2008 Blackout Day challenge is huge success

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Blackout Day 2008, the lights-off
August 14th commemoration of the cascading 2003 power failure that blacked out
large parts of north-eastern United States and Canada for up to three days -
was a huge success
    "It's taken more than a month for the results from the Blackout Day 2008
Challenge to come in, but it seems a lot of Ontarians in 38 municipalities
found ways to have fun with the lights off," said Caroline Reilly, Director of
the Mississauga-based Blackout Day Group.
    The combined reduction from this year's challenge - launched for the
third year by the City of Woodstock - was equivalent to knocking 27,000 homes
off the Ontario grid that day. That's the same as removing a city the size of

    Aylmer wins percentage reduction but Hamilton wins overall reduction

    Though not every participating municipality was measured and compared,
(IESO was unable to collect data for 13 if them), on strictly percentage
reduction terms, the Town of Aylmer came out on top on both energy saved - 4.8
per cent - and peak demand savings - 7.0 per cent.
    But Hamilton, a much larger city, contributed the largest reduction
    Hamilton's reduction of nearly 321,000 kilowatt-hours - a 2.9 per cent
reduction and a 5.3 per cent peak savings achievement - reflects its
leadership in separately monitoring the city's municipal assets, something
other municipalities are beginning to do. The city achieved a 25 per cent drop
in energy use for municipal assets such as street lighting.
    The electricity savings, estimated by Ontario's Independent Electricity
System Operator (IESO), compared the August 14th usage to other recent week
days with similar weather to create a level playing field. For instance,
straight comparison of this year to last year would not be an accurate
reflection of demand reduction because weather, levels of economic activity
and population growth can affect total provincial consumption. Visit
www.blackoutday.ca/2008results.html for complete results.

    Simple actions can help environment, says Blackout Day partner WWF

    World Wildlife Fund Canada, a partner with Blackout Day Group through its
participation in "The Good Life" program fighting climate change, lauded the
August 14th challenge for demonstrating how simple actions taken by
individuals can collectively help the environment.
    "The Good Life helps participants of groups and events such as Blackout
Day quantify how much global warming pollution they are reducing when they
take various simple but effective actions," said Joanne Adair, a WWF Community
Outreach Co-ordinator.

    Woodstock's Mayor Harding says will challenge again in 2009

    Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding, whose city launched the challenge to
municipalities in 2005 and in partnership with the Blackout Day Group in 2008,
is a strong proponent of energy conservation as one way to reduce Ontario's
need to build expensive power plants. He also supports the use of smart and
interval meters so residential, commercial and industrial users can plan heavy
consumption for that part of the day when electricity use is lowest and
    "By enabling individual residential customers to monitor and measure
their own consumption, they can easily see the savings from shifting usage
patterns," he said. "In the years to come, The Blackout Day Challenge will
deliver a great opportunity to help consumers learn how to use smart meters to
monitor, measure and save on an individual basis. Woodstock will level the
same challenge to Ontario communities in 2009."

    Guelph woman wins Blackout Day's "Get Energy Smart" Sweepstakes

    Blackout Day Group also ran a "Get Energy Smart" sweepstakes on its
website, with a major prize generously provided by General Electric of Canada.
Mickie McVeigh of Guelph won a GE SmartDispense(TM) dishwasher.
    "Thanks again for making my life easier," she said on receiving her
prize. "The dishwasher arrived in perfect condition. "I can't wait to use it."
    With its SmartDispense(TM) reservoir, the GE Profile(TM) dishwasher can
hold the equivalent of a 1.38-liter container of detergent. Fill it up once,
and it calculates the exact amount of water and soap needed for a perfect
wash, every time, for two months.
    In July, the Blackout Day Group launched its new website,
(www.blackoutday.ca). It shows plenty of ways to have fun with the lights out
for individuals, businesses, schools and municipalities. The website also
serves as a virtual meeting place for people to interact and share how they
will take the Blackout Day challenge.
    For instance, so energy conservation doesn't become a burden, the site 
offers ways to dine without cooking and themes for Blackout Day parties that
involve friends and colleagues in ways that spread the word about demand
management as a tool to lower the province's energy usage.


For further information:

For further information: Caroline Reilly, Director, (289) 291-5251 Ext
200, caroline@blackoutday.ca

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