Saturday, July 31, 2010



Westario Power uses Elster products (meters, collectors, etc) for our mass deployment.

Westario Power bringing smart meters to Brockton, Canada
By: angus on Fri, 15 Aug 2008 01:21:01 GMT

You might notice that you've got a different looking meter on your house, explained Guy Cluff, CEO of Westario Power. You won't see anything different in the way you're billed for energy until 2010.

Smart Meters

The Ontario Government has passed legislation to install 4,000,000 smart electricity meters in homes and small businesses by 2010.In support of this, Westario Power has been installing smart meters in its service territory since July 7, 2009. Mass deployment commenced August 24, 2009, with multiple crews changing out the meters. Once the change-out occurs at a property, a doorhanger will be left entitled Getting Smart About Smart Meters Answer Book. While the smart meters are installed, we will continue to read the meters monthly as we would a conventional meter.Westario Power has nearly completed the deployment of approximately 21,000 smart meters to its customers.The new smart meters record not only the amount of electricity consumed, but also when the electricity was used. This will enable a Time of Use (TOU) pricing structure. Unlike the current system in which customers pay a fixed rate, TOU pricing has three different rates for electricity consumed during off-peak, mid-peak or on-peak periods of the day. Weekends and holidays are always off-peak.It is important to know, the customer does not have to sign anything at the time the smart meter is installed, and nothing will change from the way you are currently billed.

NOTE: Contracted meter installers are in the clean-up stage of the deployment project. Westario Power anticipates having all meters changed out by Spring 2010.In 2010, it is anticipated that Westario Power will begin implementing the software changes necessary to begin reading the smart meters remotely. That is, we will download the meter readings directly into our data collection computers.At this time, Westario Power plans to phase in TOU pricing in early 2012. Prior to implementating TOU rates, customers will be notified well in advance of the change. We will post information on our website, circulate notices in the local newspaper and inserts in your monthly invoicing to let customers know when these changes will take effect.Time of Use (TOU) pricing more accurately reflects the actual real-time market cost of electricity which fluctuates widely throughout the day. Electricity demand peaks in the mid to late afternoon triggering a corresponding increase in the market price.During the hot summer months, air conditioner use pushes electricity demand to its highest levels of the year. Ontario must often rely on more expensive and polluting forms of power generation to meet daily peaks. On the hottest days, electricity must be purchased at a premium from power plants that, in some cases, only operate a handful of days a year.A key objective of the smart metering initiative is to reduce peak demand by encouraging consumers to rethink their consumption habits. By reducing daily peaks and shifting some demand to off-peak periods, consumers can help avoid the shared cost and environmental impact of building additional power plants and upsizing the grid.

Smart meters and TOU pricing will also enable customers to take steps to manage their electricity costs. In the near future, customers will be able to monitor their consumption online or through in-home displays. For a list of cost reduction strategies visit installation of smart meters is part of a broader initiative to modernize Ontario's electricity grid. Similar initiatives are underway in the United States and the European Union. The new smart grid will employ sensors, monitoring, communications, automation and computers to improve the flexibility, security, reliability, efficiency, and safety of the electricity system. Other benefits of a smart grid include the ability to integrate more renewable energy sources and avoid blackouts.The information in the following links is designed to assist you in understanding how smart meters work and how your energy usage can help you change your energy patterns in order to reduce peak demand in Ontario and save money on your electricity bill.


A smart meter tracks how much electricity you use and when you use it — key information to help you better manage your electricity costs. In Ontario, all homes and small businesses will be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2010. By 2011, most consumers in Ontario will have made the switch to Time-of-Use rates, where the price of electricity depends on when it is used. The exact timing and rollout of Time-of-Use rates will vary by electricity utility. Most residential and small business served by Milton Hydro Distribution Inc. and Newmarket-Tay Hydro are paying Time-of-Use rates. Toronto Hydro, Powerstream, Horizon Utilities and Chatham-Kent Energy are currently rolling out Time-of-Use rates for their customers.The IESO is responsible for the management of the province-wide data repository that collects and manages smart meter consumption data used to create Time-of-Use bills.


A smart meter electronically tracks how much electricity is used and when it is used, paving the way for Time-of-Use pricing.

Electricity Consumption in the Digital Age

As digital technologies are increasingly used in electrical equipment and appliances around the house, the time has come to use these same technologies to manage overall electricity consumption. Smart meters track the energy use in your home on an hourly basis and send this information automatically to your local distribution company (LDC). By automating the meter-reading function, smart meters deliver a number of benefits: They support the implementation of Time-of-Use prices. By time-stamping your consumption data, local distribution companies will be able to determine how much electricity was used during off-peak times and how much was consumed during on-peak periods. This capability allows homeowners to find electricity savings by shifting their electricity use. By tracking electricity use remotely, all bills will be based on real-time consumption - eliminating the need for estimated bills.
They provide greater operational efficiencies in the management of local distribution systems.

Ontario's Smart Meter Infrastructure

Much like your telephone or internet connection, the smart meter connects you into a wide computer network.From your home, the smart meter puts into play a series of actions: collecting energy use information, verifying its accuracy and processing it for monitoring and billing. In its role as interim Smart Metering Entity, Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is responsible for the central data repository that will manage the consumption data for residential smart meters.The IESO is working with LDCs to connect to the meter data repository. LDCs will be integrated into the system on an individual basis as meters and communications systems are ready. Consumers will be notified in advance when Time-of-Use rates are to be phased in.


Here's the path information takes from your smart meter to your electricity bill.

Smart Meters
On an hourly basis, the amount of electricity you use is tracked by the smart meter on your home.

Each day, this hourly information is sent by wireless connection or through telephone or power lines to a data collector located in your neighbourhood.

Meter Data Collection
These collectors relay energy usage information to larger control computers operated by your Local Distribution Company (LDC) which ensure that all the meters have been read and all the necessary information has been captured.

Smart Meter Data Repository

The LDC then sends this information to the provincial smart meter data repository which calculates how much electricity was used during on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak hours. In its role as interim Smart Metering Entity, the IESO is responsible for managing this repository. This energy use information will also help in the development of electricity forecasts and will help the Ontario Energy Board determine future time-of-use prices. Only authorized parties, such as LDCs, will have access to the highly secure database.

Customer Information and Billing
Information from the data repository is sent back to LDCs and other billing agents so it can be used to prepare invoices.

Home Energy Management
Homeowners will have access to their energy use data in two ways: LDC invoices will provide consumption data each billing cycle; and in many communities, the previous day's energy consumption information will be available each morning on a secure personalized web page. This information allows you to manage your energy use based on time-of-use prices.


A smart meter records when as well as how much electricity is used by each consumer. Here are some answers to common questions about smart meters and Time-of-Use prices.

How will Time-of-Use prices affect my bill?
It all depends on your current consumption patterns and how much electricity you use at different times of the day. Even if you don’t make radical changes in your energy consumption patterns, there are a lot of very simple things you can do to conserve energy at all times of the day. Note that any reduction in total consumption will also lower other charges on your bill. Your regulatory, debt retirement and most of your delivery charges are also determined by how much electricity you use.

When will the Time-of-Use prices take effect?
Time-of-Use rates are in the process of being implemented by local distribution companies (LDC). Milton Hydro and Newmarket-Tay Hydro have implemented Time-of-Use rates, while Toronto Hydro, Powerstream and Horizion Utilities will be rolling out these rates to thier customers this year. The majority of Ontario consumers will be on Time-of-Use rates by 2011. Customers will receive advance notification from their LDC of when Time-of-Use rates will be phased in.

Will Time-of-Use periods ever change?
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is responsible for setting prices and daily and seasonal Time-of-Use periods. In November 2009, off-peak time periods moved from a 10 p.m. start to a 9 p.m. start, allowing consumers to start saving money earlier in the evening. More.

How do these prices compare to wholesale rates?
Wholesale prices are set every hour and fluctuate to a much greater extent. Time-of-use prices are designed to provide the benefits of variable rates without the same level of volatility. You can compare regulated prices against the average monthly and yearly wholesale prices. Note that the prices posted here do not include adjustments such as the Provincial Benefit that are incorporated in the Time-of-Use prices.

What if I have a contract?
If you purchase your electricity through an electricity retailer, you will continue to pay the rate agreed to in the contract, for the duration of the contract. If you are a residential consumer, note that the price you have agreed to pay is likely a fixed rate and does not vary according to the time the electricity is used. You will remain on the contract price, even if Time-of-Use prices are in effect for residential consumers in your LDC's service area. The Ontario Energy Board offers consumer information about retail contracts.

Will there be a cost for the smart meter?
There are incremental costs associated with developing and maintaining smart meters and the supporting infrastructure. These costs are regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. Contact your LDC to find out more about these charges.

Smart Meters: A New Way To Think About Electricity

Your Smart Meter is a key part of Ontario’s new smart metering system – and of building a culture of conservation across this province. By 2010, every home and small business in Ontario will have a Smart Meter.This site explains what Smart Meters are, why Ontario is introducing them, and how they can help you manage and reduce your electricity costs.As you’ll see, with smart metering, you’ll have new options for managing and reducing your electricity costs. And as you’ll learn, if we all make some small changes to how we use electricity, we can also have a positive impact on the environment and Ontario’s energy system. This site is a source of general information to help you to take advantage of Smart Meters when they become fully operational. For those of you in areas that have already moved to time-of-use pricing, please contact your local distribution company with any questions you may have.

Smart Meters Give More Power To You - And Less To Your Hydro Bill
2009/06/17 | Staff

What are you doing between 10pm and 7am and how much is it costing you? No, we're not getting personal about your after hour activities.It's actually a legitimate question about how much electricity your family is using - and when they draw the most juice.It comes as Toronto Hydro gets ready to expand its smart meter program, replacing those old record keepers on the side of your house with a digital version designed to let you take control of your power usage - and hopefully save you money.
It's designed to take what's easily confusable - like kilowatt hours and peak demand times - and make it simple to understand.

New Peak-Use Hydro Rates Announced
2009/05/15 | Staff

Starting next month, some Toronto residents could benefit from a new pricing system being introduced by Toronto Hydro. But that's only if they use electricity at certain times of the day.On June 1st, 10,000 homes equipped with so-called smart meters will be charged higher rates during peak demand times - in the middle of the day in summer and in the morning and early evening in the winter. The price will drop overnight and on weekends and holidays.The electricity generation situation in Ontario is very, very serious, noted Toronto Hydro spokesperson Blair Peberdy.

There's a plan to shut down the coal plants, which cause serious health problems. [But] the coal plants supply a lot of electricity to us. So, we have to shift consumption out of the peak periods to relieve pressure on the grid while we build up renewable energy and other types of generation in the province.The time-of-use fees are a way to get consumers to cut their use of power-draining appliances like washers, dryers and air conditioners when demand is highest.Particularly on extremely hot and cold days, demand can exceed supply, causing brownouts and blackouts. But the expensive generating stations built to cover these periods sit idle for most of the year.The first homes to go online with the new rates are in Toronto's former suburbs - Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York. But Toronto Hydro expects to have the all of the city's single-family dwellings onboard within the year.Residents of Milton and Newmarket already use smart meters.


Sep 16, 2009 5:47 AM Smart Meter Lies

The Hydro web site claims that seniors at home most of the day will not be penalised by the time of use pricing of electricity. They use misinformation and faulty maths to come to this conclusion. Taking use over which there is no control, heating, refridgeration, for example, the current rate is 5.7 cents per KWh. With 93 hours of 4.2 c, 45 hours of 7.6 c (conveniently forgotten by the Hydro web site) and 30 hours of 9.1 c, this averages out to 6 c per KWh, an immediate increase of 5%. Given that many of the other items such as lighting, radio/TV/web use, and sustenance preparation will still be needed during the day, the average rate for that will be 6.8 KWh, an increase of 19%. It would be very difficult for any normal, healthy person to rearrange their total schedule to neutralise that and break even. These lies MUST be exposed before the next election.


Utilities energized by the possibilitiesPublished On Mon May 18
By Tyler Hamilton

Energy and Technology Columnist More than 200 households in Milton got to test drive the future of power management last year and the results show that homeowners, given the right tools and motivations, are more than capable of conserving energy.The pilot project, conducted between July 2007 and Sept. 2008, was a collaboration between Milton Hydro, Direct Energy and Bell Canada. Households were given the ability to monitor their energy use through the Internet, as well as through BlackBerry-like devices, and to remotely control the lighting and operation of appliances in their homes.An easy-to-use Web interface, designed by Toronto-based Lixar SRS, gave them a detailed view of how much electricity individual appliances were using at any point in time. The results showed that one in 10 households given the control used 16 per cent less electricity over 12 months and 18 per cent less during peak periods.Just 10 per cent of participants achieved the higher savings, which could be interpreted as a poor result. But the point of the pilot was to show what could be done, not necessarily what's likely to be done today. The challenge now is to refine the technology alongside the introduction of energy conservation programs and policies that drive behavioural change. Change is coming, and local utilities seem energized by the opportunity. Ontario passed its Green Energy Act last week, making conservation a priority as the province evolves its electricity system.Also last week, Toronto Hydro announced that its first 10,000 residential customers will get shifted on June 1 to time-of-use pricing now that a substantial number of GTA homes have a smart meter.

The utility hopes to have all single-family homes on the new pricing by year's end, and since peak pricing is more than double off-peak pricing, you can bet that over time households will desire, if not demand, more control over their power consumption.Energy management is also a major component of Burlington Hydro's GridSmartCity demonstration project, announced last week. Company president David Collie says local utilities are realizing that their businesses are no longer just about pushing electrons to homes. Utilities are morphing into multi-faceted energy companies that can influence change in a community, and enabling conservation is now a big part of the job. There still exists, however, some skepticism in the market. Some energy executives downplay the new high-tech tools that give homeowners more control. All the bells and whistles are overkill, they argue, adding that most people don't have the time to monitor their energy use or participate in demand-response programs.There's an element of truth there, but only for those stuck in the present. Don't believe it? Then ask yourself why Internet giant Google announced in February that it was entering the residential energy-management market with prototype software called PowerMeter? The software, which is expected to be distributed for free, offers the same kind of feedback on power use that homeowners got from the Milton Hydro trial using Lixar SRS's technology.

Google has also teamed up with General Electric on smart grid development. It's about more than simply knowing how much power your home or an individual appliance is consuming. It's about tracking and analyzing historical use.You can't improve it if you can't measure

Smarten up on smart meteringPublished On Sat Aug 22 2009
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Tying electricity use to its true cost – and giving Ontarians ways to reduce that by running appliances during off-peak hours, for example – is the theory behind using smart meters to drive conservation.It's a sound argument and a particularly important one at a time when energy prices are set to rise and we need to reduce consumption so we don't have to build as much new generating capacity.Unfortunately, the province badly bungled the introduction of smart meters in apartments. It allowed landlords to take advantage of tenants who are now so leery it may undermine their long-term support.Half the households in Toronto and a third in Ontario are renters and most have utilities included in their rent. Changing that with sub-meters, so individuals pay, creates a conservation conundrum: A tenant can make sure to turn the TV and lights off when no one is home, but can't buy an efficient refrigerator or replace single-pane windows. Those big ticket items – offering the greatest conservation gains – remain in the landlord's hands.So how do we ensure that smart meters achieve maximum energy savings in apartments – something beyond a mere name change on the bill? And what is the best way to determine a fair rent reduction for tenants who assume responsibility for their electricity costs?

The province did not answer these difficult questions, as it should have, with regulations. It announced, with much fanfare, its desire to have smart meters in everyone's home by the end of 2010 – and then sat back. Remarkably, it never passed the necessary legislation to legalize these meters in apartments and protect tenants.

That created a wild-west scenario where landlords, getting out ahead of the law, made up their own rules. Some tenants were pressured into deals that provided rent reduction far smaller than their new bills.Now, the province's energy regulator has stepped into the fray to try and clean up the mess. An Ontario Energy Board ruling last week creates interim rules for installing sub-meters in rentals – including conducting building energy audits, and getting informed consent from tenants. It also appears to wipe out all the deals that were previously made, declaring them unenforceable.The board did not, however, resolve two key issues: how to adjust rents; and how to encourage landlords to make buildings more energy efficient if they are no longer footing the bill (and reaping the savings).This is clearly the government's responsibility; it has abdicated too much to the energy board already. In March, the board ordered a halt to sub-metering in apartments, noting there was no law to allow it – prompting a promise from Energy Minister George Smitherman to bring in legislation this fall.The board's interim rules have filled a void. It's time for the government to do what it should have done long ago: Plan properly for future energy conservation, rather than operate by the seat of its pants.


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