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Oxford County wants residents to participate in energy survey

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Oxford County wants to hear from its residents about their energy use at home.

Until May 12, the county is offering an online survey on its Speak Up, Oxford! website that takes around five minutes to finish and will ask residents about the ways they are monitoring their energy use and what energy options they may consider in the future.

Director of strategic initiatives Jay Heaman said that the survey will step people through questions about their electricity bill.

“It’s just to get them thinking about how much electricity they consume in a month, whether they know how much they consume during on peak and mid peak, are they familiar renewable energy or net metering concepts,” he said. “Really it’s just to start driving the discussion and the dialogue.”

Heaman added that the survey was created in partnership with students from the University of Western Ontario and that the survey is early data gathering to lay the foundation for a solar challenge that will be launched by the county this summer.

“Before we even think about adopting renewable energy into our lives, our homes and our businesses, the first step is always conservation and efficiency,” Heaman said. “So the challenge is to identify how much electricity you consume and when and understand your electricity habits. Then make a concerted effort to reduce electricity consumption as much as possible, and the challenge we’re putting up to people is up to 50 per cent.

“We believe that people can reduce their consumption up to 50 per cent,” he added. “Just by changing culture, habits and raising awareness.”

The idea is that if someone can install enough solar panels to offset 50 per cent of their existing electricity consumption, by applying conservation methods they could possibly reduce their consumption by the other 50 per cent and end up with a net zero electricity consumption over the course of one year.

“The benefit to people is two-fold,” Heaman said. “First of all they learn how to raise awareness of their electricity consumption and learn how to reduce their electricity consumption, they save money by the virtue of using less electricity and they also the reduce the capital cost of installing solar panels, because now they only need half the size of the system.”

All Oxford County residents who complete the survey will also be eligible for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from a local restaurant featured on the Oxford County Cheese Trail.

The survey will run until May 12 and can be taken on www.oxfordcounty.ca/your-government/speak-up-oxford/campaign-details/articleD/7498.

bchessell@postmedia.com 

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