DISCUSSION: CANADIAN CONSUMERS AND THEIR ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION

DISCUSSION: CANADIAN CONSUMERS AND THEIR ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION

This past Thursday, June 4th, Powerline Plus had the honour of attending a presentation by the President and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association Mr. Sergio Marchi at the Toronto Region Board of Trade headquarters downtown Toronto. The discussion highlighted some of the challenges facing Canadian consumers and their electricity consumption in a rapidly growing economy.

Mr. Marchi touched on some very relevant points, including the integral role electricity plays in our day to day lives. From your morning pot of coffee, to the elevator that takes you up to your office, to the smart phone in your hand, electricity demand is ever increasing. Yet it is often taken for granted.

Most consumers and business owners don’t think about the “behind the scenes” action that takes place when you flick on a light switch in your home. It is easy to overlook the thousands of kilometers of transmission wires that carry energy from the source of generation to your fingertips. The electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system is extremely intricate and complex, yet it is expected that this network be continuously functioning with minimal interruptions. The maintenance of the systems required to power your everyday essentials takes an army of highly skilled engineers, operators, administrators, emergency response crews, labourers and more. And just like a battery, a laptop computer, or a smart phone, an electrical distribution system will not last forever. Here in the Toronto region, most of our systems were installed 3-4 decades ago, meaning the infrastructure is rapidly reaching the end of its useful life. This phenomenon is not an isolated concern in Toronto, Ontario or even Canada, as aging equipment is an issue effecting numerous countries in Europe and other parts of North America. Aging infrastructure poses reliability concerns to customers, which is one of the reasons Toronto Hydro and Powerline Plus are working together to rebuild the city’s overhead and underground assets. Regardless of the age of the systems, it is evident that Canadians needelectricity to function in the 21st century.

There are other necessities in today’s world that are seen as essential to the average Canadian. These necessities include shelter, food, clothing, fuels for vehicles, telecommunications services, and cable or satellite. Many of us are critical about the rising cost of living in this country, and how essential services are becoming more expensive. Although electricity costs have increased, the average Canadian spends only 2% of their daily income on electricity bills, with the average cost per day sitting at around $3.59. To put this into perspective, Canadians spend around $21.86 per day on food, and $5.47 per day on telecommunications services. When we consider how crucial electricity use is in our daily lives, we begin to see the value added within the costs associated.

Anthony Haines, President and CEO of Toronto Hydro, noted at the event that energy conservation is key, and the best way to address the electrical demand of tomorrow, is to conserve today.  See our recent blog post here for useful tips on how to conserve energy and reduce your electricity consumption.