By Stephanie Drummond
Feb. 6, 2014
Maritime Electric wants its customers to monitor their electricity use to save energy and money.
Kim Griffin, manager of corporate communications and public affairs for the firm, spoke to the Holland College Green Machine team and other students Feb. 5.
Many Islanders wish their electricity bills were lower, but need suggestions on how to lower the bill, Griffin said.
“We’ve been trying to find ways to help our customers. People wish their electricity was less and they could make a difference.”
Climate change is a big issue, so Islanders understand they need to control their ecological footprint, Griffin said.
“It’s important. It helps us to control our own destiny.”
Maritime Electric had a challenge in 2009 and 2010 where customers were encouraged to save as much power as they could, for an incentive. A few lucky customers received free power for a year.
Most of those who took the challenge saved 10 to 15 per cent. Most people want to save, but not to extremes, said Griffin.
“ It went from neighbour to neighbour and people got excited about.”
A video was shown on Feb. 5 about ways to get people involved. A behavioral science study showed people use less not by being told they could save money, the planet, or be a good citizen but by saying their neighbours were doing a better job.
The same can be said for Islanders, said Griffin.
“People want to know how do I compare?”
Customers could make a difference by making small adjustments, Griffin said.
“People were putting on all their TVs for their pets when they left the house. They thought their pets were lonely without them. They saved $10 by just putting on the radio instead.”
The new LED light bulbs save a lot of energy, Griffin said.
The Green Machine team works to promote sustainability. This year it produced a ‘use your brain’ video urging students to un-plug electronics when not in use, and to turn off lights.
Sara Underwood, media and communications director at Holland College, said they have a new program about to start called Mug shots. Students take a picture of their re-useable water bottles or travel mugs and upload it to Facebook. There will be a draw for weekly winners and a $500 first prize.
“Students simply use mugs and water bottles.”
The group is open to suggestions on how to reach out to other students Underwood said.
“As members of the Green Machine, how do we do that? We change habits.”
They may also host a competition between programs to see which sorts its garbage the best. The approach of comparing to your neighbour is effective said Underwood.
“It’s getting away too super competitive. I had a friend who bought her daughter a $60 tube of lipstick. Or a new BMW, I don’t know why you need a new BMW.”