Fortis sees savings on the line

Company offering clothes lines to South Okanagan residents to help cut their energy bills

  • Jun. 21, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Jennifer Sanders lets it all hang out — her laundry that is — to save money on her electrical bill.

Jennifer Sanders lets it all hang out — her laundry that is — to save money on her electrical bill.

Hanging out can refer to many things, from taking it easy to the unfortunate side-effect of neglecting to wear a belt with loose pants and bending over. Fortis B.C. is trying to bring another meaning of the phrase to the Southern Interior this summer: having people hang out their laundry to dry.

Penticton resident Jennifer Sanders recently hung a new laundry line in her backyard.

“I just always remember when I was younger, my grandmother always used to dry my clothes out on the line and you had that distinctive smell,” she said.

“The other main reason is I have high-efficiency machines, and I find the way Penticton’s put our electricity bill up, it’s very expensive, and I’m trying to save our family money not drying the clothes in the dryer. I love hanging them out on the line.”

For Sanders trying to save money, cutting the dryer is a good place to start. On average, dryers account for 30 per cent of energy used by appliances, said Nicole Bogdanovic, communications specialist with Fortis. As well, she added, in the summertime dryers can contribute to the overall heat of the house, increasing the air-conditioning use.

If that wasn’t enough, Bogdanovic said by making the switch from the dryer to the line, the average family can save up to $120 per year.

To this end, Fortis, through their PowerSense program, plans to distribute 10,000 laundry lines to the people of the Southern Interior. This will mark the fourth and final year Fortis will be handing out the laundry lines at events in the region. The four-year program is set to hand out a grand total of over 35,000 lines. If these lines were used for even 25 per cent of annual dryer loads, enough energy would be saved to power 417 homes for an entire year.

“We really want to change the culture around laundry lines,” said Bogdanovic. “It used to be a sign of good housekeeping, and I think now it’s more a way to show you really are conscious of the amount of energy that you use.”

To further encourage people to make use of the laundry lines, area residents can sign up on the Fortis B.C. website for a chance to have their yards checked out to see if they’re using their laundry lines by PowerSense ambassadors, which could win them a prize pack, full of more energy saving goodies, as well as the chance to win a barbecue.

Bogdanovic suggested more ways to save energy in the home: wash clothes in cold water; use the rinse cycle in the washing machine; clean the dryer’s vent after every use; consider a gas-powered dryer; and if possible, replace your current machines with Energy Star models.

For more information on the program, or where to get the laundry lines, visit