"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.