Published On: Tue, Sep 22nd, 2009

Smart Meters and Retired People – Komorowski’s Korner – Hydro One

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Here’s the latest from our Columnist Richard Komorowski.   If you wish to contact Richard email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com

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.

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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?

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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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  1. FakeName says:

    I really appreciate the fact that there are people making efforts to understand the work done by govt regulated companies. and trying to raise awareness among general public. But i would like to bring your attention to different components in hydro bill. Each component goes to different companies involved in delivery electricity to homes and business and for each component, involved parties like your local utility or hydro one, ontario power authority, and indenpendent system operator (IESO) present their case to ontario energy board (OEB) for any rate hike. There are mainly three charges in your bill; commodity charge (paid directly to generators), provincial benefit (paid to renewable generators), and delivery charges (paid to local utility or hydro one). Please note that after smart meter implementation, only commodity component will change. Remaining two components will not change. Thus consumers are not actually going to pay more under smart meters. However, people who use power during peak hours will pay more subsidising people using less power during peak hours. For the second component, provincial benefit, collected money goes to pay to contracted generators like RESOP etc. In future, number of contacted generators will increase, thus increasing cusotmer’s bill. Third component, delivery charges, may stay same or move up depending on cost born by utility in near future.
    There is another solution available if someone doesn’t want to buy hydro from local utility, sign a long term contract with a retailer. Perhaps, you should conduct similar analysis for retailers as well. Retailer electricity cost will give you a better appreciation of electricity prices.
    In my opinion, energy prices in north america in history were lower from rest of the world by far. Its about time to join the rest of the world. Its time to start saving or pay same price as what people in other counties are paying.
    Keep up the good work. we need more people like you here.

  2. Guy Stopard says:

    These companies that say they are doing it for the good of the country or whatever is shameful. When they implimented the smart meter,did they think about the average person (mothers who work at home and how they would have to stay up past midnight to do the laundry (who cares) the shift worker who sleeps during the day, (who cares) The retired person who cannot stay up past 10:pm (who cares).These are just a few of the ones who fall victim to this wonderful company who cares for the less fortunate. By putting the needs of the average person before the needs,of a company that has lost some profit and seeks to recover the dollars, that would make them richer once again.Way to go Hydro One and our great government you have done it again. You have shown your compassion and penalized the backbone of our country.It does,all come down to who cares?????AND BY THESE SMART METERS being installed it shows Hydro One and the Govt doesn’t. But it’s all about green,the green of the dollar.Sorry,but I am tired of swallowing the concept of what is best for the people when it is not!!!!!! . Guy Stopard.

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