Level of concern over climate change pushing big jump in spending for environmentally friendly products & services, according to Direct Energy survey

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - More than four in ten residents (42 per cent) of
Alberta and Ontario say they would pay a premium of 10 per cent or more for
products that are environmentally friendly, according to a survey released
today by Direct Energy.
    The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, confirmed that most (61 per cent)
residents of Ontario and Alberta are very concerned about climate change, but
the number who are willing to pay more to do something about it was
    "Even if you assume that some people were saying what they think they are
supposed to say, to have 42 per cent answer that they would pay more out of
their own pockets is quite a remarkable statement about just how seriously we
now take climate change," said Bob Huggard, President, Canadian Operations,
Direct Energy.
    Over 50 per cent of respondents also said they are likely to seek out
environmentally friendly products and services for home improvements.
Fifty-five per cent of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay more
for energy efficient appliances.
    But while many said they would pay more for environmentally friendly
products, most (60 per cent) said that if the government offered rebates it
would influence their decisions on energy efficiency.

    Helping the environment
    Canadians in both provinces say they are starting to conserve energy in
small simple ways. Many have already installed a programmable thermostat
(32 per cent), a low-flow shower head (31 per cent) and compact florescent
light bulbs (24 per cent).
    But when it comes to bigger ticket items they are less likely to have
acted. Installing a solar panel (19 per cent), upgrading to a more efficient
furnace, air conditioner or boiler (13 per cent) and installing new insulation
(11 per cent) are beyond what respondents are willing to invest in.
    In the year ahead, respondents in Ontario and Alberta say they will start
taking additional steps to become more energy efficient:

    -   Shift use of appliances to off-peak hours (69 per cent)
    -   Install high-efficiency light bulbs (82 per cent)
    -   Use automatic thermostat (62 per cent)
    -   Upgrade appliances (42 per cent)

    "What these results tell us is that consumers see the connection between
their actions and climate change," said Mr. Huggard. "Governments and
corporations need to show them there is a solid return to the environment for
these long-term investments in their homes."

    Regional disparity
    The survey also highlighted regional disparities between Ontario and
Alberta on the climate change issue. More Ontarians said they worry about
climate change (67 per cent) than Albertans (52 per cent). Ontarians also
report taking more actions to address climate change (installing a
programmable thermostat and low flow shower head).

    About Direct Energy

    Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related
services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer
relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in
managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and
services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading
integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in Texas, the northeastern
United States and across Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit

    About the survey:

    These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of
Direct Energy from April 24 to May 10, 2007. For the survey, a representative
randomly selected sample of 689 adults was interviewed by telephone in Ontario
and Alberta. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate
to within +/- 3.73 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would
have been had the entire adult population been polled. The margin of error
will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey

For further information:

For further information: Joshua Orzech, Direct Energy, (416) 590-3306,
joshua.orzech@directenergy.com; Melody Gaukel, Ketchum Canada, (416) 544-4906,

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