Heat Pump Pilot Program Ending Soon: Last Chance to Participate for Little River Acres Community

October 27, 2016

Windsor ON: On March 30, 2016, ENWIN announced the launch of a new program to reduce electricity usage and costs for homes that rely solely on electricity for heating and cooling. Soon that program will end.

Known as the Heat Pump Pilot (HPP), the program offers reduced electricity consumption and costs, and improved heating and cooling quality. ENWIN offered a chance to participate to electricity reliant residents in Little River Acres (LRA), where it is estimated that 98% of homes rely on electric baseboard heating, and 80% rely on electric window air conditioners.

Chris Routliffe, ENWIN’s Manager of CDM Services, drafted and refined a detailed plan and application, which were subsequently approved by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) for funding through its Conservation First Framework. ENWIN then offered it enthusiastically to the LRA community on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Routliffe’s conservation team rolled out the details at a well-attended community information session in March 2016. Initial interest was strong, with more than 100 people signing up to receive further information.

ENWIN understood that available funding would extend to only 385 homes, out of a potential qualifying population of more than 1,000 homes. However, participation by the LRA community has been less than a quarter of what was expected.

“Frankly, we are mystified by the lack of uptake for this program,” said Routliffe. “But we haven’t given up. This is a great opportunity to save on electricity costs.”

Uptake has been very strong among those who have actually sat down with ENWIN to discuss the program – about 90% or 71 residents have signed on to participate, once they understood the benefits.

Over the last six months, the ENWIN team has reached out to residents in numerous ways: a second information session, phone calls and messages, door-hangers, signs on participants’ lawns and public property in the community, and by encouraging satisfied participants to talk to their neighbours.

“We may have less than two months left to help the LRA community,” Routliffe said. “Once the cold weather sets in, installation will become more challenging – And then the program ends. We need to do everything in our power to get the word out before it’s too late.”

Windsor Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac agreed.

“At a time when everyone is concerned with the cost of electricity, any technology that can be utilized to lower consumption is critical,” she added. “The IESO’s approval of this program was the result of a multi-year effort by ENWIN, the LRA Resident Association and myself, to assist Little River Acre residents in addressing escalating energy bills. The program will end shortly, so I encourage all residents to carefully consider the benefits participating may afford you, both in the short and long term.”

So ENWIN, in cooperation with their contractor, has decided to canvas Little River Acres on foot, sending contracted representatives knocking on doors across the neighbourhood to offer an in-person explanation of the benefits of the program.

“Door-to-door is not typically our mode of contact with customers,” Routliffe explained. “In fact, we never do it. But we want to take every opportunity to make sure residents are able to make a fully informed decision about participation, before the program ends.”

To support this unique program, ENWIN management has approved a one-time departure from its usual practices, because of a commitment the utility made to the LRA community, five years ago.

“Going door-to-door is our last opportunity to use this provincially funded program to help people in Little River Acres,” Routliffe concluded. “We are required to end the program this year, so it’s now or never.”

What Residents Need to Know:

  • ENWIN will send notices by mail about the door-to-door canvasing
  • ENWIN’s door-to-door representatives are employees of Honeywell, the agency responsible for installation of the heat pumps. They are experts in the program.
  • Reps will begin to knock on doors, in LRA only, starting October 31, 2016
  • Reps will wear Honeywell branded clothing, and carry photo ID identifying them as authorized contractors acting on behalf of ENWIN.
  • Residents are under no obligation to speak with these representatives, but could benefit greatly by better understanding the HPP program.
  • Residents can follow door-to-door location updates weekly on our Twitter account – @ENWINUtilities

ENWIN Utilities Ltd. (ENWIN) is the licensed electricity distribution company, serving customers in the City of Windsor. ENWIN is also licensed operator for the water system owned by Windsor Utilities Commission. ENWIN works with Windsor to provide a safe, reliable source of electricity and water for our community.