Editorial: We can’t leave B.C. residents to their own devices

B.C. Hydro would like us to declutter our reliance on our technological toys

It seems that B.C. Hydro is a little concerned over the amount of personal electronics we are using these days.

According to its data, British Columbia’s have 50 per cent more electronics today compared to what we had in 2010. The amount of electricity used by smaller electronics is up by about 150 per cent.

It turns out part of the problem is that a lot of us are hanging on to older devices when we purchase — or are given — new models of phones or other modern electronics. On top of that, lots of us are holding onto our VCRs, cassette and CD players, old gaming consoles, DVD players, etc.

If they’re plugged in, that adds up to a lot of standby power being used for no purpose. B.C. Hydro would like us to start reducing the clutter and recycle our retro electronics.

But one of the reasons all those old devices are still hanging around, barring those with moving parts like VCRs, is that they remain perfectly usable long after the latest and greatest has replaced them. An older smartphone still has value: a backup phone, a first phone for a younger member of the household, a security camera and countless other uses.

Someone, somewhere out there, is thinking “first-world problem” and they’re right, though that doesn’t make it any less of a problem.

And between Christmas gifts and holiday sales, we’ve ended up with even more electronics in our homes over the last few weeks, again according to B.C. Hydro.

We should all strive to reduce electricity use, especially if it is something as simple as unplugging an old VCR or game console that isn’t in everyday use. But one of the reasons there are more electronics, using more electricity, is that they are increasingly a part of our lives and an indispensable one at that. There are far too many ways electronics have enhanced our lives to list.

In the end, the amount of electricity we need is going to keep rising, the rising number of electric vehicles, for example — let alone our personal electronics. This is the new reality.

The solution is not only to reduce wastage but to invest in clean methods of generating more power — wind farms, solar and other alternatives — now, rather than later, when our electric grid is struggling.

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