Toronto Hydro makes me happy!

I never thought I’d be excited about a utility company, never mind getting the bill from the utility company! Toronto Hydro has done some cool things lately around encouraging energy conservation. I’m loving it.

They’ve recently introduced time-of-use billing.  What’s that you ask? Well, simply put, when there’s a peak demand for power, you pay top dollar to use it.  When the demand is moderate, you pay a bit less. When there’s low demand, you get a bargain (or at least, that’s what Toronto Hydro would like you to think).

I’m not confident, but I think there has always been a slight difference in hydro rates depending when it was used.  Toronto Hydro is going out of their way to make sure people know about this now, and they’re marketing their socks off.

Recently, while I was waiting for a bus, the one that was approaching passed me by without stopping. (It was full). As I watched it drive away, I noticed a big advertisement on the back of the bus. It featured three identical laundry baskets.  One laundry basket was worth 9.3 cents/KwH, the middle was worth 8 cents, and the last was only 4.4 cents/KwH.  What was the difference?  The time the laundry was done.

Hey, I’m a visual learner.  This really spoke to me.  Since then I’ve seen the same concept applied to the dishwasher. The point being – you can get the same load of laundry or same load of dishes done for a less than half the price if you do it when there isn’t a demand on the energy.  It’s brilliant!

We’ve had to implement a certain amount of discipline around here to not just fire up the dishwasher when it’s full.  Now, we’re learning to make use of the timer on the thing and set it to go when we’re all in bed.  The laundry is a different matter.  Hey, we’re a family. We have laundry. Lots of laundry.

The time of use rates drop during weekdays at 9 p.m. I’m not always on my game to start a load of laundry at that time.  I may do one load in the washer at that time, and then pop it in the dryer at 6 a.m. the next day, to beat the 7 a.m. deadline for the higher rates again. The weekends are all the lowest rate, so that’s where we’ve really focused our laundry chores.

So far the result has been great!  Not only has the hydro bill dropped about 10% over a short time period, but they have also provided a $75 credit for customers who volunteer to have a smart meter installed in their home.  This allows Toronto Hydro to dial back residential air-conditioners in the event of a greater need for power in the warmer months.

It’s a win-win.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d budgeted for a $50 hydro bill in March. Today I got the bill. I still have a $50 credit!  Thanks Toronto Hydro. Thanks for letting me be a better consumer and encouraging me to be more responsible to the power grid, and to my pocket book.

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