Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ontario Gouge Meters

Every once and a while I like to gripe about things in my home province. Well, mainly I gripe about how empty the think-tank of the current Ontario government is. Really, they make their own ammunition.

This time my gripe is about how greedy they are. And first before I start my rant I do want to say that I don't mind paying for services. Sometimes some are valuable. But when I'm getting taxed and the people that are supposed to handle the money properly but don't (like having a Minister of Finance that doesn't have any accounting experience), I get a little ticked.  A good example is the Ontario Liberal party giving themselves raises but wanting to freeze the pay rates for the rest of the public sector. See? Not very bright.

Anyways, here's why I'm griping:

About a month ago I sat through a "Stay Cool" presentation. The idea's good; tips to stay cool in the summers since degree days over 30 C increase every year. It's a health hazard. It makes it uncomfortable when I have to go outside to smoke. There's been many reported deaths due to heat stroke and one stat that stuck out was that the poor die because they can't afford air conditioning. Me, being the forward thinker believe that air conditioners should eventually become a necessity, like heaters in the winter, instead of a creature comfort since the sun isn't shrinking anytime soon.

Anyways, what does our current government implement? "Smart" Readers. Meaning that you pay more for hydro at certain times of the day, mainly when the sun is out in the summer and all day in the winter. This helps the poor immensely. Especially with HST.  When the provincial government says “smart” - think the opposite; just like when they call themselves Liberal - think the opposite.

For a country that basically dodged the recession, Ontario should be the richest province but these guys couldn't organise a piss in a brewery with their financial and decision making skills.
Flipping through the Province’s Smart Meter Q & A, I didn't find anything positive about this scam. They didn't even bother to try and sugar coat anything. It was basically "We're dicks so deal with it". If there's any kind of benefit, it's usually preceded by a "could", "can", "may", “might" or "possibly" That sounds about right since the Liberals don't know too much of anything.

It starts off with:

“Between now and 2025, Ontario will replace about 80 per cent of its electricity system. There are several ways to do that:
  1. building new generating facilities,
  2. refurbishing current facilities (where that makes economic sense), and
  3. investing in conservation and energy management tools so that we require less new electricity generating capacity. “
Here’s a brilliant idea: How about the Ontario Government stops giving every County 2 – 4 million dollars in grants for a new hockey arena and put it towards the above. Then rates wouldn’t have to go up. Maybe I’m too smart for the Provincial Liberals.

“Q. How will smart meters help?

A. Smart meters – plus time-of-use-rates – will provide you with a cost management tool. Smart metering can also help Ontario build an efficient, cost-effective and more environmentally sound electricity sysem (typo):

•Smart metering can help reduce the total electricity capacity we need now, and the amount of new capacity we need to build for the future. Smart meters provide you with a clear incentive to shift consumption away from the daily peaks. “

Incentive? Where the hell's the incentive again? Incentives are good things. I didn't find that anywhere on the Q & A.

“ •Smart metering can help Ontario to reduce its environmental footprint. By reducing our peak demand, we'll reduce our use of the less environmentally attractive resources that are called on when demand is high. “

They should focus more on solar instead of ripping people off that implemented it already. They did a 27-per-cent cut in the subsidy paid out to farmers and small businesses for producing solar energy because "of the unexpected popularity of ground-mounted solar projects."

“•A smart meter system will open up the opportunity for new kinds of conservation and demand management programs in the future. In the future smart meters could allow the introduction of different time-based incentive programs, or the opportunity for you to control your energy use through energy management devices or smart appliances. “

I love the "could". "Could" doesn't mean anything. I “could” grow another 3 arms next week.

I found this to be my favourite:

"Q. Why would I want a smart meter? What are the benefits of smart meters for me?

A. Here are three of the major new benefits that you'll see as soon as time-of-use rates are in effect:

  1. 1.You'll be able to take new actions to manage your energy bill. With a smart meter and time-of-use rates, you'll be able to take advantage of two cost-cutting strategies. These include:
    Reducing your electricity use across the higher cost (on-peak and mid-peak) periods; and
    Shifting your electricity use to lower cost (off-peak) periods.
  2. You'll get rapid feedback about your electricity consumption. Your information about your electricity use will be available to you the next day via the Internet and/or by telephone. Plus your electricity bills will provide a summary of your consumption during each TOU rate period over the previous billing period.
  3. Your electricity bills will reflect the readings taken and by your smart meter over the previous period. That means your bills will always be as up-to-date as possible."
It would have been easier to say, "Well, there's not really any benefit at all." Good thing they're not trying to implement readers that waste time like the above answer did.

The Q/A that burned my ass the most was:

“Q. Will my electrical bill go up?

A. That will depend, in part, on you. Once you are billed on a time-of-use basis, depending how and when you use electricity, you may pay a bit more or less or see very little difference. With Smart Meters, those who work to conserve and shift their usage to off-peak, weekends or holidays may benefit the most. Currently those customers see no price advantage no matter what time of the day they use power. “

A simple Yes would have sufficed. That was followed by the insulting:

“Q. TOU sounds complicated.

A. It's true that, at first, you'll need to be more aware of how and when you use energy, but over time, it will simply become a habit. Smart metering will give you better information and a tool to help you make informed decisions about your electrical usage. Once you review this information, you'll be able to develop the best strategies for you.”

"It'll simply become habit"? What the fuck kind of answer is that? That's the thinking of the Government of Ontario.

So instead of penalizing people that run their air conditioners after it's hot and wasting energy, you pay more when you have to use them.  I guess it'll be cheaper to leave my computer lights on all night

So there's my rant. It'll get warmer, no one can afford to pay for electricity, a bunch of deaths. Pretty cool. Kind of makes me want to move. Next they'll say that Natural Gas is a good alternative. My alternative would be to have the province hire an actual accountant and not have a smug useless lawyer bastard leading the party. There's a thought.
And remember, Stay Cool.


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