By Cecilia Nasmith
Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd visited Cobourg's Venture 13 centre Wednesday to announce an investment in the future of green energy.
It's a $164,000 investment (announced on behalf of Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi) for a project to strengthen the reliability of Ontario's electricity grid and cut pollution. It will be led by Lakefront Utility Services Inc.
The funding will support a 24/7 monitoring system to help prevent power outages, improve response times and reduce the number of service calls that require a crew to be sent out to investigate. It will also improve over-all system efficiency by identifying overloaded transformers and a mobile app that Rudd already subscribes to to watch her energy consumption in real time. The app will also enable e-billing and supply tips and detailed explanation of billings.
Increased reliability and efficiency, a greener environment and lower costs, she summed up.
“I think it's a pretty smart investment, frankly, and a great example of how the challenges of our time are also the opportunities of a lifetime.”
Rudd also took a moment to acknowledge Lakefront not only for its participation in this project but for its contributions to the community in such areas as employment and energy education - “such an innovative, forward-thinking organization in a town of 18,500 people,” she said.
“We are very proud.”
Lakefront chief executive officer Dereck Paul said he was extremely honoured and excited to accept the challenge.
“We are very proud to qualify for this next-generation funding,” he said.
“We are now one step closer to our ultimate vision of a self-healing automated digital platform.”
Paul thanked the Town of Cobourg for its support in helping them make the key investments that are resulting in greater reliability. Residents should have already noticed a dramatic reduction in outages over recent years, he said, and the investments have made them the seventh-most-reliable utility in the province.
He anticipates even greater efficiency with the new outage-management system the Federal funding makes possible.
“Currently, we have to wait for our customers to tell us about an outage and our trucks to start locating it,” he explained.
“I live in 2019, and I need to be much better informed where the outages are. Our objective is to have a digital automated platform that allows automated restoration of power.”
Rudd recalled the crippling effects of the big 2003 blackout that affected much of southern Ontario,
“We all know the world is really at a pivotal moment when climate change is one of, if not the, greatest challenges of our generation, at a time when investing in green technology has never been more urgent,” she told the audience at the entrepreneurship-and-innovation centre.
“We are preparing the way for a low-carbon future powered by green energy.”