What is a smart meter ?
A Smart meter is a meter that can record and report electricity consumption information automatically. It monitors and records how much electricity you use and when you use it. It then communicates this data on an hourly basis via wireless technology. Conventional (electromechanical) meters only measured how much electricity was used in total from one reading to the next reading, and had to be read manually in order to report that information. Smart meters measure how much electricity is used and when – and automatically sends that information to your utility, via wireless and other communications technologies. Smart meters will not automatically result in energy savings. Smart meters will allow you to view your hourly electricity consumption profile and will help you identify periods where you may wish to consider shifting usage to manage your electricity usage and costs.
Time-of-Use (TOU) Rates
Smart meters and time-of-use (TOU) pricing can help you manage your electricity costs. Ontario introduced time-of-use pricing to reflect the costs of producing electricity at different times of the day. There are three time-of-use periods:
- Off-peak – when demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use the majority of their electricity – nearly two thirds of it – during off-peak hours.
- Mid-peak – when demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day.
- On-peak – when demand is highest. The busiest times of day. Generally when people are cooking, firing up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.
Time-of-use (TOU) rates vary depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and the month of the year (summer or winter). This technology will provide you with the information you need to make choices about how and when you use electricity.
Environmental & Operational Benefits
With more than 12 million residents, Ontario is home to the nation’s largest population. Between now and 2025, Ontario will need to replace 80 percent of its electricity system to support the residents of our growing province. Building new supply is necessary, but so is conservation. The Smart Meter initiative offers a long-term conservation tool that can help all of us make small changes to our daily routines; keeping electricity prices down and reducing Ontario’s generation requirements. Bit by bit our cumulative effort has the potential to reduce peak demand for electricity and measurably curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
Shifting electricity use to off-peak periods reduces the need for investment in new electricity supply projects, which will help to moderate future rate increases. It also benefits the environment by reducing our reliance on additional power generation brought on-line or imported from other jurisdictions. Many create additional pollution and are more expensive to operate.