Duguid blames old meters for rise in electricity prices

by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – If electricity bills are up for Ontario homeowners with smart meters it might be the old meter’s fault – at least that’s what the Liberal government was saying Monday.

The so-called smart meters, which allow people to take advantage of time-of-use pricing for electricity, are more accurate than the 40-to-50-year-old meters they replace, said Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

“I’m not suggesting that bills haven’t gone up, but there are a variety of reasons for that,” said Duguid, who noted this year’s hot summer meant much greater use of air conditioners than last year.

“One less common (reason) is that when you put in the new meter you find out the previous meter wasn’t working and billing properly, so the new meter just is bringing bills up to date and is more accurate.”

The energy minister is looking for any excuse he can find to explain away soaring electricity bills, said the New Democrats.

“Every day it’s a new story from the minister,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“The stories that I care about are the ones the people of Ontario are telling me, and that is they cannot afford the cost of hydro.”

Premier Dalton McGuinty admitted Monday he hadn’t heard about old hydro meters being inaccurate, but he offered a spirited defence of the government’s $1-billion program to install smart meters.

“Even the United Kingdom, which is bound and determined to reduce government costs, is moving as quickly as they can to install smart meters in their homes and businesses so they can better manage their electricity system,” McGuinty said at an unrelated event.

“It’s something that we simply must do as we come of age as an economy that is going to responsibly manage its electricity system.”

The Progressive Conservatives call smart meters tax machines and vow to give consumers the option of staying on fixed prices for electricity instead of moving to time-of-use pricing if they win next year’s election.

The New Democrats accused the government of hiding the true cost of the smart meter program, noting Hydro One estimates its costs for smart meters at $1 billion – the same as the government’s estimate for the whole program – and Hydro One is responsible for only one-fifth of the customers who will get the new meters.

“Something’s not adding up,” said Horwath.

“That’s why we want the auditor general to go in and do a cost-benefit analysis because we need to know exactly what the not-so-smart meter program is costing the people of Ontario.”

The smart meter program is not over budget, insisted Duguid.

“We’re on budget, on time when it comes to rolling out smart meters across this province,” he said.

Smart meters have been installed in over four million Ontario homes, but only about one quarter of that number have actually switched to time-of-use pricing. Early figures show they are saving money with the smart meters, added Duguid.

“The preliminary work for those that have been on (time of use pricing) for an extended period of time would show a slight decrease to date in their bills, on average,” he said.

“It is a very modest impact, and on average, a small savings to the consumer.”

That’s not what hydro customers are telling the NDP, said Horwath, who again demanded the Liberal government remove the HST from electricity bills.

“The HST is salt in the wound to hydro costs,” said Horwath. “Just take the HST off of hydro and start giving people a break.”

McGuinty has already rejected the idea of removing the HST from electricity bills.

15 thoughts on “Duguid blames old meters for rise in electricity prices

  1. Right!! What a bunch of crap, how do you explain that on a new house before the smart meter was installed. How gullible does this government think the people of this province are.

  2. smitherman, first he wasted one billion on the e health plan, then he brought in the green energy act and just on smart meters that arent so smart he wasted another billion. the green energy act is now wasting billions more on wind farms and solar panels that only work part time and have caused so many problems in the province. the people of denmark are now paying the highest rate for electricity in europe and i am afraid we are next. the average electric bill in denmark is around 500 canadian a month. i know who i will be voting for in the next election.

  3. Du-gud and Horwath make a strange pair indeed!

    Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools. (5.4.37)

  4. Some of the old style meters, if inaccurate, had readings on the high side as well. Higher than expected bills from the old style meters have been documented and those home owners were informed in writing that their meters were tested and were accurate. Meters are machines and “new” does not necessarily mean accurate. Meters that read on the high side are not a problem to the government but an extra source of money. A “smart meter” change-over gives the government an opportunity to put even more higher reading meters in operation.

  5. Shame on me. I have been blaming
    the escalating electricity cost on the
    governments ‘green energy’ initiative
    and all this time it has been the result
    of erroneous readings from my old meter.
    Balderdash indeed, Duguid you are a moron.

  6. After more then 25 years in the technology service sector, I can say with some authority;
    just because something is new doesn’t mean that it is better!

    Like the newest government in Ontario for example…

    🙁

    B.W.

  7. Duguis=moron? I like that.
    Thanks Mr. McGuinty.
    I now do laundry on Saturday and Sunday, arise at 5 a.m. to shower because of the increase in energy costs. We’ve never had air conditioning nor a swimming pool so I guess the fans will have to go. Now what else?
    Ration bathing or toughen up with cold showers?

    All of this being necessary to support Industrial Wind Factories operating at 35% efficiency.

    Mrs. Duguid and McGuinty think hard, surely you can come up with something better. Like 10% efficiency maybe. I just love candlelight and cooking over an outside fire.

    Just a thought.

  8. Sounds like the Dumb and Dumber are in charge.They have no idea what it does,so lets come up with a different answer .The public will accept it right ? Can we get anyone that understands and can be upfront or are we just going to hear more of the same ?

    This is what happens when ANYONE can be given these positions in government.What a mess.

  9. And for those who want to check

    http://www.etherbee.com/products/ECM1240/default.htm

    “Although several devices have been around providing a display of total panel use, our monitor takes this concept several steps further by providing a break-down of individual panel circuit and loads. What does this mean? This means that you can get a “real-time” visual display of various household devices such as refrigerator, washer, dryer, TV, heating/cooling, water heater, etc. With our new ECM-1240, not only can you see up to the second consumption, you can also view what percentage of your monthly consumption each load is responsible for. ”

    About $180 to $400 — looks reasonable in terms of functions.

  10. I’m not on TOU yet even though I’ve had a smart meter for almost 6 months now…During the day, the only power draw on my panel is from a fridge, freezer and hot water tank. I’m guessing my fish tank pump draws very little. There is not a lot I can do about the fridge however; it is my intention to put my hot water tank and freezer on timers. My freezer has a “rapid freeze” feature which if used drops the internal temperature to, well… VERY COLD!

    Based on my last hydro bill, I did a calculation as to how much I could save a month if I transferred 100% of my electricity consumption to off peak… A measly $14.00! As I cannot possibly transfer 100 of my consumption, my actual savings will be more realistically in the 0 to 10 dollar range if at all. It is really
    hard to justify the expenditure on these timers ($80.00 for the hot water tank), which may well have the effect of actually increasing my overall consumption thereby negating any benefits.

    It may well be more cost effective to simply say goodbye to either the grid or the province! OR BOTH!

    Pretty safe bet there are many in Ontario reaching the same conclusion. Thusly, if the masses manage, thru their own resources, to get off the grid; who will pay for the GEA and FIT?

    The taxpayer!

    It doesn’t matter what we do, these mendacious greenies STILL get our money!

    What a SCAM!

    B.W.

  11. McGuinty is going to pay for this. It may not matter what his opponents promise.

  12. First they rip off your money — then they give a pittance back.

    ******************************
    Liberals to reduce consumers’ hydro bills by 10 per cent in $1 billion rate cut

    Robert Benzie Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/891861–liberals-to-reduce-consumers-hydro-bills-by-10-per-cent-in-1-billion-rate-cut?bn=1

    “The Liberal government will cut Ontarians’ hydro bills by 10 per cent starting on Jan. 1, the Star has learned.

    Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, bolstered by a $1 billion reduction in the provincial deficit, is to announce “substantial hydro relief” in Thursday’s fall economic statement.

    With the average hydro bill in Ontario about $125 a month, a $12.50 monthly reduction would be worth $150 a year to ratepayers and cost the treasury about $1 billion annually.

    The new “Ontario Clean Energy Benefit” will be clearly visible on hydro bills, which should jolt the Liberals’ political fortunes with a provincial election set for Oct. 6, 2011.

    It takes effect in the New Year but, depending upon local utilities’ billing cycles, the discounted rate may not be available until May. However, the government will ensure that all consumers get the decrease effective Jan. 1, meaning the accumulated discount will be applied to the first month of the new billing cycle.”

    ******************************

    They still don’t “get it”.

  13. I just received a bill for $4000 (no arrears, payments are completely current). Smart meter must be malfunctioning and Hydro One is not taking my concerns seriously. Previous bill ranged from $130.00 – 150.00s meter seems to have gone whacky in the last 3 – 4 months. This is for a very simple cottage where previous daily consumption according to Hydro ranged from 2 – 3 kWh and I recently received a bill stating that my recent consumption is 493 kWh per day – are they serious? I call and am told that bill is based on meter reading that by the way I submitted not realizing that the meter reading was whacky and after telling them several times that can’t be possible and asking to escalate numerous times and they just wouldn’t let me escalate. What can of customer service is this? I was basically told that I was lying – are these people blind or too lazy to look at the facts? Brutal – I guess when you are a monopy customer service is not a priority. I wonder how many other customers are being brushed off by Hydro One?

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