Direct Energy

Direct Energy

November 23, 2010 17:49 ET

Direct Energy: Less Than One-Third of Alberta Homes Ready for Today's Deep Freeze

Direct Energy Offers Quick Tips to Ensure Extreme Cold Doesn't Lead to Extreme Bills

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2010) - Alberta has been plunged into a deep freeze by the current Arctic cold front gripping the province. In fact, a Global Weather Watch service ranked Calgary as the second coldest place on earth today. The bone-chilling temperatures, in combination with reduced daylight hours and the added electrical load of the Holiday Season, are pushing demand near the record setting levels of last year. Less than a year ago, Alberta's demand for electricity reached a record high of 10,236 megawatts (MW) during the hour of 6 p.m. on Monday, December 14, 2009 breaking the 10,046 MW record set only a week before on December 7.

"Increased demand can place upward pressure on electricity prices, which may impact customers who have not locked-in their price through a fixed-price plan," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas, Direct Energy. "More importantly, all customers – regardless of their pricing plan and ultimate price per kilowatt-hour – have the very real potential of seeing higher energy bills if they aren't making a conscious effort to keep their energy usage in check during extreme cold weather periods."

While temperatures dipped into the - 30's in many parts of the province, a recent survey conducted by Polaris Marketing Research on behalf of Direct Energy showed that only 32 per cent of Albertans feel they're prepared for frigid cold. And while 84 per cent of Albertans say they wear extra layers during extreme cold, nearly half (43 per cent) do not make attempts to reduce their electricity usage during extreme cold weather – when they have the opportunity to affect their power bills the most. 

"As the stats show, there's work to be done in helping Canadians become more energy efficient during extreme weather. An extreme drop in temperature doesn't mean your bank balance should drop too due to higher energy bills," said Walton. "By implementing a few easy changes, consumers can lower their energy usage now and throughout year – and they don't have to resort to wearing their snowsuit indoors to keep energy costs in check."

Energy efficiency tips which can be implemented today to save money:

• Conserve.

Consider putting your holiday lighting display on a timer so that it turns off when everyone goes to bed; or invest in the more efficient LED strings of lights. Install motion sensors or timers on external and decorative lights.

• Unplug.

Electronics that are plugged in, but not powered up, still suck power from the outlet. Unplug anything you're not using and turn off power bars.

• Adjust.

Try to use major appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers during off-peak hours (after 7p.m. on weeknights or on weekends) when demand is lower. 

• Seal.

Sealing leaks with weather-stripping and caulking can save up to $108 per year, or 2.9 per cent on heating bills in the average Canadian home.

• Switch. 

Switch to smart bulbs. A single 20 to 25 watt energy-saving bulb can last up to 10 times longer than a normal bulb, uses up to 75 per cent less energy, and provides as much light as a 100-watt ordinary bulb.

• Microwave.

Microwaves use considerably less energy than ovens. Use one for cooking and reheating items.

• Reduce.

Turn down the temperature a few degrees and consider purchasing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are good for all forms of heating as they avoid unnecessary heating costs.

• Time.

Time your block heater and set it to come on after 7p.m.

• Layer.

Throw on an extra sweater or blanket when indoors. Lowering your thermostat by two degrees could save as much as four per cent on your heating bill.

• Romance.

Treat your significant other to dinner by candlelight this evening and leave the lights off. You might even see sparks fly!

For more energy efficiency tips and information, please visit and navigate to the About Us, Committed to Energy Efficiency section.

About the survey

The Weather-Related Energy Usage Survey, conducted by Polaris Marketing Research on behalf of Direct Energy was conducted through online surveys of 2,478 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 late March with at least 300 qualified respondents in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas in the United States and Alberta and Ontario in Canada. The margin of error for n=300 is at 95 percent confidence level =±5.7 percent.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is North America's largest provider of heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical services and a leading energy and energy-related services provider with over 6 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 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit

Contact Information

  • For more information or to book an interview with an energy
    efficiency expert, please contact:
    Lynzey MacRae
    Twitter: @DirectEnergyLyn