I am not the only crazy person in Canada

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


Peaksaver installed

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.

Winter Time of Use Evening Peak is Killing Me

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!

Christmas and Hydro

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.


Need more data

The difficulty in analysing the data I can download from Whitby Hydro is not having a clear record of what was happening during the time being analyzed. So when I review our consumption, I have no idea what caused the increase (or decrease) in use. So I have decided to make a tracking chart where I can record dishwasher runs, washing and drying of clothes, etc. Also on my chart will be whether I shut down the computers or not as I haven’t been consistent with that.  I know this seems super anal but without it I have no clue what is happening to cause my hydro to spike.  And in related news, PeakSaver program finally called and we have an appointment booked in December to hook us up.  We will also get a new power monitor so that should help with the real time power saving.

PeakSaver Plus Program

When I came home yesterday there was a doorhanger on the front door for the PeakSaver Plus program. Perfect I thought.  This ties right into my energy management plan.  It was promoted by Whitby Hydro so I knew it wasn’t one of the alternate energy resellers. I was hoping it was a program that would save me money during the peak times because as a home office, I use most of my power during the peak time. But its not.

The program allows the hydro company to cycle down participants power when they are reaching their maximums. This prevents blackouts and saves the utility money by not requiring the purchase of power from other sources. The utility has the ability to turn off your air conditioner, hot water heater, or pool pump for 15 minute periods as required. There is apparently no noticeable difference to the homeowner during this shutdown.

So what’s in it for the homeowner? Obviously, if they are reducing your power consumption during peak times, this should reduce your energy costs. But after researching the program online, it seems most participants have had few reductions over the past 2 years. So to sweeten the deal, PeakSaver is offering 2 freebies when you sign up. A free programmable thermostat that will also allow you to control the temperature over the internet and a free energy monitor. We have a programmable thermostat already but I am hoping they have to come install it and can put it in a different location. Fingers crossed.  We also have an energy monitor that we had installed before the smart meter was installed. It hasn’t made it back onto the meter so again, I am hoping they will install that too!

Go to www.peaksaverplus-enrolment.com/ to sign up. Whitby is not the only utility participating so check if yours is part of this promotion.  After signing up, apparently someone will be contacting us.  I will post a follow up once they do.

October 2012 Hydro Usage

I can go online and download the hydro usage for our house. Here is the graph of October 2012. I started this “project” on October 25th so this graph works as the BEFORE snapshot. The graph does correlate to the average temperature which I guess makes some sense for the summer but we try to limit our use of the air conditioning so I am not sure why it should map that closely.  I have my suspicions about the validity of the actual data but haven’t kept any logs to match against. That is something I will have to do in the future. We also own a hydro tracking device that we had installed last year but had to remove when the smart meter was installed. The device allows real time monitoring versus the “day after” information I can get from the hydro website. I will have to nag my husband to get it installed again.