Monday, June 18, 2012

Are door knocker contracts worthwhile? NO!

Here's an update on the latest status of fixed rate contracts.  The Global Adjustment wasn't as high in the last 30 days as back in April or May as from my previous post.  Now, based on my own consumption patterns, I would have to find a fixed rate contract of 2.3 cents or less to make it worth my while.  A quick look at indicates the best rate available to me is 3.24 cents per kWh.

Remember, ask those door knockers about the Global Adjustment and watch them get aggressive with you!  Also ask yourself, what worthwhile good-value product or service can only be bought door-to-door?  Vacuums?  I can't think of any, either.  Let me know if you do in the comments below.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Here is why the Ontario electricity market is totally screwed up

HydroOne provides a comparison tool within the customer web portal, so you can see how a third-party retail contract for electricity would compare to buying your electricity from the incumbent utility.  In this example, for my home during the period of April 7 to May 6, I would have to find a contract that offered a price less than 0.34 cents per kWh.  Clarification: that is $0.0034/kWh! 

Look at the Global Adjustment, it is absolutely out of control and ridiculous.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Take Control of your Computer Energy Consumption

Have you ever wondered how effective your PC's power management settings really are?  Neuber Software has a neat freeware tool called PCTime that helps you determine just that.  It analyzes the Windows event log to show you a visual representation of not just a cumulative run time, but how long your PC has been on, but also exactly when and for how long each time.

I used this to determine that the laptop was never going into sleep mode by itself, which is a problem because laptops aren't designed to run 24/7.  Which it was.    The cooling fan and heatsink assembly has already been replaced once under warranty, which is long expired.  And the failure of it probably means the end of the laptop since it's six years old and those specialized parts impossible to source.

I also used it to check our home media server, which it sometimes on for hours at a time, which is expected when it is serving files or doing backups of the other PCs in the house.  But it also appears to be turning on dozens and dozens of times per day, only for a minute or two.  Even when there's nobody home or everyone is asleep!  One day it ran 24 hours straight, which is puzzling.  I've got some troubleshooting to do to solve these problems and thus give my ever-climbing hydro bill a break.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ontario's Power Mix - Graphed!

Check out this site from the Canadian Nuclear Society where they take the hourly data published by the IESO and create dynamic graphs to show you what generation sources are currently being used in Ontario to generate electricity.

The graphs are broken down by generation type (nuclear, hydro, coal, gas, wind, etc) and also by power plant, and in some cases, the generator within a particular power plant.

What's interesting to note is how this dynamically changes over time, and the ultimate effect that it has on electricity prices.

Inside the IESO, with Steve Paikin of TVO

Join Steve Paikin of TVO as he goes inside the operations centre of the IESO, the provincial agency responsible for operating the electricity grid and market.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

TOU Data Returns

For the first time in over two months, I'm seeing some new TOU data posted to the HydroOne web portal. But not all of the missing data is there. There's no data at all for the time period of Dec 17 to Jan 10, and nothing after Jan 18 yet. There's no way of knowing whether this data will eventually be available, or if the data loss is permanent.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hydro bills you at off-peak rate if TOU data missing

I got my first bill since TOU data stopped being available on the Hydro One web portal. My smart meter is still not sending data out. Hydro has confirmed that this is not an isolated problem in my area. Might be related to the recent roll-out of wireless internet in my area, perhaps on the same frequency that the smart meters out. I understand that the meter is only supposed to hold 30 days of data, so if it hasn't been downloaded, it's likely gone forever.

So, if you have a smart meter, and the meter data is ever not available for some reason, Hydro will estimate your bill since they can't read it remotely, and they don't have meter reading staff anymore. And they bill the entire missing data period at the off-peak rate.

I don't have the opportunity to enter my own meter readings anymore, since smart meters were supposed to make that obsolete. So I will have to start reading my own meter again to make sure I'm not being ripped off. Note the bill above does not mention any beginning and ending meter readings for the billing period, which is technically a Measurement Canada requirement.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The case of the missing hydro meter data

For some unknown reason, time-of-use data is not available for my meter since December 17.

It will be interesting to see how my bill is estimated when it comes in.