Stories & Features

Team Power Smart newbie does his part for team video

Don Ta's energy saving action was featured in our recent 'Symphony of Savings' recruitment video, along with other Team Power Smart members.

Vancouver health worker will have to wait to start his 10% Reduction Challenge

Don Ta turned off his Google Nest. And closed his laptop. Two small actions, caught on video, that Don thought would make a lot of sense for Team Power Smart's Symphony of Savings video.

Not bad for a relative Team Power Smart newbie, someone who's just starting to get a sense that membership really has its privileges.

"I'm not too familiar with the program, but when I saw that if I submitted video, I might win a gift card, I thought it was a fun way to get involved," says Don, a health worker who lives in South Vancouver. "Another thing that caught my attention is the 10% Challenge, but I haven't started a Challenge because winter's coming, and my usage will probably go up."

Don's right that his energy use will rise, but it doesn't really matter what time of the year you start your Challenge, as all seasons and months are included in what is a full 12-month Challenge. As it turns out, Don is going to have to be patient anyway, as he only moved into his home near the north arm of the Fraser River this past June. And that means he won't be able to start a Challenge – and pursue a $50 reward for reducing his electricity use by at least 10% – until he has at least 12 months of consumption information in his new home.

"I'm on the site right now, in the Tool Box, and it tells me that I have 241 days before I can start the Challenge," he says. "And I see that there's a timeline [a record of past Challenges, for those with that history], and I just found the monthly contest link."

To compare from one 12-month period to the next in the 10% Challenge, BC Hydro needs at least 12 months of data. So it's a good idea that Don adds a digital reminder to start a Challenge at the end of June 2021, and that he learns a few things about how to operate his condo's heat pump efficiently. Managing heating and cooling is often the key ingredient to hitting a 10% reduction target and earning the $50 reward.

Not already a Team Power Smart member? Join today.

What can Don do for now? Learn how to save, enter monthly contests

Team Power Smart members tend to get the most out of membership by exploring the variety of membership perks and an assortment of BC Hydro tools, including:

  • Subscribing to the monthly Connected newsletter, which offers tips, contest info, team news, and updates on BC Hydro.
  • Setting up a MyHydro profile to get online account access, along with access to your Team Power Smart member Tool Box.
  • Once set up online, visiting the Tool Box to enter the monthly member contest. For January, the prize is a $150 Best Buy gift card.
  • Using MyHydro's online tracking of electricity use, which shows energy use down to the month, week, day and hour, and includes tools to compare your energy use against outside temperature, last year's use, and against similar homes nearby.
  • Setting up MyHydro alerts, which include a reminder to log in and view your consumption, either weekly or monthly.

Don has his mind on efficiency at work and home

Don works in an older building where he says he's constantly on the lookout for ways to save electricity, and he has a major interest in automation. One of the first things he did was ensure that everything that's connected to the power bar at his desk shuts off on its own.

"If I walk away from my desk for an hour, it shuts off automatically," he says, adding that he's trying others on his team to do the same thing. "I'm pushing to get others to do it, too."

Don says that while paying attention to social distancing guidelines at work, he's managed to enjoy the social aspects of life in a large office. And with more time than usual at home, he's diving into his hobby of woodworking in his garage.

"And even though I'm working on stuff like dovetail joints and stuff, I've been recently trying to do the work by hand, without power tools," says Don, who's starting with smaller projects such as light fixtures and floor lamps. "It's all manual, using tools like a chisel or a file."

Now that's power smart.