Premier Dalton McGuinty suggests that Ontarians concerned about rising energy costs should consider doing their laundry on weekends, when electricity rates are lower.
“We would encourage people to look at any possibility they might have to shift their patterns of electricity use to take advantage of times when electricity is less expensive,” he told reporters Friday.
He acknowledged that scheduling domestic duties to take advantage of “smart meters” and time-of-use rates that discount power on Saturdays and Sundays might not be an option for busy families.
“Terry and I had four kids in five years. We know that sometimes you have to put on the laundry right now. I understand that,” he said.
“But there are other opportunities for some folks, some times, to shift their patterns to later at night and on weekends so that they can have lower electricity bills.”
McGuinty’s government has faced increasing consumer outrage over hydro rates that are expected to rise sharply as Ontario overhauls its energy infrastructure. Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday her party has calculated families will pay an average of $60 more annually for electricity.
McGuinty said the investment is important to ensure a reliable electrical supply schools, hospitals, businesses as well as homeowners.
He accused the previous Conservative government of causing brownouts by neglecting the energy infrastructure and said their only solution was to rely on environmentally unsound diesel generators.
McGuinty was speaking at an event to announce $4.2 million in funding for media arts programs at Ottawa’s Algonquin College over three years.
Consumers who buy their electricity from their local utility currently pay 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) up to a 600 kWh threshold and 7.5 cents per kWh used above it. In winter, the threshold for the lower rate rises to 1,000 kWh.
But the smart meters being phased in across the province mean consumers will pay 9.9 cents per kWh in peak periods, 8 cents in mid-peak and 5.3 cents in off-peak periods — anytime between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and all day on weekends and holidays.