What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Electricity Prices in Ontario

By now if you live in Ontario you will have received a flyer from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) stating the increased electricity prices. Of course the prices per kWh have increased once again. Why is this not surprising? Our Smart Meter was installed in February 2009 but to date has not been activated. The writing was on the wall for increased prices. In some ways the Time of Use (TOU) is another way to charge extra for electricity and because it will cause confusion for those not understanding the three different rates it will actually be easy to get more rate increases through without people noticing it. Yes the OEB determines the electricity rates but they are influenced by Hydro One. After all if the electric infrastructure needs upgrading the the OEB will approve rate increases to help cover the costs of the upgrading. These new meters have gone in at what cost and yet almost a year later ours is still not activated. Why not? In this day and age of computer technology activating those meters should be as easy as pressing a button. We are looking forward to having our Smart Meter activated which will eliminate estimated billing and allow us to track our actual hydro usage.

Now here is something I'm not understanding about the new TOU prices. They apply from 7 am to 9 pm weekdays being either mid-peak or on-peak hours. Off-peak pricing of 4.4¢ per kWh will 9 pm to 7 am weekdays, weekends and holiday. Hydro One is encouraging people to switch to off-peak hours for things like running the dishwasher and washing machine. If everyone makes this switch won't those hours become mid or on peak?

And while we are on the subject of utility price increases Dalton McGuinty and his fine government (note the sarcasm) has decided that we need to pay an additional 8% on utilities that were previously exempt from PST but will not be exempt with the new HST. So not only are are electricity prices going up we are going to pay an extra tax. I'm wondering how these increases are going to affect a province already so affected by the current recession?

Watch for the next post with some of the things we will be doing to minimize the impact of the new electricity rates combined with the new tax.

Garden Gnome