Question: Why does Yukon Energy not offer “off-peak” rates? Wouldn’t this lessen demand at peak hours and avoid the need to burn expensive diesel?
Thanks for your question. It requires a much longer answer than we have space for here. However I will try my best to address some of the key issues related to this topic.
You are likely aware that in some North American jurisdictions as well as many European countries, smart grids have been used to manage peak demand and encourage energy conservation. This is done through charging a higher rate for electricity during peak times (breakfast and dinner hours for example) and a lower rate in the middle of the day or at night.
We have had a number of Yukoners suggest that we should be doing the same, and that by doing so, it would reduce or even eliminate the need for diesel generation.
Here’s the dilemma from our point of view: we can’t implement time of use rates with our current meters and grid. We need a ‘smart grid’ system. This means we would need to not only install ‘smart meters’, but would also have to upgrade the distribution, transmission, substation and system control centre infrastructure. All that new infrastructure would be costly; in the millions of dollars. Yukon has a very small customer base and providing electricity already comes at a cost that some feel is very high. We are not convinced rate payers would be willing or able to pay the cost of building a smart grid.
As well, our rate structure does not currently allow for time of use rates, so our regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board, would need to make significant changes in that regard. Based on experience in other jurisdictions, there would need to be a large price difference between peak and off-peak rates to see significant behavior change. In some estimates the peak rate would need to be as much as double or triple the off peak cost. Is this something Yukoners would support? We are particularly concerned about how this could affect low-income Yukoners.
Time of use rates and ‘smart grids’ are certainly topics we have discussed regularly and will continue to look into. However before we move forward we must make sure we better understand how time of use rates would affect the energy use on an isolated grid such as ours. The assumption that time of use rates will reduce or eliminate diesel may not be correct. The last thing we want to do is spend money to implement an expensive system, restructure the rates, implement costly and complex energy conservation programs to help people take advantage of the rates, only to realize that we have just moved the peak to later in the day or have created a situation where there is actually an overall increase in the use of electricity, prompting us to burn even more diesel.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, gift shopping is ramping up. New gadgets, electronics, smartphones, computers, TVs and home entertainment units are all hot ticket items.
In an average Yukon home, this technology makes up more than 10 percent of your electric usage.
So how do you keep conservation in mind while you are hunting for the perfect electronic gift? That's the topic of this month's Conversations in Conservation event, taking place from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 28th at the Westmark Hotel. Yukon Energy's IT department will offer some tips and tricks to help you reduce your electronics energy use.
A reminder that this is the last in our Conversations in Conservation series for 2013. There is no charge for this event. Coffee and cookies will be provided and everyone is welcome. We hope to see you there.
Every year in Canada there are more than 1,000 contacts with energized high voltage power lines (with vehicles, heavy equipme nt, trees, etc.). That is why, a couple of years ago, Yukon Energy and a number of other electrical utilities partnered with the Canadian Electricity Association to produce the first in a series of safety DVDs called "Electricity the Invisible Killer".
The second in that series is now available to the public. In this second DVD, the focus is on the construction industry. A significant number of high voltage contacts are a result of non-electrical work being done in the vicinity of electrical structures.
We believe this video is of value to all Yukoners and we encourage you to take 20 minutes to watch it.
Yukon Energy would like to notify some of our customers in the vicinity of Aishihik of a couple of short planned power outages on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.
There will be one outage of approximately five minutes between 8:30 and 9 a.m., and a second outage - again approximately five minutes - between noon and 12:30. Please note that originally these outages had been planned for Monday Nov. 4th but were changed to coordinate work Yukon Electrical Company Limited is doing in the area.
The customers affected live on Marshall Creek Road, Aishihik Lane, and Pine Lake Road.
We apologize for the inconvenience, but these outages are necessary so our staff can safely work on the system.
Looking for a new place to go for a short, scenic walk? If you are in the Mayo area, there's a new walking trail with interpretive signage in the vicinity of our Mayo B powerhouse and salmon rearing channels. We constructed the trail and had the signage produced in cooperation with the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun.
The trail forms a 2.5 kilometre long loop. It provides good views of the Mayo River, our salmon-rearing channel, and the Mayo B powerhouse. There are a number of information panels along the trail that provide details of the history and cultural significance of the area.
We've created this map to help you find your way to the walking trail. Once you leave the main highway you'll see several directional road signs that will help guide you as well.
Once you've walked the trail, we'd love it if you would drop us a note and let us know what you think.
We thought you might be interested in this news release. We will be working closely with the Yukon government and Yukon Electrical Company Limited to do the work necessary to implement this policy as soon as possible.
For the second year in a row, Yukon Energy has won a prestigious safety award from the Canadian Electricity Association.
Last year we won a bronze award for top safety performance among small Canadian utilities (fewer than 500 employees). This year we’ve taken the silver!
Congratulations all around, and especially to our Manager of Safety, Melanie Pettefer. It was in large part because of Melanie’s leadership that we have been able to achieve this status. Under Melanie’s guidance, Yukon Energy has become a safer place to work.
Question: I would like to know if Yukon Energy is considering electronic billing. Your company is the only one where I still receive a paper bill. If Yukon Energy proposes to be helping the environment, this one small step would be a positive one. Thanks.
Thanks for your question. We are working on offering electronic billing. It is somewhat complicated in that we share a billing system with another company, which is why it is taking some time to implement, but we hope to have something to report on this front in the very near future. Watch this blog for updates.
Looking to save some money on energy?
Yukon Energy, Yukon Electrical Company Ltd., and Natural Resources Canada are hosting an energy management workshop, this time in Mayo.
The workshop will cover everything from energy "basics" to the importance of managing energy. Participants will be shown how to identify energy saving opportunities and will be offered some low cost/no cost ways to energy and money.
The session is taking place on October 17th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mayo Curling Lounge. Everyone is welcome to attend but the workshop will be most helpful to small business owners and First Nation and municipal decision makers.
There is no cost for the workshop but you must pre-register by October 10th by contacting Taylor Ewing at the Village of Mayo (996-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
A message to property owners and residents in the Southern Lakes area. The level on Marsh Lake has just today crossed below the conceptual Full Supply Level that we are considering in the Southern Lakes Enhanced Winter Storage Concept. You might want to take note of where the level is on your own property. Our current licensed Full Supply Level is 30 cm. below today’s level. We will not start to close any gates at the Marsh Lake Control Structure until the water has dropped below our licensed Full Supply Level of 656.234 meters above sea level.
In this latest Marsh Lake water level chart, you’ll see that the water behaved in a rather unusual way this year, starting to drop but then rising again. It’s now coming down fairly rapidly and we don’t expect it to rise again this year.