to only run your pool pump on off-peak
        hours.To be eligible for the Summer Savings - 10% Credit program, residential
customers must have lived in their home for more than twelve months, not have
had an estimated account last summer or this summer, and not be moving prior
to September 1, 2007. For full terms, conditions and eligibility requirements,
visit www.everykilowattcounts.ca or www.horizonutilities.com.
    The Summer Savings program is one of several province-wide energy
conservation initiatives that will be promoted this summer by Horizon
Utilities with the support from the Ontario Power Authority. These initiatives
include the Great Refrigerator Roundup which encourages customers to take
advantage of the opportunity to dispose of their old, energy-guzzling,
secondary refrigerators. Last summer Horizon Utilities took part in the pilot
for the refrigerator retirement program and recycled more than 1,400 fridges
from Hamilton and St. Catharines in an environmentally friendly manner, for a
savings of almost 900,000 kilowatts.
    "These programs represent the largest coordinated effort Ontario has ever
made to encourage consumers to use less electricity," said Love. "As Ontario
moves toward re-building its electricity infrastructure, the conservation
initiatives of each resident maintain and enhance the sustainability of our
current power generation and distribution system."
    Horizon customers will be receiving information in their bills about the
Summer Savings Program, including tips on how to reduce their energy use and
qualify for the credit. Customers can access program details and more energy
conservation tips at www.horizonutilities.com or www.everykilowattcounts.ca.

    About Horizon Utilities Corporation
    -----------------------------------
    Horizon Utilities Corporation is the third largest municipally owned
electricity distribution company in Ontario and provides electricity and
related utility services to over 231,000 residential and commercial customers
in Hamilton and St. Catharines. Horizon's 350 employees are committed to
delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, providing unparalleled
customer value, and helping to create a culture of energy conservation in
Ontario.
    Horizon Utilities Corporation is proud to be a founding member of
powerWISE(R), a brand created to promote energy conservation and reduce the
demand for electricity in Ontario. powerWISE(R) is a joint initiative of the
Ontario government and six of Ontario's largest electricity distribution
companies. For more information, visit: http://www.hhorizonuutilities.com/ and
www.powerwise.ca.

    About the Ontario Power Authority
    ---------------------------------
    In pursuit of its mandate of ensuring an adequate, long-term supply of
electricity for Ontario, the OPA creates and implements conservation and
demand management programs, ensure adequate investment in new supply
infrastructure, performs long-term electricity supply planning, and
facilitates the development of a more sustainable and competitive electricity
system.Backgrounder

                           Summer Savings Program

    -   Horizon Utilities, with support from the Ontario Power Authority,
        has launched Summer Savings, a program to reduce summer electricity
        consumption by ten per cent among homeowners within Horizon's service
        areas of the City of Hamilton and the City of St.Catharines.

    -   Due primarily to the use of air conditioners, summer is now the
        peak season for electricity usage. In recent years, the heavy use of
        air conditioners during hot, humid weather, combined with normal
        demand for electricity, has put a severe strain on the province's
        electricity system. By encouraging residential customers to conserve
        electricity it helps take some of the strain off the system, reducing
        the threat of brown outs and rolling blackouts.

    -   The Summer Savings program is designed to encourage and reinforce
        wise and responsible use of electricity because conservation benefits
        all Ontarians. Reduced energy use is good for the environment because
        it lowers the demand for generation of electricity from facilities
        that have an impact on the environment, particularly coal-fired
        generation plants.

    -   Eligible residential customers who successfully reduce their
        electricity consumption by ten per cent between July 1 and August 31,
        as compared to the same period last summer, will receive a 10% credit
        on a future electricity bill.

    -   Horizon realizes that differences in temperature from summer to
        summer can have a significant impact on a residential customer's
        electricity bill due primarily to how much more or less air
        conditioning that was used. So in order to have a fair comparison for
        homeowners making the effort to reduce their energy use this summer
        by 10% or more compared to last summer, consumption will be adjusted,
        taking fluctuations in weather into account, in order to reflect an
        average summer.

    -   Residential customers are automatically enrolled in the program as
        long as they fit the following criteria to be eligible:

        -   A residential customer.
        -   The customer must have an active 12-month billing history at
            their current address as of July 1, 2007.
        -   The customer must have an active account at the same premises
            for the full program season (from July 1 to August 31, 2007)
        -   The customer's bill has not been estimated over the past year.

    -   Customers will receive a bill insert with information on the Summer
        Savings program and tips on how they reach their ten percent goal.
        Energy conservation tips can also be found on Horizon's website,
        www.horizonutilities.com or at www.everykilowattcounts.com.

    -   Summer Savings is one several Horizon Utilities' energy
        conservation initiatives with support from the Ontario Power
        Authority:

        -   The Great Refrigerator Roundup - You will be hearing a lot more
            from Horizon about this program in the weeks ahead.  We will be
            encouraging our customers to take advantage of the opportunity to
            dispose of their energy inefficient, secondary refrigerators in
            an environmentally friendly way.  Complete program details can be
            found on the Ontario Power Authority's website:
            www.everykilowattcounts.com

        -   The peaksaver(TM) Program allows qualified customers who reside
            in areas where electricity usage is higher in summer than in
            winter to have the central air conditioner's electricity usage
            briefly reduced during critical peak times which are typically
            weekday afternoons during the hottest days of the summer but
            never on holidays or weekends.

        -   Cool Savings Rebate: Rebates are offered to residents who
            replace old air conditioning systems with ENERGY STAR - qualified
            models, on tune-ups for existing air conditioning systems and
            installations of programmable thermostats by program-registered
            technicians. Participating heating and cooling contractors as
            well as complete program details can be found on the Ontario
            Power Authority's website: www.everykilowattcounts.com.

    -   During 2006, Horizon Utilities' various energy conservation programs
        achieved savings of more than 29 million kilowatt hours (kWh), enough
        electricity to power more than 3,300 homes.
For further information: Horizon Utilities, Sandy Manners, Director,
Corporate Communications, Tel: (905) 317-4707, Cell: (905) 308-1473,
sandy.manners@horizonutilities.com