"Count Me In! Community Challenge Day" Winners Announced: Kingston and Sioux Lookout Take Top Honours in Conservation Competition



    OTTAWA, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - 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 percent of the
population.
    The winners were announced at the annual conference of the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) here this morning. 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 percent 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 percent 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.

    
    Quote from Ontario Power Authority Chief Executive Officer Colin
    Andersen:
    

    "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."

    Quote from Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding:

    "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."

    Background

    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.
    "Count Me In!" is part of a broader effort to help Ontario achieve the
most ambitious conservation targets in North America -- the equivalent of
taking one-in-five electricity users off the grid by the end of 2025 -- and to
create a true "culture of conservation."
    Although Challenge Day is over, two contests associated with the "Count
Me In!" campaign continue to August 31st: the Fridge Relic Contest and the
Home PowerSaver Contest. More details about both are available from the
website: www.countmeinontario.ca.
    Ontarians are also encouraged to continue to reduce their electricity use
through conservation and energy efficiency measures and to take advantage of
other features of the website -- it offers ideas on conservation, useful
resources for kids and adults on saving energy and much more. The site will
remain active: registrants can elect to receive ongoing information by e-mail
about conservation information and energy saving incentives.
    The Count Me In! Community Challenge Day is an extension of the Blackout
Day Challenge developed by the City of Woodstock with support from the
Blackout Day Group. Count Me In! was organized by the Ontario Power Authority
in conjunction with Mayor Michael Harding of Woodstock and was supported by
the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Electricity Distributors
Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Hydro One, and the
Independent Electricity System Operator, which assessed the outcome of the
percentage reduction in megawatt consumption (MWh) challenge.





For further information:

For further information: Ontario Power Authority, (416) 969-6307

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