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Smart Meters

Frequently Asked Questions About Smart Meters

 

What is a 'Smart Meter'?

 

A smart meter looks like the meter you have now, except the display is digital and there are no dials. It records how much electricity was used and when it was used (typically hourly) and communicates this information automatically via wireless and other technologies.

 

How different is it from my old meter?

 

Currently, most homes are equipped with a meter that has dials and measures the total amount of electricity used in a billing period, typically one or two months, so customers do not have the ability to track their electricity consumption. This is because old meters were read manually; new meters are read remotely.

 

What will my smart meter do?

 

The smart meter system provides a number of significant benefits.

 

  1. Measures how much energy you use and when you use it — providing you with the opportunity to take action to reduce your energy bill by:

    • Lowering your electricity use during peak (higher price) periods; and
    • Shifting your electricity use to lower price periods.
  2. Stores electricity use information - providing you the opportunity to review your electricity use information the next day through the internet or telephone.
  3. No more estimated electricity bills - smart meters will automatically and regularly send your meter readings via wireless and other technologies.
  4. Faster response to outages - smart meters will eventually tell us when your power is out.
  5. Reduces need to build power generation facilities - as all Ontarians shift energy use away from peak periods.

Will my electricity bill automatically go down once I have a smart meter?

 

Smart meters will not automatically result in energy cost savings. However, when teamed with time-of-use rates, your smart meter will provide you the opportunity to better manage your electricity bill by reducing electricity use during higher price periods and by moving your electricity use to lower price periods.

 

What are some examples of how I can save energy with a smart meter?

 

  • Shift your electricity usage to periods when the prices are lower

    • Do laundry on weekends and wash in cold water
    • Turn the dishwasher on after 10 p.m. and select the Economy setting and air dry cycle
  • Lower your electricity usage during periods when the prices are higher

    • Set the air-conditioning a few degrees warmer during the afternoon
    • Turn appliances such as the computer, radio and TV off when they're not in use
    • Most common but sometimes forgotten, turn lights off when not in use

 

Will everyone get a smart meter?

 

Eventually yes. As an initiative of the province of Ontario, all homes and businesses will be equipped with smart meters.

 

Why has the Province mandated the use of smart meters?

 

Between now and 2025, Ontario must build almost a whole new electricity system. This includes replacing about 80 per cent of our current generating facilities as they retire over time, and expanding the system to meet future growth. Building new supply is vital. So is conservation. That's why the Government of Ontario is introducing new tools like smart meters that will encourage all of us to think more about how and when we use electricity

 

How are smart meters being introduced?

 

Smart meters will be installed at homes where the existing meter needs to be upgraded. The goal is that everyone in Ontario will have one by December 31, 2010.

 

Where can I get more information about smart meters?

 

There is a website dedicated to proving information about smart meters. Go to www.smartmetersontario.ca.