Energy program to fund community projects

Now in operation for over a year, Echo Energy, the City of Lacombe’s energy boutique offers up a unique way to fund community projects.

Now in operation for over a year, Echo Energy, the City of Lacombe’s energy boutique offers up a unique way to fund community projects.

The concept is simple — power is offered to local homes and businesses and the generated profits are funneled into a fund that will be used to fund community projects within Lacombe, officials say.

For Community and Economic Development Officer of the City of Lacombe, Guy Lapointe, the energy initiative has unlimited potential within the community.

“I really hope people see the potential in it,” he said. “If there are community groups with projects, they should see the potential in something like this. This could be a potential fundraising piece for them. All you would have to do is sign up for power.”

Modeled after Mountainview Power, an energy retailer created by the Olds Institute as a community sustainability initiative, Echo Energy was established in Lacombe in November 2013.

The City itself is not generating power, but acting merely as an energy retailer, competing with other big name energy retailers, but with a community-minded aspect behind it. “By partnering with Utilitynet, they have given us the ability to offer power locally with the dollars staying within the community,” said Lapointe.

All of the profits generated by Echo Energy go into the Echo Lacombe Fund, which will be managed by a community committee. The group is currently working on creating a terms of reference and will be releasing an application process for community groups in the future.

“The big idea is this will be a community-led initiative and they will direct the funds towards community projects as they see fit,” said Lapointe.

A portion of the Echo Lacombe funds will be set aside for larger projects in the community, like funding playgrounds, arenas, skateboard parks, recreation facilities etc. The other portion of funds will be set aside for community programming, where there will be an immediate benefit.

The service is offered to everyone who needs electricity — apartments, houses, small businesses and larger businesses.

While Echo Energy is an electricity retailer within the City and profits from the utility service will support local projects, the service is not limited to just the City of Lacombe. Residents and businesses within Lacombe County, Blackfalds and Red Deer are also able to sign up.

“The sky is really the limit in terms of who we can work with here,” said Lapointe.

So far, around 125 homes or businesses have signed up for Echo Energy, but with 5,000 residences and approximately 600 businesses located in Lacombe, the opportunity for the initiative to expand could be a reality, he said.

“There is a lot of potential in it,” said Lapointe. “If people can make that change and see the potential in it, I think we would estimate at 1,500 accounts, we are talking about $200,000 annually would be going into the fund.”

Over a five-year period, close to a million dollars could be generated for the fund.

Currently, with just over 100 accounts signed on, around $10,000 annually will be generated towards the Echo Lacombe Fund.

“If we could have 1,500 accounts, that number goes up exponentially,” said Lapointe. “We would have a lot more power to do things within the community.”

Lapointe said Echo Energy doesn’t currently sell gas but he hopes the retailer will be able to offer it in the future.



Just Posted

WATCH: AFSC unveils new CEO

Steve Blakely comes to AFSC after a 40 year career in the finance sector

Lacombe Generals take commanding lead over Stony Plain with 7-3 win

Generals will look to eliminate the Eagles Wednesday night at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex

CACHS Knights take bronze medal in 1A Provincials

Knights takes out Stirling Lakers 82-69

Generals power through Game 3, winning 7-2

Seven-game series continues Saturday in Stony Plain

WATCH: Women’s Emergency Shelter holds 24th annual fundraising dinner

About 600 women and children used the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter last year

Rebels keep home-ice dream alive with 5-2 over ‘Canes

Red Deer look to steal both games against Kootenay this weekend

Shane McPhee pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Red Deer court Monday

A trial had been scheduled to run through to April 6th

Man charged after child abandoned in cold vehicle in Calmar

33 year old Aaron Blake Wilkinson charged after two-month old found in vehicle

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Federal committee to examine human trafficking in Canada

The Commons committee plans on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Most Read