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A New Tool for Electricity Savings

It’s now possible to log into your online account with BC Hydro and see on the screen how much electricity you’re using on a daily and hourly basis. I live in a 2-bedroom condo apartment with electric baseboard heaters and an electric hot water tank. Heating the home in the winter always adds up to a higher electricity bill, of course. But now that I can see the hourly electricity consumption, it’s clear that hot water is one of our big electricity hogs too.

Celebrating a Greener Holiday

By Kate Wilczac

The winter holidays are truly a wonderful time, when we stop our busy lives to celebrate with family and friends and bring light and green things into our homes during the darkest days of the year.  Our spirit of giving can sometimes lead to excess, however, when faced with the post-Christmas morning mess of heaps of wrapping paper, discarded plastic toys and junky ornaments ready to be tossed in the trash. Here are some tips to help keep your Christmas less wasteful and more sustainable.

A Simpler Holiday

Are you looking for ways to celebrate the holidays and be kind to the earth at the same time? It’s really not hard to do. In fact, it’s easy: just focus on experiences, not things.


Are BC Hydro's Rate Hikes Enough? Maybe Not.

The Energy Minister, Bill Bennett, has recently approved BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), and announced a series of major price hikes for BC Hydro customers: up to 28% over five years: 16% in the next two years; and an 11% cap on rate increases for the next three years. Compounded it comes to 28%.

The response from many has been to complain, especially about the impact on people on low incomes, on BC’s schools and hospitals, and on a cooperative such as Catalyst Paper with its huge, multi-million dollar electricity bill, which is already tight to the bone financially.

Government-Imposed Hydro Rates Compound the Problem

The BC Sustainable Energy Association said today that BC Hydro’s rate increases aren’t high enough to cover the actual cost of providing electricity to customers.

In response to Energy Minister Bill Bennett’s statement yesterday that the government would put an artificial cap on electricity rate increases, BCSEA’s policy director Tom Hackney said, “Setting rates that are below the true cost of our electrical energy simply shifts today’s expenses into interest-bearing ‘deferral accounts’ that will have to be paid back by even higher rate increases in the future.”

The BCSEA’s AGM in Vancouver: What Did You Miss?

You missed a wet and stormy afternoon, and a gathering of keen BCSEA members - less those from Victoria who got stuck on the Island when the ferries stopped running.

Building a Passive House: What Did I Miss?

Every month, the BCSEA hosts a Climate and Energy Solutions Webinar, and we had a great one on Tuesday Nov 12th.

Rob Bernhardt, who with his son Mark has just built their own two-family Passive House in Saanich, gave us a detailed tour of the building process, showing us what make their’s a passive house that uses 90% less energy than a regular house. Yes, 90% less energy. Their heating bill for October to keep the house at a cozy 21 degrees cost them all of $20.

Small Actions Add Up

The Kamloops Chapter of the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) is thrilled with the outcome of BC Hydro’s recent “Power Down the Cube” promotion at the Kamloops Home Show. As a result of all the folks who pressed the button on the Cube, the local group will be receiving a $5000 donation in support of their community energy outreach programs.

The Wrong Long-Term Plan for BC Hydro: What Government Should Have Done


For the past three years, BC Hydro has been working to develop an updated plan to estimate the loads it will need to serve in the next twenty years and to determine what resources (including conservation and efficiency) should be acquired. In September 2013, BC Hydro workshopped this plan – the 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) – with interested parties, prior to submitting it to the government for final approval.

BCSEA participated in the September workshop and subsequently called on the B.C. government to reject the IRP and to send the plan to the Utilities Commission for an independent public inquiry.

On November 26, Minister Bennett announced the government’s approval of BC Hydro’s IRP.  BCSEA thinks that was the wrong decision. This is why:


Join us for our 2013 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - November 2, 2013

The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) will be held at UBC Robson Square - 800 Robson Street, Vancouver British Columbia – on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:45pm. We welcome all BCSEA members and members of the general public to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

The purpose of our AGM is to present our Annual Report, invite questions and feedback from our members, and re- elect/elect members to our Board of Directors. The meeting agenda, Annual Report, and Financial Statements will be available on the BCSEA website at http://www.bcsea.org/get-involved/events/2013/11/02/bcsea-annual-general...