Your Energy Questions Answered

Visiting Editor, Chris Tyrrell answers your questions

Chris is with us for another week, so email your questions to and we will get them answered for you, next Thursday!

How much renewable generation capacity currently exists in Ontario?

The Province of Ontario currently has 33,800 megawatts (MW’s) of generation capacity of which 2,388 MW of renewable power generation is operational with 1,385 MW under development.  Since the release of the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program in late 2009, there has been an additional 2,500 MWs of new capacity approved, which combined, will result in 6,273 MW of renewable energy capacity.
For further information of generation capacity in Ontario, please see

How much energy do energy efficient appliances really save?

That depends on the appliance and the brand. For example, an ENERGY STAR® washing machine uses 35 to 50 per cent less water and at least 30 per cent less energy per load than  older washers. Using less water is an excellent way to save energy. In fact, they go hand-in-hand. Letting a tap run for just five minutes uses as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb burning for 14 hours+. So buying an energy efficient washer is definitely a smart investment.

Clothes dryers also account for about 15 per cent of household appliance electricity consumption and they can wear down your clothing. So don’t discard simple energy efficient options, like dryer racks. By using a drying rack for just 25 per cent of the time (instead of your dryer), you could save up to $21 per year on your electricity bill!

If you’re interested in buying an energy efficient washer, check out for $140 in savings, ends July 31, 2010.

Why are programs like Toronto Hydro’s peaksaver and powershift so important?

This is an excellent question. During  hot humid summer days, demand for electricity can often exceeds supply largely due to air conditioners. To help ease the strain on the distribution system, programs have been developed and launched  like our peaksaver and PowerShift program.  The programs are designed for consumers to help lower demand during critical peak times and in-turn receive energy and cost saving benefits.  The following are the details of the programs:

  • peaksaver (available in many parts of Ontario) is simply a small device near your air conditioner. On hot summer afternoons, a signal is sent the peaksaver device to temporarily cycle down your air conditioner. Customers generally don’t even notice any change in temperature.
  • PowerShift (currently available in Toronto only) takes peaksaver one step further. Think of PowerShift as peaksaver plus. Instead of waiting for a signal to cycle down the air conditioner, PowerShift automatically turns your air conditioner into conservation mode when temperatures reach 27ºcelsius or higher.