Scarborough residents will soon be completely switched over from their hydro meter to the new smart meter system.
“It’s provincially mandated that by the end of 2010, all of Ontario will have switched over to the smart meter system,” said Heather Sande, who was at Ward 43’s Environment Day on behalf of Toronto Hydro to discuss the change-over with residents.
The new digital meters directly relay residents’ electricity consumption, so instead of having someone check meters every two months and estimate usage, they get billed for exactly what they use, said Sande.
They will also be able to pay different rates depending on the time they use power, a new way of billing that could make Scarborough residents uneasy. With the addition of by-the-minute billing, homes will also be dealing with peak, mid-peak, and off-peak hours, which “change depending on the season.” Sande said.
But this new system isn’t as bad as it sounds, she said. Electricity is going to be more expensive during peak hours, about the same during mid-peak hours, and less expensive during off-peak hours. Weekends, holidays and any time after 9 p.m. and before 7 a.m. are always off-peak.
“The good news is there is more off-peak than peak hours,” Sande said. “For people who are concerned about their bills going up, it should balance out to be approximately the same as they’re paying now or less.”
The new system can help to empower Scarborough residents to take charge of their energy consumption, she said. “You can login online and monitor your use and that can help you adjust your habits and save you money.”
Residents can visit torontohydro.com/electricsystem/residential/smart_meters.html for more information.