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The Weather Network
May. 19, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
NOTL Hydro encouraging customers to go green
NOTL Hydro. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro wants customers to switch to e-billing and drop paper mail entirely on utility bills to save trees — in more ways than one. 

To encourage its customers to switch to electronic billing, the company has pledged to donate $10 for every change to the NOTL Tree Fund, a charity dedicated to raising money to cover the cost of replanting and maintaining town trees.

The utility company services more than 9,900 customers. Brodie Mosher, manager of conservation and administration for NOTL Hydro, said 1,657 have already made the switch to e-billing.

There are 356 customers who opted for both paperless and traditional billing, but the $10 donation to the tree fund will only be made for complete switches to paperless.

Mosher said he expects the utility to save about $10 a year per customer, pushing those savings over to the tree fund to keep the money within the community.

Owned by the Town of NOTL, Mosher said the company chose the tree fund because of current updates to the tree-bylaw and recent devastation of ash trees in the region by the emerald ash borer. The beetle-like species was discovered in Ontario in 2002.

An inventory of ash trees in town was made in 2014, assessing damage and potential risk of the trees.

In 2016, $75,000 was included in the town’s budget to remove and replant local ash trees.

“We’ve done campaigns in the past. We like to try different ones that might peak different people’s interests,” Mosher said.

“This one seems appropriate due to the tree by-laws that the town is considering. We thought it would be an appropriate measure to try to promote.”

Through donations, the town raised $3,100 in 2016 and $2,700 in 2017 for the tree fund. It was established in the late 1990s, when the town first participated in Communities in Bloom. The program was refreshed when the town began participating in CIB again over the last four years.

Mosher said the company understands that not everyone has the option to pass on paper mail entirely so it will remain available for those who need it, and there is no specific target for the promotion.

NOTL Hydro hosted campaigns in the past to encourage customers to make the switch which included prize giveaways. Mosher said he thinks this promotion will be efficient and timely for the town.

“Each campaign we get a number of enrolments. This one specifically we wanted to target the tree fund. It’s more efficient and it’s more environmental.”

Customers can make the switch online by logging into their account through the NOTL Hydro website. Direct donations to the tree fund can be made by visiting the NOTL.org.

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