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 :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Value of Electricity

Our Smartmeter was activated on September 9 meaning that we are now on TOU pricing for electricity.  Across Ontario there are outcries that the Smatmeters are actually costing people money.  It is a definite that the TOU pricing combined with the new HST have raised the cost of electricity in Ontario.  The HST alone has raised the price of electricity by 8% bringing the total tax on hydro bills to 13%.  The NDP have a petition to remove the HST immediately from the hydro bills but so far the HST is still in effect.  We get flyers in with our hydro bill to keep us informed.

First off Hydro One shows a pie chart of where our electricity dollars go.  Only 43% of our electricity dollars are used for actual hydro.  The rest is all in services charges including taxes.  The pie chart is wrong in that is says the HST is 12% when in fact it is 13%1.  In an attempt to make us feel good about the rising costs of electricity that are predicted to be an increase of 32% by the end of 2011, Hydro One gives us a couple of lame tips for saving electricity like not preheating the oven, waiting until the dishwasher is full and doing laundry during off-peak pricing.  Well that's all and good but the price saved by doing any of these would not even add up enough to offset the HST!  These types are at best a feeble attempt on the part of Hydro One to con you into thinking you are actually able to do anything to help with the costs of electricity.

Furthermore Hydro One tries to convince us that electricity is  a goof value compared to other activities.  I think most of us know this but they use rather dramatic comparisons to prove their point like:

  • dinner cooked at home for 4 costs about 80¢  but eating out could cost $60 - Somewhere along the lines they forgot to add in the cost of food for 4.  Quite frankly if they can cook dinner for 4 for 80¢ I'd love them to give me a few tips!
  • the cost of keeping a family of four connected to the internet, cable and 3 cell phones could cost around $180 per month - True it could cost that much but they did not factor in the cost of the electricity for these services nor did they acknowledge that electricity is needed for these services.  Some families are trying to make a living online simply to cut their out of house employment costs. 
  • the average Ontarian household uses 286 litres of gas per month (about $300.25) or $123.75 more on gas than electricity - Well duh!  The average Ontarian uses a vehicle to get back and forth to work.  If they don't go to work they really won't have much need for electricity. It is important to point out that gasoline is more expensive than hydro to begin with so this is comparing apples to oranges.  Besides a good portion of Ontarians live where there is no public transportation.  What would you have them do, go back to horse and buggy?  Then there would be all the costs associated with keeping a horse and buggy.
  • the average cost of a family of four going to the movies is about $50 while the cost for movie night at home is 40¢ - Again they did not factor in the true costs of a movie night at home that would include movie rental and snacks.
I'm sorry Hydro One but you are getting a failing grade.  The people of Ontario are not stupid and they won't be duped into falling into your dumbing it down tactics!  It wouldn't take a fifth grader two minutes to see you are glossing costs over to make it look like electricity is cheap.  It is far from cheap.  Take one good look at what you suggested.  The average family in Ontario can't afford to eat out.  Food security is a very real problem in Ontario where many cannot afford food much less the electricity to cook it.  Some type of television service is likely the only source of indoor entertainment for many.   Those who cannot afford to pay for a television service may if they are very lucky pick up one or two stations from antennas that are quickly going the way of the dinasaur.  They can't afford to rent a movie let alone pay to go to a movie.

We bought into energy conservation.  We have high energy efficient, EcoStar rated new appliances.  We use CFL light bulbs almost exclusively.  We run the dishwasher and washer before going to bed or on the weekend and then only when full.  We have unplugged every electrical appliance we can think of.  We cook on the outdoor natural gas grill when possible to avoid using electricity.  We use the most efficient, lowest energy user when cooking indoors.  We seldom watch television during the day.  Guess what?  OUR HYDRO BILLS HAVE INCREASED!  So for Hydro One to put out these environmentally unfriendly inserts in our bill telling us how to reduce our hydro consumption is totally assine!  For every household that finds a way to reduce their hydro consumption, the Government of Ontario and Hydro One will find one more excuse to raise the cost of electricity in this province.

Garden Gnome