Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Money Grab

The utility company has installed something called a 'smart meter' on my house. It measures WHEN I use electricity and then charges me depending on the time of day. There are 3 rates: Stupid Expensive(9.9cents per kWh), Sooper Expensive(8.00 cents) and Expensive(5.3cents). The highest rate applies during peak hours. During the summer, peak hours are 11am to 5pm off-peak is 9pm to 7am and the rest is intermediate. During the winter off-peak remains the same, but peak changes to 7am-11am and 5pm-9pm.

Now, I can change some things like when I run the dishwasher or do the laundry. I have , in fact, done these things. Yet my bill is half again as high as it was pre-smart meter. It's going to get worse, as I cook with electricity and peak time will be changing November 1st. I cannot change my stove to a gas one, as I rent. I have no fireplace to cook over the flames, so I am basically screwed.

I fail to see what else I can change. At night we only keep the one lamp on in the living room. We have lowered the wattage bulb we use dramamtically. The only things that run during the day are the furnace ,which IS gas thank goodness, and the computer and tv. The hubby rarely cooks during the day. Lunch is usually something he can heat up in the microwave or a sandwich.

However, once peak time changes to 5pm-9pm, I will be forced to pay the higher rate in order to eat dinner. I can't eat sandwiches all the time.

Quite frankly I think this is a money grab by the utlity company. They could do other things to promote energy savings. For example, in Italy, houses do NOT have 200 amp service as a matter of course, I think 'normal service' is 50amps. So if you try to run too many appliances at once, the breaker trips. This forces people to spread out what they are doing and reduces the drain on the grid.

I am really hating this as it is forcing me to spend all weekend doing laundry. (weekends and statutory holidays are just Expensive) I can't throw a load in the washer until after 9pm during the week, which means I'd be up till after 11pm to get one lousy load washed, dried and folded. Can't do it when I have to get up early to get to my job. Which I need to pay the enormous electrical bill.