Here’s the latest from our Columnist Richard Komorowski. If you wish to contact Richard email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meters and Retired People:
In last week’s column, I discussed the impact of Smart Meters on small business, using a convenience store as a model. However, as a reader kindly pointed out, I was being too kind to Hydro One, and the figures I quoted were not quite accurate.
I failed to account for the premium Hydro One charges their customers for line, or transmission losses. Because of inherent and unavoidable losses due to resistance in the lines that carry electricity, not all the power that leaves the generating station actually arrives at the homeowner’s meter. There’s nothing that can be done about it – it’s a fact of life. All the same, someone has to pay for the lost power, i.e. you, the consumer.
To understand what line losses are, a good analogy would be a leaky hose. You can pump 100 litres of water into one end, but only get 95 litres out from the other end. The other 5 litres is lost through leaks. It’s exactly the same story with electrical transmission lines.
To compensate for the power lost in transmission, Hydro One multiplies your actual use (in kWh read at the meter) by a factor to arrive at how many kWhs they must generate to get you that power. If you’re a home owner, for every 100 kWh that passes through your meter, Hydro One will charge you for 107.8. If you’re a business, they’ll charge you for 106.1 kWh. Here is another example of the homeowner subsidising business, as the actual line losses are the same in both cases.
The Convenience Store
Last week we discussed a convenience store, and assumed they used 3684 kWh over a 28 day period. The store used 6 kWh per hour when open, 4 when closed. The second line shows what they would pay if they reduced consumption by 10% around the clock, and compares it with the current Cornwall Electric amount for the same consumption.
As you can see, the picture for small business outside Cornwall is not quite as bright as mistakenly implied last week, but all the same, there is so little difference in the bottom line with Smart Meters compared to today’s billing there is little incentive to take significant measures to reduce peak demand.
The Retired Homeowner (or renter)
Let’s now look at the case facing a retired couple. During the day, they use about 1.5 kWh per hour; when they go to bed, they turn off all the lights, turn down the heat, etc., and reduce consumption to 0.4 kWh per hour. On average, they use about 800 kWh per month.
As you can see in the second table, total costs will rise with the introduction of Smart Meters, but not by an exorbitant amount. This brings on, again, the legitimate question: Is it worthwhile trying to cut back, and does the proposed price scheme really encourage conservation and load balancing?
And again, as always, there are definite advantages to living in Cornwall compared to other parts of the province.
In the coming weeks, we shall look at ways to conserve and reduce costs, without going bankrupt doing so.
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