TORONTO – The Ontario government is launching the new Peak Perks program to help families save money by conserving energy, as part of the government’s $342 million expansion of Ontario’s energy-efficiency programs that will reduce demands on the provincial grid. The government is also launching three new and enhanced programs for businesses, municipalities, and other institutions, including targeted support for greenhouse growers in Southwest Ontario.
“Our government is giving families more ways to lower their energy bills with new energy-efficiency programs like Peak Perks, which will provide families a $75 financial incentive this year in exchange for lowering their energy use at peak times during the summer,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “The new programs launched today will also help meet the province’s emerging electricity system needs by providing annual electricity savings equivalent to powering approximately 130,000 homes every year and reduce costs for consumers by over $650 million by 2025.”
The new Peak Perks program provides a financial incentive for residential customers who are willing to conserve energy and reduce their air conditioning at peak times and have an eligible smart thermostat connected to a central air conditioning system or heat pump unit. Participants will receive $75 for enrolling this year, as well as $20 for each year they stay enrolled in the program starting in 2024.
Residential customers can participate in Peak Perks by enrolling and giving their thermostat manufacturer secure access to their thermostat. Participants will be notified when one of the maximum 10 annual temperature change events occurs directly by their thermostat manufacturer on their mobile app and on their thermostat. Peak Perks has been designed to ensure participants are always in control and customers can opt-out of any temperature change event without impacting their incentive.
The Peak Perks program will be available starting in June. Interested customers can visit SaveOnEnergy.ca/PeakPerks today to sign-up for the program waitlist and receive an email notice with information on how to enroll.
In addition to the financial incentive provided by Peak Perks, reducing electricity use during peak demand hours in the summer months helps customers to lower their monthly electricity bills as these periods tend to be associated with the highest costs for power. Lowering demand during peak periods also allows the province to reduce electricity sector emissions, by reducing the need for electricity generation facilities that only run at times of peak demand such as natural gas.
Ontario has also launched three new and enhanced programs, including an expanded custom Retrofit program for business, municipalities and other institutions, targeted support for greenhouse growers in Southwest Ontario, as well enhancements to the existing Local Initiatives Program. The expanded Retrofit program alone will feature over $200 million in dedicated funding to support the new custom energy-efficiency retrofit project stream, that will cover up to 50 percent of the cost of approved projects.
These new and expanded energy-efficiency programs are expected to have a strong impact in Southwest Ontario, with regional peak demand savings of 225 megawatts (MW). This will provide additional capacity for the region and support growing economic development. The overall savings from this energy-efficiency programming will result in an estimated three million tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions over its lifetime - the equivalent to taking more than 600,000 vehicles off the road for one year.
“Thanks to energy efficiency efforts over the past 15 years, demand for electricity is today about 12 per cent lower than it otherwise would be,” said Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO, of the Independent Electricity System Operator, Ontario’s grid operator and provider of Save on Energy programs to home and business consumers. “Conservation is a valuable and cost-effective resource that supports system reliability and helps drive economic development as we strive towards a decarbonized electricity grid.”
There are an estimated 600,000 smart thermostats installed in Ontario.
Participants in the Peak Perks program agree to brief adjustments of between two to four degrees Celsius to their smart thermostats up to 10 times during peak periods of electricity demand from June through September. These adjustments to their thermostat typically last no more than three hours and will not occur on weekends or holidays. Peak Perks has been designed to ensure participants are always in control and customers can opt-out of any temperature change event.
Eligible customers that enroll in this voluntary program will receive a $75 promotional prepaid credit card for participating. Participants will also receive an additional $20 promotional prepaid credit card for each following year they stay enrolled in the program starting in 2024.
Minister Smith asked the IESO to report back to him with options for expanded cost-effective energy-efficiency programming in April of 2022. In October 2022, the minister announced that the IESO’s recommendations had been accepted. A Minister’s Directive was issued in September 2022 to direct the IESO to implement the programs that were launched together today.
For more information on the new and expanded energy-efficiency programs, visit the IESO’s Save on Energy website.