After reading a great article over on Canadian Budget Binder called Get Smart with your Smart Meter, I decided it was time to sit down an read the blurb from my hydro company about the new Smart Meter and time of use rates. In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know.
There are 3 price periods: on-peak, mid-peak, and off-peak. On-peak is the most expensive time (for me, almost 11 cents per kWh hour), mid-peak is next (9.2 cents per kWh hour), and off-peak is 6.2 cents per kWh. As you can see, it’s much, much cheaper to do things in the off-peak times!
So, the next question is – when is off-peak? Weekends and statutory holidays are always off-peak, as is 7 p.m. to 7 a.m, in both winter and summer. The most expensive times in the summer on the weekdays are the middle of the day (11 a.m to 5 p.m. – when it’s hottest!), and in the winter, they’re 7 to 11 in the morning, and 5 to 7 at night.
Now you’re thinking – well, this sucks – it’s the most expensive when I need electricity the most! I agree, it does suck. My husband and I are gone from 7:30 to 6 each week (and some times later than that), so the majority of our electricity use is off peak. That’s not a viable option for everyone though, and even we have days off or the odd sick day, when we’re on peak electricity time.
Here are some tips to help you cut back on use, or avoid using it entirely during peak times:
1. Use as much natural light as possible, and avoid leaving on lights that aren’t in use.
2. Put things off that don’t have to be done right away. If you have a timer on your dishwasher, set it up so the dishwasher goes on late at night. Put laundry off until the evening or weekends.
3. If you run the A/C – try to get the house cool over night and in the early morning, and then keep the cool air in (ie. avoid opening doors frequently etc). Ceiling fans can help with this. If it’s feasible, you can shut the A/C during peak periods, and retreat to the basement.
4. Review your electricity bill. It should tell you how much you’re using when. See if you can figure out what your biggest drains are and how to reschedule them or avoid them.
5. Unplug things that aren’t in use. T.V.s, video game systems, computers – the can all use up electricity even when they’re not on.
Have you been hit hard by the new time of use rates? What are you doing to fight back?