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Shorter showers & beyond: Family loves Power Smart

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Posted by Nola Poirier

Meet Brenda Hooker. She lives in Prince George in a 30-year-old house with baseboards and fireplaces, but no furnace; she has a 13-year-old son named Carsten; and, until recently, she had ever increasing power bills.

Just when Brenda's bills reached the breaking point, she saw Steve Darling and Mark Madryga talking about Power Smart on the Global morning news. She logged on to find out what it was all about.

Brenda immediately made some changes in her habits to try to reduce the household energy use.

One of the first things she did was to buy a kitchen timer for Carsten. Not so much for any baking he might do, but because she wanted him to reduce the time he spent in the shower – from 20 or 30 minutes, down to no more than 10.

And it worked! Brenda said she had been nagging Carsten about this for a while, but nagging wasn't fun and it wasn't working. The timer has been a wakeup call and a lot more fun than nagging. Carsten can see for himself how long he's spending in there.

Brenda and Carsten weren't totally new to making energy saving shifts. Last year Carsten's class at school did a project on saving energy and Brenda and Carsten made some changes then, like switching their bulbs for CFLs. But, Brenda says, at that time their energy saving outlook was just starting to form.

The tips on bchydro.com inspired Brenda to take more steps to reduce her household energy use. Some of the habits she adopted include:

Brenda made a couple of energy saving purchases as well. She replaced her old leaking hot water tank with a new more energy efficient one, and instead of having her old fridge repaired, she bought a new, energy efficient fridge – recycling the old one through the Fridge Buy Back program.

Brenda mentioned that one of the things she really appreciated about Power Smart, was that when she had questions about whether or not her new hot water tank would benefit from a blanket, she called and got a knowledgeable person on the phone who could offer advice.

Brenda says, "After my first bill, I have to say I love Power Smart! My usage dropped 41 kWh over the same month last year and my bill has dropped $13 per month already.

"I am anxious to see what replacing my old fridge and taking advantage of the buyback will do for next month. Thank you for the site and encouraging us to be green."

Nola Poirier is a Sunshine Coast-based freelance writer and regular contributor to bchydro.com's Green Guides and Unplug This Blog!