Terasen Gas' REnEW program graduates ready to help customers become energy

Intensive program produces newly-trained workers for energy efficiency and conservation sector

SURREY, BC, March 29 /CNW/ - Terasen Gas congratulates the inaugural group of graduates from its Residential Energy and Efficiency Works (REnEW) training program. The first two sessions of this intensive training program ran concurrently in Kelowna and Vancouver throughout March, teaching individuals that face barriers to employment the fundamentals of energy efficient technologies and retrofitting.

"We are very encouraged to hear about the positive affect that the program has already had on our first set of graduates," said Doug Stout, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Terasen Gas. "They're leaving the program with new knowledge, skills, and a renewed sense of self-confidence that will help them develop successful careers in this high-growth industry.

During the sessions, participants mastered the fundamentals of energy conservation and learned how to properly install retrofits. Selected from at-risk applicants by the John Howard Society and Vancouver ACCESS BladeRunners, they are now able to educate customers on energy conservation techniques. They are also qualified to work with contractors that are employed through existing utility retrofitting programs such as BC Hydro's Energy Conservation Assistance Program.

"We recognized the need for people skilled in the growing area of energy efficiency retrofits and were pleased to be able to bring our utility partners and the John Howard Society together in the Okanagan," said Michael Mulcahy, FortisBC's Vice President of Customer and Corporate Services.

"I would like to personally congratulate the individuals who have graduated from this program. I am excited about the fantastic work they will be doing in their communities to advance energy conservation and efficiency," said Lisa Coltart, BC Hydro's Executive Director of Power Smart and Customer Care.

The REnEW program, which is funded by Terasen Gas, FortisBC, and BC Hydro, hopes to build on the success of these first sessions to recruit additional candidates and expand the REnEW program by replicating the courses in B.C. communities where energy efficiency programs already exist. The goal of the program is to support the growing energy efficiency retrofit industry by creating a much-needed pool of skilled workers for this emerging field.

"These individuals pursued the program because they wanted to improve their job prospects as well as their lives," said Shelley Cook, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan. "The change we've seen in this first group has been truly inspirational - they're determined to succeed and they now have the tools to get them to where they want to go in their career."

"I am very excited about the opportunity for aboriginal youth to lead the way in their community through the burgeoning 'green' industry," said John Webster, CEO and President of ACCESS.

Further background on the REnEW program and application information is available by contacting either the John Howard Society at 250-763-1331 or Vancouver ACCESS BladeRunners at 604-688-9116.

About Terasen Gas

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 approximately 2,100,000 gas and electric customers and has total assets exceeding $12 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.

About FortisBC

FortisBC Inc. is an integrated regulated electric utility based in Kelowna, British Columbia. Focused on the safe delivery of reliable and cost-effective electricity, FortisBC serves approximately 159,000 customers directly and indirectly through wholesale utilities in the southern interior of B.C. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants and approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 500 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility 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.

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro is a commercial Crown corporation owned by the Province of British Columbia. BC Hydro is one of North America's leading providers of clean, renewable energy, and the largest electric utility in British Columbia, serving approximately 95 per cent of the province's population and 1.8 million customers. We are responsible for reliably generating between 43,000 and 54,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity. Electricity is delivered to customers through an interconnected system of 18,531 kilometres of transmission lines and 56,780 kilometres of distribution lines.

About the John Howard Society

The John Howard Society of Canada is an organization of provincial and territorial societies comprised of and governed by people whose goal is to understand and respond to social and health related problems with a focus on criminal justice. The John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan (JHSCSO) is a registered charity and an incorporated non-profit association that has been serving the Central Okanagan for over 50 years. JHSCSO has a strong community presence and well-established professional working relationships with the criminal justice system and the community.

About BladeRunners

BladeRunners is an award winning, internationally recognized employment program that targets at-risk youth between 19 and 30 years of age. It provides participants with basic skills development and health and safety training designed to help them find and sustain long term employment within various industrial sectors. Vancouver ACCESS BladeRunners focuses mainly upon the construction industry. By providing 24/7 support to participants and developing multi-sector partnerships within the community, the program has withstood the test of time and is now entering its 16th year. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development through the Province of British Columbia is the steward of this program. The Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) serves as the program manager. Additional information can be found on the website at www.bladerunners.info.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Marcus Wong, Corporate Communications Manager, Terasen Gas, Phone: (778) 571-3263, Email: marcus.wong@terasengas.com, Follow us on Twitter; Marnie Douglas, Corporate Communications Specialist, FortisBC Inc., Phone: (250) 469-8120, Email: Marnie.Douglas@fortisbc.com; Simi Heer, Media Relations, BC Hydro, Phone: (604) 623-3963, Cell: (604) 375-2746; Shelley Cook, BA, MA, Executive Director, John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan, Phone: (250) 763-1331, Email: Shelley.Cook@jhscso.bc.ca; Tom Galway, Director of BladeRunners, Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), Phone: (604) 913-7933, Email: tom@buildingfuturestoday.com

Organization Profile


More on this organization

Green News

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890