Burlington Hydro puts on an electrifying event

Kenna, Cormick, Emily, Matteo and Henry enjoying the Electricity Safety and Conservation demonstration.
Cormick, Kenna, Emily, Matteo and Henry enjoying the Electricity Safety and Conservation demonstration.

Last Friday, Burlington Hydro held their second open house. Just like last year, it was intentionally planned on a PA Day and catered to both youth and adults.

I was invited to attend representing the City of Burlington but since I was double booked, I was only able to attend the event in the afternoon. It was a busy couple of hours as I had the dual role of gathering information and photos for this blog post while also trying to staff a City of Burlington table. Thanks to Burlington Hydro staff for setting up my table for me and to Dave from BurlingtonGreen who thoughtfully restocked it as needed, while also promoting BurlingtonGreen’s EcoScore quiz. The City of Burlington’s table included cycling and transit related material from other city departments as well as some buttons, stickers , tattoos, magnets, bookmarks and pens with environmental messaging from my section. I apologize if you stopped by my booth and I was not present but now you know why.

City of Burlington booth
City of Burlington booth.

With this being a Burlington Hydro event, as expected, there was plenty of information about electricity. Burlington Hydro staff were out in full force promoting their departmental roles. I had a great conversation with an engineer who explained the engineering department’s responsibilities.

There was also an opportunity for Burlington Hydro customers to learn more about and register for e-billing. Did you know that there is currently a promotion for those of you who don’t already receive your hydro bill electronically? For every Burlington Hydro customer who signs up for VIEWmybill between September 15, 2016 and September 15, 2017, Burlington Hydro will donate $5 that will go into a fund to plant new trees in our community parks.

E-billing display by Burlington Hydro.
Promoting e-billing at a Burlington Hydro booth.

Speaking about bills … I’m sure everyone wants to save money. At the booth promoting conservation, there were plenty of coupons through saveONenergy’s Fall Coupon Event which is currently underway, allowing one to save on ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs, weather stripping, outdoor timers, and more.  So not only can you save money at the outset when you purchase the product, but you will also see ongoing savings when using these versus other less efficient products. If you missed the open house, don’t worry, you can get these coupons from stores selling the items as well as online.

Promoting saveONenergy programs.
Promoting saveONenergy programs.

Halton Region staff were also present to promote water efficiency. Since residents are billed on a per cubic metre basis, many including myself, often wonder what a cubic metre looks like. Thanks to John and Kathy, we now know!

Kathy and John demonstrating what a cubic metre of water looks like.
Kathy and John demonstrating what a cubic metre of water looks like at the Halton Region booth.

Bucket truck rides were back this year so I decided to go up on one to get a bird’s eye view of my surroundings. It was a breathtaking view of the escarpment with the leaves just starting to change colour.

My view from the bucket truck at Burlington Hydro's Open House.
My view from the bucket truck at Burlington Hydro’s Open House.
James, my bucket truck operator at the Burlington Hydro Open House event.
My bucket truck operator, James, at the Burlington Hydro Open House event.
View from my bucket truck of another resident and Burlington Hydro employee.
View from my bucket truck of a resident and a Burlington Hydro employee on another truck.

Children were thrilled with the face painting, balloon animals, photo booth and the electricity safety and conservation show. Blair was a captivating presenter as you can see from the photos below.

Matteo and Henry volunteered for a demonstration.
Matteo and Henry volunteered for a demonstration.
Learning about electricity safety and conservation.
Learning about electricity safety and conservation.

Adults were equally happy to view and test drive electric vehicles brought in by Plug ‘n Drive. Some members of the Golden Horseshoe Electric Vehicle Association (GHEVA) also brought in their personal vehicles. Who knows, there may be a few more drivers switching to electric vehicles due to this experience. And if you’re one of them, you should know about a program called EVfutureGrid that is offering a limited number of residential owners in Burlington and Oakville a reduced cost to install a charging station if they agree to participate in an EV study. This in addition to the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program offered through the provincial government for purchasing e-vehicles.

Plug 'n Drive information booth. E-vehicles were available for test drives.
Plug ‘n Drive information booth. Photo courtesy of Burlington Hydro.
One of the vehicles on display at the Burlington Hydro Open House.
One of the e-vehicles on display at the Burlington Hydro Open House.

There was also an opportunity to learn about Burlington Hydro’s Micro Turbine Cogeneration Plant which was officially launched in September 2015. This natural gas powered portable power plant provides heat and electricity to Burlington Hydro’s office building at 1340 Brant Street (the site of the open house).  The plant, which is connected to the office building’s electrical supply and heating system produces 90 KW of electricity which is enough to offset about one third of the building’s peak load and enough heat for most of the building. This demonstration project is in support of the City of Burlington’s Community Energy Plan.

The Micro Turbine Cogeneration Plant at Burlington Hydro's head office.
The Micro-Turbine Cogeneration Plant at Burlington Hydro’s head office. Photo courtesy of Burlington Hydro.

Last but not least was the food. The Burlington Teen Tour Band Boosters provided a charity BBQ to support the Teen Tour Band. There was also a donation jar to support the United Way. I showed my support by purchasing a delicious veggie burger.

Burlington Teen Tour Band Boosters charity BBQ.
Burlington Teen Tour Band Boosters at the Burlington Hydro Open House serving up a BBQ.

Thank you to Burlington Hydro for inviting the City of Burlington to participate in this event. I look forward to attending another one in the future.

Take Action Burlington! Collectively we can make a difference

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