I have been blogging about our energy use and efforts to reduce it for a relatively short amount of time. Today I googled hydro contracts to see how the hydro resellers pricing compares (more on that in a future post) and came across another Canadian energy use blog. I haven’t read all of his (her?) posts yet but it looks very informative. So go check it out http://dontwasteyourenergy.blogspot.ca
The Peaksaver program gives you a new programmable thermostat and a wireless energy monitor. The new thermostat works great and has a slimmer profile which is good since we moved it from the existing location in my office (dining room per the original floorplan) and it is now in a traffic area.
The energy monitor is my new favourite toy. I did have to do a bit of reprogramming after the installer left. I think he programmed the summertime time of use schedule rather than the winter schedule. Not a big deal because I am using it mainly to monitor live usage of power rather than actual money spent. The monitor does have the rates and times programmed in so theoretically you can keep track of cost but it will never match your bill 100% because of timing etc.
We received our most recent hydro bill and I will post separately about that. But at a quick glance, the numbers look better than they were trending.
As of November, winter Time of Use (TOU) applies to billing rates. The problem is that the peak rate applies to 5 to 7 pm which is a prime time for most households, including ours. It gets dark so lights need to come on, people arrive home so the temperature needs to be turned up on cold days, dinner needs to be cooked, homework needs to be done, etc. Of course there are activities that we can delay until after 7 pm like laundry and the dishwasher but most of the activities listed are non-negotiable. I think it is a bit of a cash grab to make 5 – 7 pm a peak time. The summer peak time makes more sense when residential can adjust their behavior so as not to compete for power with commercial users. I guess I will be bringing out the candles and feeding the kids at 9 pm!
It seems the holidays are all about hydro consumption. Christmas lights, baking, entertaining. All of these consume power. But I don’t want to be a Grinch and completely boycott the whole event. This year we have decided not to hang the outside lights. However, I have done a bit of additional decor to make us still look festive. The interesting question will be whether the extra cost of the decor items will be less than the extra power consumption. We could get LED lights and apparently that will save us a ton of money. This guy does the whole crazy lights to music thing and using LEDs says it should only cost him an extra $15 in hydro vs the $300 it would cost with regular lights. But again, the initial outlay for LEDs is not cheap. I think we will try to take advantage of the Boxing Day (Week) deals on these for next year. The conundrum is whether to spend money now to save money later. Or whether to just skip the whole thing entirely. If any of you saw the movie Christmas with the Kranks, it is based on a John Grisham book called Skipping Christmas. As usual, the book is waaaay better than the movie.