Direct Energy

Direct Energy

March 26, 2010 10:00 ET

Direct Energy: Albertans Still in the Dark About Earth Hour

Direct Energy reminds consumers how to make every hour Earth Hour

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - March 26, 2010) - While international support of Earth Hour, the worldwide energy conservation event, has grown exponentially in a short time, a survey conducted by Direct Energy shows only 33 per cent of Albertans are aware of the global sustainability movement - now approaching its fourth year. While overall awareness is low, awareness amongst Albertans under 34 years of age is nearly 70 per cent. Comparatively, a similar survey conducted in Ontario showed 63 per cent awareness amongst all respondents.

On March 27, an estimated one billion people from 41,000 cities in 87 countries will participate in Earth Hour. Individuals, businesses, and international landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids and the city skylines of Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv participate by pledging to turn out the lights for 60 minutes.

"Our results show that in Alberta, we have a real opportunity to raise awareness about this global event and highlight the significant impact that can be made by simply turning off the lights," said Mike Donnelly, Director of Alberta Operations, Direct Energy Home Services. "But Earth Hour means more than just sitting in the dark for 60 minutes. It's a symbolic event to remind us what actions we can take every hour throughout the year, and how small changes in our daily lives can have a big environmental and financial impact."

Of those surveyed, over half plan to observe Earth Hour in 2010, up slightly from 47 per cent the previous year; 66 per cent of participants said they would turn off their lights for the hour and 71 per cent said they would run only essential appliances during that time.

Nine per cent said their employers plan to participate in the event this year, up from 7 per cent in 2009. As part of Direct Energy's ongoing commitment to supporting Earth Hour, the company will be offsetting an average hour of power consumption for all of its facilities across North America through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Nearly 60 per cent of the company's employees have also committed to taking part in Earth Hour in their own homes. 

The Direct Energy study also shows that while most Alberta respondents believe Earth Hour meets its goal of reducing energy consumption (61%), the goal of drawing attention to global warming and climate change is less recognized (5%).

To make every hour Earth Hour, and reduce your carbon footprint Direct Energy offers the following energy efficiency tips:

Invest in timers. Leaving the front porch light on when away or through the night gives a certain sense of security, but it also keeps the meter turning racking up your bill. A little here and there won't break the bank, but added up throughout the year, it's a significant waste of energy and money. Timers and motion-sensors can bring that same feeling of security while also avoiding unnecessary energy usage.

Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. CFL bulbs use two-thirds less energy, generate less heat and have a significantly longer life span. Installing six CFL bulbs will save over $60 per year on your electricity bill.

Use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow consumers to cool or heat their homes only when needed, and avoid running the cooling or heating system for an empty house – as long as you don't override them. Lowering the temperature during the night and while the family is away during the day could save 10 per cent on heating bills.

Turn it off and unplug it. Remember to turn off lights and whenever you leave a room and unplug all vampire electronics that aren't in use, like cell phone chargers and computers to prevent them from sucking power even when they're not on. The simple flick of a switch and pull of a cord will help you conserve energy.

Weather strip doors and windows. Up to 30 per cent of cooling/heating in a home can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors. Using weather stripping and caulking to seal air leaks can save nearly $150 per year on your energy bill.

Understand your energy pricing plan. Make sure you know who your retail electricity and natural gas providers are, what type of plan you're on (whether it can change from month-to-month or depending on market changes, or whether it's fixed), what the length of your agreement term is, and when it expires.

About the survey

The Earth Hour Awareness and Participation Survey, conducted by Polaris Marketing Research on behalf of Direct Energy, was conducted through online surveys of 1,816 consumers in both the United States and Canada. Consumers were screened to ensure they were at least 18 years of age. Online interviews were completed in early March with at least 300 qualified respondents in Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas in the United States, and Alberta and Ontario in Canada. The margin of error for n=300 at the 95 per cent confidence level is 5.7 per cent.

About Direct Energy 

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 20 states and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit

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