Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time of Use – Electricity Charges

November 1 marked a change in “time of use” (TOU) electricity charges in Ontario, Canada for those with “smart meters”.  A smart meter is one that records the time of day that you use electricity and sends that info back to the hydro company – so that they can bill you for the time of day you used electricity.    From May to October – the peak time of use charges during the week ie Monday to Friday was in the afternoon, ending at 5:00 pm, the mid time of use charge was between 5-7 pm and the lowest charges between 7:00 pm to 7:00 am.   Depending on when you use electricity – will depend on what your rate is and electricity bill will be.    Weekend rates were the lowest – all weekend long.   

We were just getting used to the “summer” rate schedule and working our schedules around it to maximize on the lowest electricity rates and we were doing quite well at it and managed to reduce our electricity bill down by approx 40%  - which was well worth the effort in changing our schedules.      As of November 1st that has all changed again.  Peak time is now 7:00 am-noon.  Mid rate noon to 5:00 pm, peak rate – right at a time when most are trying to cook dinner  is now 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

So in order to keep our electricity bill at the lower costs we were enjoying, some changes needed to be made.   For instance, I try not to use energy hogging applicances between 5:00-7:00 pm at night.   If I do need to use the oven between 5-7pm I cook a couple of meals at a time, so that we have another one ready for re-heating another night.  I’ve dusted off the crock pot and cook  larger meals (enough for leftovers) during the day when the rate is lower.  I don’t use the washing machine during peak times and only use when the rate is at its lowest.   I’ve given up using the dryer and hang dry our clothes on our homemade indoor clothes line.  The dishwasher runs only after 7 pm and before 7 am . Most of my baking is done on the weekend when the rate is at it's lowest.   I keep the time of use chart handy to remind us of the TOU schedule in various spots in the house.

All this to say that you need to be flexible, learn to accept change, have a plan B, because life is always changing and we need to learn to adapt.      

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