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Guelph motorcycle shop reduced electricity costs and improved bottom line


Motorcycle customizer RNR Custom Cycle Ltd. used a $1,000 Power Savings Blitz grant from the Ontario Power Authority and Guelph Hydro to upgrade its workshop lighting and cut its electricity bill by more than 10 per cent a month.


When Guelph’s RNR Custom Cycle, which has been customizing motorcycles since 1994, purchased its current building in 2006 its focus was on building a new showroom that would appeal to its customers.

Since some of the company’s customers bring their bikes from California, B.C. and Montana, “We wanted the trip to be a special experience,” says Francis McNabb, RNR’s co-owner. “We installed energy efficient lights to give the showroom a brighter, cleaner look and keep our costs low.” 

But building the new showroom meant RNR couldn’t afford to upgrade the adjoining workshop. “Because we invested in making the showroom the focus for our customers, we had to forgo replacing the old inefficient lights in the workshop,” Ms McNabb says.

Customers are not allowed in the workshop for safety reasons so replacing the workshop lighting was not a priority. “Many of the bikes we are working on are worth tens of thousands of dollars, so we can’t take any risks,” she says.
The situation changed, however, when a Guelph Hydro representative made a cold call to RNR Cycle and explained Power Savings Blitz. Power Saving Blitz offers eligible small businesses up to $1,000 in free energy efficient improvements, which meant the workshop lighting could be changed from inefficient T12 fluorescent lamps to T8s

“After I had confirmed with Guelph Hydro that Power Savings Blitz was a legitimate program, an energy consultant did an energy efficiency evaluation of the workshop and shortly after the new energy efficient lamps were installed,” Ms McNabb says. “It only took two weeks from the initial visit to installation and it was done efficiently and carefully.”

“We were concerned about installing lights above the bikes, some of which are six feet long and valued at as much as $100,000. But, everything went without a hitch,” Ms. McNabb says.

"This is typical of the feedback we receive from many of our small business accounts that participate in the program." says Matt Weninger, Director of Metering and Communications for Guelph Hydro.  "As with any new program, many start off skeptical and then come back with very positive feedback about the work performed and the reduction on their monthly invoices.  We are pleased to have Power Savings Blitz as part of our conservation "tool kit" to round out our efforts to assist our customers. The program is catching on in Guelph and we are getting many of our small business customers signed up because other business owners in the community say it saves money."


The $1,000 grant covered the cost of about 80 per cent of the workshop lighting and the RNR paid the balance. “It was worth the additional $300 for us to pay for the remaining light fixtures,” she says.
Ms. McNabb estimates that RNR reduced its monthly electrical bill by about 10 per cent, or $70 a month. “We would not have replaced the lights without the incentive. We have big debt with our new building and wanted to reduce that first.”

“The Power Saving Blitz helped us to put the money saved into other business improvements and our reduced electricity consumption is good for the environment,” she says.

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