The provincial government celebrated the launch of a new data standard in Newmarket meant to give customers a better handle on their energy usage.
Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution was certified for the provincial Green Button standard last year, allowing its customers better access to their usage data through computers and smartphones and better opportunity to reduce their usage.
Minister of Energy Todd Smith and other dignitaries visited NT Power Jan. 26 to recognize it as one of the first providers in the province to offer this.
The standard has been an option since 2012, but Smith recounted mandating all electricity providers to take on the standard in 2021. All electricity providers will need to complete this by Nov. 1, 2023.
“We did this because we wanted to put Ontario customers back in the driver’s seat when it comes to their electricity consumption,” Smith said. “This allows them to take control of their electricity bills.”
NT Power implemented the changes last year, improving its billing and online portal system for tracking electricity usage. The Green Button standard allows you to download the data about your usage, which you can then share with third-party apps for advice on how to reduce your consumption of electricity and natural gas. Smith said that data from earlier adopters indicate residents who do this can save up to 18 per cent on their bills.
“It seems to be one of those long roads and people putting in a lot of work to get it complete,” NT Power president and CEO Ysni Semsedini said, adding appreciation to employees and partners for it. “It was a road we didn’t walk alone.”
Mayor John Taylor said he believes in using data for better decision-making.
“We’re in a climate crisis, and we need to act on that, and we need to give our residents the ability to act on that,” he added. “When you give people the tools to take action, to make different decisions, to try to do their part to address climate change, I think that’s a powerful thing. And this is one tiny example, but we need hundreds of tiny examples of using technology.”
Newmarket customers can access the Green Button option through NT Power’s upgraded MyAccount section. The utility sent an email in July to customers walking them through the upgrade. Semsedini said the utility would be promoting it this year to get widespread adoption.
“The rolling out of the Green Button is a step in the right direction,” Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy said. “To make life more affordable and empower our residents and businesses to reduce and shift their energy use based on their own needs.”