Hydro companies throughout Canada are rolling out smart meters
that allow home owners and businesses to take advantage of off-peak usage rates. Some of you may already have one, many others will likely be getting one soon. What is clear that the electricity market is headed in a whole new direction.
Governments around the world have been pushing the introduction of smart meters as growing populations and increased demand for energy from power-zapping appliances begin to put stress on energy supply. Upgrading the electricity grid and encouraging consumers to spread out their electricity use and take advantage of off-peak periods is one way that governments can ensure that energy supply can continue to meet demand.
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is an electrical device that measures electricity use by the hour and automatically sends the data back to the utility. Older meters are not able to determine at what time of day or night power was consumed and are read manually. Smart meters therefore allow utilities to charge different rates for power used at different times of the day. This is called Time-of-Use charging. Households and businesses can then assert some control over the price they pay for power. For example, you may choose to run your dishwasher at night to take advantage of cheaper rates.
When is the cheapest time to use power?