Saturday, April 9, 2011

Smart as a Fox

I’m getting used to typing in the semi-darkness. The sunny days are the best because the sunlight streams through the windows and onto my computer keyboard. But those dark and rainy days make seeing to type much more difficult.

I’ve stopped turning the lights on now that my new Smart Meter is up and running. It’s supposed to help me lower my power consumption. What it has lowered is my bank account.

My latest cottage power bill is close to $1,300 for three months. Yeah, just over $400 a month. I can lease a car for that and live in it.

The Smart Meter says that we used 72 kilowatts of power every day at the cottage December through February. Odd because during the same period last year, we used 10 kilowatts a day. In fact the most we ever have used at the cottage, taken on average, is around 50 kilowatts a day.  This winter we were at the cottage the same amount of time, and had the electric heat turned lower; in most cases just set above zero Celsius to prevent freezing. We use wood to heat the place.

Smart, like Al Capone
As expected, a call to Hydro One, or whatever Ontario Hydro is called these days, got us nowhere. Basically, the reply was: “You used it, you pay for it.” The standard response to complaints about high power bills is that the old meters were not accurate, and the new Smart Meters are. Yeah, okay, I get it.

I did get an explanation of the 555 kilowatt hours that I was charged for, but did not use. Power apparently leaks from hydro lines before it gets to your place. They estimate the leakage and charge you for it.

The complaints, and the responses, are not confined to Ontario. Higher bills from Smart Meters have prompted thousands of complaints in California, British Columbia and anywhere else they have been introduced.

The power companies, however, say tens of thousands of people are wrong. Smart Meters are more accurate and save you money. I’ll remember that while I’m saving to pay the $1,300 bill.

No comments:

Post a Comment