Loblaw Preps to Kick Energy Savings System into High Gear

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Loblaw Preps to Kick Energy Savings System into High Gear

BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Forecasted high heat and humidity should put extreme demands on energy supplies, and that in turn should prompt Loblaw Cos. here by midweek to fire up a rare level 4 demand response via its energy conservation system in Ontario.

The chain's energy conservation system is in place at 110 Zehrs, Loblaws, and Real Canadian Superstore locations across Ontario. Level 4 is highest level in the system, and reduces the grocer's drain on the electricity system by 10-plus megawatts of power, or about a 20 percent reduction in energy use, thus ensuring Ontario's electrical grid remains stable during power crises, Loblaw said.

Loblaw has had the demand response system (DR) in place in Ontario since mid-2006, Loblaw spokeswoman Danielle Rouleau told Progressive Grocer. "We are investigating opportunities to expand the program to provinces which are deregulated," Rouleau said. "All new corporate stores in Ontario have the system installed."

Rouleau said the chain has initiated the system's Level 4 three times this year, June 13, 26, and 27, and twice last year, on Aug. 1 and 2. "There is no effect on refrigeration systems -- only lighting and HVAC," she said. "Further, air con in the produce department is maintained at normal levels to ensure freshness and quality."

Working with the Ontario Power Authority, Loblaw's multilevel automated DR system, unique in Canada, permits the retailer to centrally control lighting and HVAC demand at the 110 stores in the province. The system is automatically triggered at its various levels according to the extent of provincial energy demand and supply available. The system's Level 4 only kicks in when Ontario's energy supply isn't expected to meet demand.

Loblaw already voluntarily initiates a level 3 action, reducing lighting by 30 percent, during the months of July and August, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At level 4, lighting is reduced by 60 percent and air conditioning by more than half. At both levels, an automated informational announcement about the system is broadcast throughout each affected store every 15 minutes.

Historically, Level 4 responses have occurred mid-week as demand increases following a weekend lull during times of high heat and humidity, Loblaw said in a statement.

Loblaw, Canada's biggest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise, drug store, and financial products and services, employs over 139,000 full- and part-time associates.