Got your 'Smart Meter' Yet?

"By 2010, every home and small business in Ontario will have a smart meter," reads the official government site, Smart Meters Ontario ... Wait a sec, that's next year, isn't it? And, well, what's a smart meter?

If that's what you're thinking, you're probably not alone.

The Ontario government first established a target for the installation of 800,000 smart meters - that measures the consumption of energy - by December 2007. Now the province is rolling out the deployment of smart meters for ALL electricity consumers by December 2010.

It is expected that Ontarians will use their smart meters to most cost-effectively manage their use of electricity. So you'll end up paying less for electricity used during periods of low system demand (nighttime, holidays, weekends), and more during times of high system demand.

Little Interest by the Public

Despite the economic incentive - and the environmental-friendly aspect -  Ontario residents (nor Canadians in general) don't appear terribly interested in smart meters for their homes, according to a survey conducted last year conducted last year by Ipso Reid.

The Canadian Interactive Reid Report
found that:

  • Nearly one-third (30%) of online Ontarians are unaware of smart meters

 

  • Three-quarters of online Canadians, outside of Ontario, are unaware of them

 

  • After being presented with a description of smart meters...
    • Almost one-third (31%) in Ontarians stated that they were extremely or very interested
    • Nearly one-quarter (23%) of online Canadians said the same
    • Four in ten Canadians (40%) indicate that they are not interested in smart meters


Google Gadget for Smart Meters

Interesting side-note: If there is business to be had, you can pretty much count on the fact of Google getting into it - and it turns out monitoring consumer use of electricity is no different. The uber-search engine launched its GooglePowerMeter earlier this year.

Toronto Hydro is one of Google's first energy partners for its online tool that works with utility smart meters. For now, it's only available to a limited group of customers, but Google plans to expand its adoption soon.

Oh, and of course, Microsoft was quick to jump in its own digital tool that works with smart meters - Hohm - that also provides home energy reports and energy-saving recommendations.

If you live in Ontario, what are you doing about a smart meter for your home? If you live elsewhere, do you think smart meters are a good idea; do you wish your province mandated them? Leave your comments below.

7 Comments

  1. kathy hutton 09/03/2009 at 4:18 PM

    I live in BC...and I want a smart meter. I wish my province mandated them. Where can I get one?

  2. Bruce 09/29/2009 at 7:18 PM

    We were promised all these great fantastic savings initially with the Smart Meter system - but wait a second. The OEB has already raised the rates. So much for savings - 4.2 cents per kw hr - wasn't that 2.8 before? yet again - kicking the little guy when he's down.

    Hang on Ontarioans ... prepare for another 30% expenses on your electrical bills. Just what we need in a recession.. more bills.

  3. Anonymous 10/14/2009 at 5:56 PM

    they charge much more than before. only the night time is cheap. so what is the point. Most people can not use night time to cook and do laundry. it means that we are charged more.

  4. Martin Stepanek 01/03/2010 at 9:13 AM

    This is nothing more than another blasted tax grab by the provincial liberals. The issue of the power grid which is why this meter was implemented in the first place, is a way of penalizing the little guy for the overuse of power by industry. If our politicians had 3 cents worth of intelligence, they would give industry major tax incentives (complete write offs) to install windmills and solar panels on all of their commercial buildings. Problem solved.

  5. Heather 01/24/2010 at 9:48 AM

    I live in Ontario and we got our Smart Meter installed by our utiity company, Horizon Utilities, last year - and it started its true use last month; we now get Time of Use bills - charging us more for use of electricity during peak times, less cost during lower-use hours. I confess we haven't been looking at our new TOU bills yet; we should be.. so we can alter our usage behaviour to save money.

    I blogged about it at http://www.ecorenovate.ca

    Thanks for writing about this!

  6. Matthew Smiths 03/16/2010 at 10:12 AM

    Who looks in their utility cupboard every day to see the gas meter and understands how much they have spent? I think Smart Meters are a good idea and can help people. I found a video about Energy Smart Meters which explains the basics. Smart Meters will monitor electricity consumption and help to understanding where to save money and reducing carbon emissions. Simple as that! Why it is not worth spending money?

  7. Ron 09/09/2010 at 10:09 AM

    Its really funny reading all this, just imagine, just imagine if you have to dish out money to install this smart meter on your home!!!!!

    Mine is considered a difficult install and I have to pay to have this "Smart Meter" on my house!.

    My current meter is fine and I did not ask for this.

    Rant off

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