Hydro One’s Revenue Grab
So far we’ve talked about Smart Meters and electricity prices, and how they can impact your household budget.
Hydro One is introducing Smart Meters in an effort to balance the grid load – in other words, they’re trying to get more people to use more electricity during off-peak hours in order not to have to build more generating stations. This actually makes a lot of sense, both economically, and in terms of the environment and climate change.
A good portion of Ontario’s power is hydro-electric, produced, for example, at Niagara Falls, and here in Cornwall, at the Moses Saunders Dam. If we ignore the environmental aspects of a dam, this is basically green energy, and is a renewable resource.
The large amount of power coming from the Province’s nuclear stations is also green, in the sense that these stations produce no carbon dioxide or smog producing emissions. Canadian supplies of uranium are also relatively limitless, so there is not the chance we will run out of uranium, as we will with oil and natural gas, so for all intents and purposes, nuclear can be considered a “virtual” renewable resource. (We’re not going to discuss the disposal of nuclear waste at this time, as this is a controversial and completely different question).
These stations produce electricity most efficiently and economically when running steadily at full capacity, and can handle much of the “base-load” required by the province. However, when Ontario’s industrial and domestic consumers all want lots of electricity at the same time, (for example, during a mid-week afternoon when the temperature is 30° with high relative humidity), these stations cannot produce enough power, so Hydro One has to bring coal and gas fired stations online to handle the increased load.
This is expensive, and contributes to smog and climate change. Natural gas is not as bad as coal in this aspect (coal is probably the worst fuel going), but our natural gas supplies are not going to last forever.
Hydro One, therefore, has two options – it can continue its present system of pricing, which will result in steadily increasing energy bills and pollution for everyone, or it can encourage consumers to make better use of the existing resource by introducing a variable price for power. This is exactly what Smart Meters are intended to do.
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