Stories & Features

Save power with a Regional Energy Manager

Image of BC Hydro's Ida Keung
Ida Keung, Regional Energy Manager for the industrial sector.

Find savings and programs that you may not even be aware of with their help

You don't need to be a huge industrial business to access BC Hydro's resources and energy-saving programs. Navigating through all of BC Hydro's resources and programs may be a daunting task, especially if your organization uses less than 4 gigawatt hours a year. But a Regional Energy Manager can simplify the process by helping to determine your eligibility for incentives or programs and guiding you through the application process from beginning to end. Ida Keung, an experienced BC Hydro Regional Energy Manager based in Vancouver, explains what that looks like.

Keung supports industrial businesses all over B.C.: "I mostly work with manufacturing facilities, as well as food and beverage processing facilities along with greenhouses and laboratories," she says. "I help industrial sector companies access BC Hydro programs and incentives for energy efficiency retrofits such as lighting and air compressor upgrades under SIP, our Self-service Incentive Program."

A big advantage with working with a Regional Energy Manager is discovering programs that you may not be aware of, or might otherwise not have access to. Keung has helped customers access BC Hydro studies as well as incentives for more complex projects through BC Hydro's Custom and New Plant Design programs.

Along with retrofits, a Regional Energy Manager can also help businesses monitor their overall consumption and try to avoid power factor surcharges caused by inefficient machinery or behaviour. "A high power factor is not only wasteful, it can also affect neighbouring facilities and our ability to supply them with sufficient power," says Keung.

What kind of savings are possible?

In just under five years, Keung has completed 94 projects, saving a total of 7,573,558 kWh a year (or $605,884.64 based on $0.08/kWh). If a typical home consumes 11,000 kWh a year, that's the equivalent of powering almost 700 homes. So clearly, there are some significant savings to be made. Here are just two examples:

  • Just a single quarter-inch leak from an air compressor could add $7,500 in additional power costs.
  • A recent project helping a plastic manufacturing facility to update electric dryers will save the business around $12-13k a year.

While some of these issues may require some kind of retrofit, many could be avoided by just regularly checking equipment usage and performance. For air compressors, BC Hydro even offers a free leak tag kit. Your Regional Energy Manager may also provide information on BC Hydro programs and resources that help your company save energy through low and no-cost operational efficiencies.

Image of a BC Hydro leak tag board
Leak Tag Kits to help you reduce energy waste may be requested through the Regional Energy Manager or Key Account Manager.

At the other end of the spectrum, Keung recently helped a major manufacturing facility to save 360,000 kWh a year with an LED lighting upgrade. "The total cost was $184k and the BC Hydro incentive was $65k. So with annual savings of $29k, they have a four-year payback. Not only is that very good, but staff are already enjoying the benefits of much more pleasant, brighter LED lighting."

How to get started

The process is very straightforward, as Keung explains: "Let's assume a customer has decided they want to find ways to save power. They'd need to reach out to me and I'll help them see what specific programs and resources are available to them. Then I'd help them get set up and apply for these programs (such as register them with SIP, and explain the program to them in detail). If the customer is located on the Lower Mainland, I can usually come and do this onsite."

Your Regional Energy Manager can also help initiate referrals to lighting and compressed air specialists through BC Hydro's Power Smart Alliance. Their estimates help to create an incentive amount so that Keung can provide a summary and the expected payback time. If the customer is happy to proceed, this is submitted to BC Hydro for approval. If this is successful, work can start right away.

To find out if you qualify and to request an energy consultation with a Regional Energy Manager, visit our Regional energy manager page, contact us by email, or call the Business Helpdesk at 1 866 522 4713.