Time-of-Use Electric Billing: Be Exceptional, Not Typical

I attended the Innisfil Hydro session on Time-of-Use metering, which made it clear that I am not a ‘typical’ customer of electric power. Our 2 person household uses about a third of the average kilowatt hours consumed by Innisfil households. That’s partly because we use natural gas for some appliances, we have a relatively smaller house and apparently we have fewer tech toys than a typical family.

The four largest consumers of energy (any source) in the home are: heating; cooling; hot water; and appliances. The first two account for almost half and the later two make up about a quarter.

Major strategies for reducing electric bills could be:

Heating Set-back thermostatImproved insulation

Seal leaks

Cooling Reduce air conditioningUse ceiling fans

Close window drapes/blinds

Hot Water Low flow showersTime limit showers

Do dishes and laundry off-peak

Appliances If appliances are nearing replacement age, consider new Energy Star options

If you can spare some major coin, a company in the UK recently started touting a new washing machine that it claims can clean a load of “lightly soiled” laundry in 12 minutes. The company says it can reduce “energy usage by 30 percent and water consumption by 15 percent – which apparently equates to saving enough water to fill 17 average-sized swimming pools. This is based on the average machine using 90 liters (23.7 US Gal) of water compared to the 12 minute cycle using 30 liters (7.7 Gal), five times a week.” (New Russell Hobbs washing machine cleans up in world record time, Gizmag, March 17, 2011)

One distraught Innisfil resident complained to the press this week that he would be faced with a $400 hydro bill. He claimed that, like his friend, he would have to move to another lower-cost town. Really? At 13.5¢ / kWhr, his energy consumption represents more than 2,900 kWhr or about 3 times the average household. Whether or not it is billed as time of use or flat rate, who would want to keep paying for that much electricity? Why would it not occur to someone in that position to look instead for energy savings, which must be relatively plentiful and readily achievable?

There are still opportunities to attend one of the Time of Use Information Sessions sponsored by Innisfil Hydro. Click on the link to register.

Published previously: Staying Warm Without Using Fossil Fuels