Terasen Gas celebrates Earth Day by announcing major program to help customers manage costs by reducing energy consumption



    SURREY, BC, April 22 /CNW/ - Terasen Gas today announced that it has
received approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for
its new Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EEC) program to provide customers
with enhanced tools and incentives to manage their natural gas consumption,
reduce their energy costs, and lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
    "This is an important step forward for Terasen Gas as it will not only
help our customers to better manage their energy bills, but the reduced
consumption will also help eliminate approximately 500,000 tonnes of
greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the program which is equivalent to
taking almost four per cent of the vehicles in B.C. off the road," said Randy
Jespersen, Terasen Inc. President and CEO. "The initiatives build on Terasen's
existing and proposed clean energy programs that help mitigate the potential
impacts of climate change, including renewable biogas energy projects,
compressed natural gas vehicles and the development of residential and
commercial energy systems that use renewable and distributed energy sources."
    Starting in summer 2009, Terasen Gas Inc. and Terasen Gas (Vancouver
Island) Inc. customers will benefit from the new $41.5 million program, which
includes rebates and incentives on a number of energy efficient appliances,
equipment and systems. The program will include education and outreach
initiatives that together with the rebates will increase awareness of the
energy efficiency and environmental benefits that can be achieved by using
clean burning natural gas in high efficiency appliances. This will allow
customers the ability to collectively lower their natural gas bills by
approximately $100 million over the life of the program.
    The initiatives laid out in the Terasen Gas program have the potential to
save enough energy over the course of the program to heat almost 100,000
homes.
    For residential customers, the EEC program will offer rebates on a larger
number of appliances including high efficiency fireplaces, water heaters,
dishwashers, and washing machines. Terasen Gas is committed to developing
initiatives and strategies for low income households, and the BCUC approval
allows the company to identify, design and implement the availability of
energy efficiency plans for these customers.
    Commercial customers will receive assistance in retrofitting existing
boilers with higher efficiency equipment, re-commissioning older buildings,
and in the design of highly efficient new construction.
    Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, is abundant, and is a
foundational component of the province's economic and energy mix. Terasen Gas
safely and reliably delivers more than 20 per cent of all the energy consumed
in B.C., which is comparable to the amount of electricity used in the
province.
    "Terasen Gas has a history of efficiency and conservation activities, and
the BCUC approval builds on many of the key actions called for in the
Government of British Columbia's 2007 Energy Plan," said Jespersen.
    Terasen Gas customers will have the opportunity to participate in the
program, and those who do could save up to hundreds of dollars on the purchase
of efficient equipment and on their annual energy costs. For residential
customers, program funding will contribute less than five dollars per year to
the costs which are factored into their annual delivery rates.
    For more information about the EEC program and tips on how to use energy
efficiently, please go to the Terasen Gas website at terasengas.com

    Terasen Gas is mainly composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc. and
Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries
of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in
Canada, serves more than two million gas and electric customers and has total
assets exceeding $11 billion. Its regulated holdings include Terasen Gas and
electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries.
Fortis Inc. owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets across Canada
and in Belize and upper New York State. It also owns hotels and commercial
real estate in Canada. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be
accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com

    Background

    Natural gas plays a significant role in meeting the residential and
commercial energy demands of British Columbians. Terasen Gas delivers more
than 20 per cent of the total energy consumed in the province and we are
committed to helping British Columbians make the most of the province's clean,
abundant energy supply by offering incentives to help customers save energy,
lower their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved $41,495,000 for
Terasen Gas' Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EEC) program. The money will
be used by Terasen Gas to fund several initiatives such as rebates for the
purchase of higher efficiency appliances, as well as enhance several of our
current energy efficiency initiatives and incentives for both our commercial
and residential customers.
    The Energy Efficiency and Conservation program builds on Terasen Gas'
ongoing energy conservation efforts over the past six years that have helped
our customers reduce their annual consumption by almost one million
gigajoules, save more than $7 million and reduce their greenhouse gas
emissions by 50,000 tonnes to date.

    Benefits for British Columbians

    Starting in summer 2009, Terasen Gas residential and commercial customers
will begin benefiting from the EEC program through access to a wider number of
initiatives; assistance with reducing energy consumption, thereby lowering
customer energy bills; and reducing the individual and societal impacts
associated with energy use.
    We anticipate that, through the program, Terasen Gas customers will be
able to:

    
    -  collectively lower their natural gas bills by about $100 million over
       the life of the program

    -  eliminate more than 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which
       is the equivalent of removing almost four per cent of the vehicles in
       B.C. from our roads

    -  reduce natural gas consumption by 9.9 million gigajoules, which is
       enough energy to heat approximately 100,000 households.
    

    Programs and Initiatives

    Energy Efficiency

    The Energy Efficiency initiative is the major component of the EEC
program. Customers have become attuned to environmental issues, with energy
choice and use at the forefront. There is increased customer and public desire
for finding new ways to manage energy bills, and reducing their environmental
footprints by using less energy. Under the Energy Efficiency initiative,
Terasen Gas residential and commercial customers will be offered expanded
incentives and rebates on a greater number of energy efficient appliances and
equipment for both new construction and retrofit projects.
    For residential customers, the Energy Efficiency initiative includes
incentives to encourage customers to install energy efficient appliances such
as EnerChoice fireplaces, more efficient water heaters, and for customers with
natural gas water heaters, higher efficiency Energy Star(R) dishwashers and
washing machines.
    Commercial customers will receive incentives to offset the cost of
installing condensing and near-condensing boilers, recommissioning older
buildings, efficient domestic hot water heating equipment and designing new
buildings to perform at efficiency levels up to 60 per cent below the Model
National Energy Code for Buildings.

    Residential Fuel Switching

    This initiative will provide assistance to British Columbians who
currently use propane, fuel oil and wood to convert to natural gas. This
initiative will help more British Columbians significantly reduce their
greenhouse gas and other emissions and to take advantage of the province's
abundant natural gas resources.

    Conservation Education and Outreach

    The Terasen Gas EEC program allocates almost $7 million to an extensive
conservation education and outreach initiative to educate British Columbians
about energy issues and conservation. Through the Conservation Education and
Outreach initiative, Terasen Gas will help its customers by highlighting
specific ways they can better manage their existing energy consumption,
focusing on no and low-cost ways to save on their natural gas bills. This
initiative includes outreach activities for all ages, including school
children and post secondary education students in our service regions.

    Joint Initiatives

    We are continuing to work with other B.C. utilities, various levels of
government and community organizations to help all British Columbians have
access to tools that will help them become more energy efficient. This will
include up to $3 million to invest in initiatives aimed at creating targeted
energy-efficiency programs for customers in low income brackets, which will
allow them to save money, reduce consumption and live in healthy, comfortable
homes.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Michael Chisholm, Corporate
Communications Manager, Phone: (604) 592-7801, Email:
Michael.Chisholm@terasengas.com

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