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Longo’s, a family-run grocery chain with 18 stores in the greater Toronto area, took part in the “Count Me In! Community Challenge,” a friendly competition among over 80 communities in the province of Ontario. The initiative commemorates the anniversary of the Aug. 14, 2003, blackout that affected parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, as well as Ontario. Results of the province-wide challenge will be revealed today in Ottawa.
The company welcomed the challenge “as a way to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability,” said Longo’s director risk management Jerry Buligan.
For instance, Longo’s Walkers Line store in Burlington, Ontario, participated in the challenge by enacting its demand response energy reduction plan from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time. The grocer’s energy-reduction plan includes dimming non-essential lights and implementing other energy savings measures.
Additionally, inspired by the challenge, the company has teamed up with Oakville, Ontario-based demand response provider EnerNOC, Ltd. to enroll about a dozen Longo’s stores in the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) Demand Response 3 (DR3) Program.
When Ontario’s electricity system requires peak-load shedding, the OPA dispatches EnerNOC’s demand response network, which responds by executing the energy reduction plans of its network. In exchange for their participation, businesses in the network receive financial incentives for standing by, ready to respond, along with additional payments based on their performance during an event. EnerNOC customers also get free basic access to PowerTrak, EnerNOC’s energy management software application, which enables sites to identify new energy efficiency opportunities.
“Demand response is a key strategy for managing Ontario’s electricity supply and will become increasingly important in the future,” noted Ontario Power Authority VP, communications Ben Chin. “Companies that participate in a demand response program are demonstrating a savvy business outlook; they’re also contributing to Ontario’s ability to meet the most ambitious conservation targets in North America.”
“At Longo’s, we feel that community initiatives such as this one that have the added bonus of creating a positive environmental impact is a clear win-win situation,” added Buligan. “By participating in the Challenge, we’ll be doing our part to try and ensure that the power blackout of 2003 is not repeated, and yet at the same time, we expect that our customers will be minimally impacted during any power curtailment periods.
Longo’s expects to have 10 of its 18 stores participate in the DR3 program.
A joint initiative of OPA; the city of Woodstock -- which has held a municipal Blackout Day Challenge for the past several years -- the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO); the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); and the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA), the Count Me In! Community Challenge is part of a wider effort to help Ontario achieve the most ambitious conservation targets in North America -- the equivalent of taking one in five electricity users off the grid by the close of 2025 -- and to give rise to a true “culture of conservation.”