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Time based electricity

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
So when I got back and sorted through my piles of mail, there was some stuff from Toronto Hydro about this new way they are going to be selling me electricity, based on time of use. The pictures in the brochure showed happy smiling people.

Last year I noticed some dude replaced my electricity meter with a digital one without any warning and the next bill later was over $600! The dude had apparently just picked some random number to write down for usage up to that point. I had to call them repeatedly to complain that my average bills for April were never ever that high and it had to be a mistake. Eventually they gave me a credit for some of the money.

Anyways, is this new "time-based" thing in effect already? And is it just a rate increase under the guise of a technological improvement... I don't really trust them to have my best interests in mind.
 

Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
So when I got back and sorted through my piles of mail, there was some stuff from Toronto Hydro about this new way they are going to be selling me electricity, based on time of use. The pictures in the brochure showed happy smiling people.

Last year I noticed some dude replaced my electricity meter with a digital one without any warning and the next bill later was over $600! The dude had apparently just picked some random number to write down for usage up to that point. I had to call them repeatedly to complain that my average bills for April were never ever that high and it had to be a mistake. Eventually they gave me a credit for some of the money.

Anyways, is this new "time-based" thing in effect already? And is it just a rate increase under the guise of a technological improvement... I don't really trust them to have my best interests in mind.
i found this link - Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure: Smart Meters

I don't pay for electricity now since i rent but ....wish i knew more, since i'll be moving soon!
 

coleridge

TRIBE Member
The time of day billing is great. I love how you can track your usage down to the hour and there's only a day's delay on the reporting. You can log on and see exactly how much energy you used at what hour yesterday if you want

It really helps you figure out what energy wasting things you have going on in your house. For me I can see exactly when my energy-pig plasma was turned on, or when the dishwasher was run or the difference turning my computer off makes from one day to the next.

For example I get a noticeable difference in energy usage just by unplugging all the items in my house that sit in standby like: the tv, Wii, PS3 etc....
 
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Fillmore

TRIBE Member
The time of day billing is great. I love how you can track your usage down to the hour and there's only a day's delay on the reporting. You can log on and see exactly how much energy you used at what hour yesterday if you want

It really helps you figure out what energy wasting things you have going on in your house. For me I can see exactly when my energy-pig plasma was turned on, or when the dishwasher was run or the difference turning my computer off makes from one day to the next.

For example I get a noticeable difference in energy usage just by unplugging all the items in my house that sit in standby like: the tv, Wii, PS3 etc....
I agree, a huge noticable difference when turning off items that are on standby. I wired up my electrical outlet to a light switch so that I can turn off all power to the power bar so when I leave the house every day its just one switch instead of unplugging all the toys.

We also stopped doing laundry during the week unless its after 9pm.

This is a very good thing AlexD

Coleridge, I was shocked to see how much power the plasma tv uses as well. What a pig indeed! Are LCD's screens any better?
 
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Dirty Girl

TRIBE Member
cool, I know what im playing with when I get home. I will get my damn mother to turn that annoying buzzing light over the sink off, even if it kills me!!!


wait, does this only work if you have a smart meter? and do you have to live in toronto?
 

coleridge

TRIBE Member
Coleridge, I was shocked to see how much power the plasma tv uses as well. What a pig indeed! Are LCD's screens any better?
Yes LCDs use way less energy. As much as I hate LCDs and believe them completely inferior to plasmas, I will actually be buying an LCD for our second TV just because of the energy usage issue. I can't justify having a second TV that sucks energy at the same rate my dishwasher does.
 

coleridge

TRIBE Member
I read somewhere recently though that these smart meters have security vulnerabilities that leave them open to potential hacker attacks lol. I didn't read into it too closely but they seemed to be implying that hackers could turn off power remotely to people's houses or maybe alter the data coming out of them.
 

octo

TRIBE Member
Coleridge, I was shocked to see how much power the plasma tv uses as well. What a pig indeed! Are LCD's screens any better?
LCDs are much more efficient than older plasmas. New plasmas (as of last year) have substantially improved efficiency.
 
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[SQUARE]

TRIBE Member
cool, I know what im playing with when I get home. I will get my damn mother to turn that annoying buzzing light over the sink off, even if it kills me!!!


wait, does this only work if you have a smart meter? and do you have to live in toronto?
I know other areas are in the midst of installing the smart meters. For example, Collingwood has changed over most of the meters in town but not all so where you live may or may not be smart metered yet...although it will be eventually.
 

ian

TRIBE Member
As nice as the new online features are (and should result is our using less electricity as a province which is great) what you folks seem to have missed is that this is a huge rate increase in disguise. THE BEST RATE NOW AVAILABLE in the time of day rating scheme is the same as the OLD RATE!!!! This means that 2/3s of the day you are paying WAY MORE!
 

Re: Shoe

TRIBE Member
As nice as the new online features are (and should result is our using less electricity as a province which is great) what you folks seem to have missed is that this is a huge rate increase in disguise. THE BEST RATE NOW AVAILABLE in the time of day rating scheme is the same as the OLD RATE!!!! This means that 2/3s of the day you are paying WAY MORE!
Not true.

For individual consumers, the Ontario Energy Board regulates the electricity rates.

For residential consumers on the old system (no smart meters):
5.8 cents/kWh for the first n kWh (1000 kWh in winter, 600 kWh in summer)
6.7 cents/kWh for the rest

For time-of-use rates (smart meters):
4.4 cents/kWh for off-peak
8.0 cents/kWh for mid-peak
9.3 cents/kWh for on-peak
The hours corresponding to off/mid/on-peak are different in summer and winter.

See Electricity Prices | OEB for more info.

Note that this is only the "electricity" portion of your bill; it doesn't include the Delivery, Regulatory and Debt retirement charges.

You can track the Ontario market wholesale electricity price in real-time at the IESO website.
 

diablo

TRIBE Member
Keep your rates the same by doing your cooking, drying laundry and watching TV between 11PM and 5AM!

What a great system!
 
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Dialog

TRIBE Member
For example I get a noticeable difference in energy usage just by unplugging all the items in my house that sit in standby like: the tv, Wii, PS3 etc....
Apparently the clothes washer and dryer are often the worst offenders, and if people could realize how much juice each one used, it would really encourage things like drip/line drying. So maybe these meters will encourage that.

IIRC the old-school digital cable boxes used one watt less while on standby than they did while 'on'. Constantly hot to the touch.
 

lobo

TRIBE Member
Yeah I got mine installed about 2 months ago but up here in Vaughan we are not in the time based billing setup yet. Powerstream is the hydro company up here and I'm not aware of them setting us up on a webpage yet to see our usage. I believe Toronto Hydro is the only one doing this so far.

Lobo
 

unique2100

TRIBE Promoter
Ugghhh I got a 500 pound electricity bill for 3 and a half months. There is no way I'm paying it. These fuckers have been charging me day rates for night time as well. Plus the meter is fucking broken, and it's taken them 2 months to come fix it. By the time they do I'm sure my bill will actualy be 500 pounds, which there is no way I'm paying. GRRR Scottish Power.
 

Fillmore

TRIBE Member
Yes LCDs use way less energy. As much as I hate LCDs and believe them completely inferior to plasmas, I will actually be buying an LCD for our second TV just because of the energy usage issue. I can't justify having a second TV that sucks energy at the same rate my dishwasher does.
hahah yeah we went with an LCD for our second TV but it was more so just because there is a window in the room and as you know Plasmas become mirrors when light hits them.

I am of the same mind though, I much prefer the picture on the plasma but as you mentioned at the cost to run the dam thing I could probably buy a whole new LCD.
 
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ian

TRIBE Member
Not true.

For individual consumers, the Ontario Energy Board regulates the electricity rates.

For residential consumers on the old system (no smart meters):
5.8 cents/kWh for the first n kWh (1000 kWh in winter, 600 kWh in summer)
6.7 cents/kWh for the rest

For time-of-use rates (smart meters):
4.4 cents/kWh for off-peak
8.0 cents/kWh for mid-peak
9.3 cents/kWh for on-peak
The hours corresponding to off/mid/on-peak are different in summer and winter.

See Electricity Prices | OEB for more info.

Note that this is only the "electricity" portion of your bill; it doesn't include the Delivery, Regulatory and Debt retirement charges.

You can track the Ontario market wholesale electricity price in real-time at the IESO website.
Okay well I got part of that wrong if your numbers are correct, but the average is insane still. Way higher.
 

Re: Shoe

TRIBE Member
Apparently the clothes washer and dryer are often the worst offenders, and if people could realize how much juice each one used, it would really encourage things like drip/line drying. So maybe these meters will encourage that.
These smart meters are probably the only effective way to get individual consumers to shift their consumption out of the peak times. Less peak demand means that the Ontario electricity system will be less reliant on the more expensive coal/gas/oil stations (including imports from the US).

Agreed that people probably have very little idea how much (or how little) power individual items use.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Yes, you need a smart meter. Not sure about the city thing.
The government's target is for smart meters to be installed in all homes and business by the end of 2010. Of course, installed does not necessarily mean communicating in real-time, so that could be a while longer.

As for the question about whether time-of-use prices are actually a rate increase, the Toronto Hydro website allows you to compare your electricity costs under the current time-of-use prices versus what you would've paid under the old prices. In my case, it is almost identical. Time of use prices are supposed to be set based on the "average" consumption profile of an Ontario residential user. Those who shift their consumption more to off-peak hours should benefit.

The downside of it all ... we're going to be paying more for the smart meter itself, so even those who shift their consumption would need to save enough to offset that additional cost.
 
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