BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombe residents are able to support community-building projects by simply paying their bills with Echo Energy.
Echo Energy was launched in 2013 with the vision of the sales creating a sustainable fund that would be channeled back into the community. Through successful partnerships Echo Energy has been building up slowly since then, now with over 200 registered accounts.
Guy Lapointe, community economic development manager with the City of Lacombe, is excited about the project and how it’s being integrated into community building.
“The intent was to be able to build capacity for projects in Lacombe. We wanted people on board with the program, realizing it’s not a profit-maker, it’s a community builder – that’s the whole intention of the program,” he said.
“What the City of Lacombe has done is they created Echo Energy, where 100 per cent of the profits are put back into our community. Not only that, but the money is managed by the Echo Lacombe Association, not through the City.
“It is money generated by the community for the community, and that is a very different approach,” Lapointe added.
The profits generated from these accounts have now been designated successfully to two community programs – one being a new outdoor performance stage that will be built in the courtyard of the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC) through the Lacombe Performing Arts Foundation, and the second project being a $4,000 donation to the Lacombe Composite High School for an upcoming 2017 Youth Conference.
Lapointe said it’s a very simple, transparent program that allows people to directly see the impact of local spending through a local service provider that in turn provides for the community.
He said it’s an incredibly sustainable project and that it’s very beneficial to the customers and residents of Lacombe.
With the current customer rate, Lapointe explained the Echo Energy Fund generates approximately $20,000 per year.
“We just got passed our mark of 200 customers. We are starting to build up our customer base through word of mouth, but we’re really hoping to see that number grow. We’re aiming for 350 accounts by the end of next year,” he said.
“At 200 accounts, we are generating about $20,000 per year for the Echo Energy Fund, and with 350 accounts, we could be seeing about $40,000 to 45,000 per year.”
The ultimate goal for accounts registered is 1,500, out of the approximate 5,000 residential dwellings in the City.
“We could be generating about $200,000 a year for community projects if we were able to achieve that goal of 1,500 accounts,” Lapointe said.
“It’s not outrageous to hope for those kinds of numbers and there is no shortage of projects we could support in the community.”
For more information, check out www.echoenergy.ca.