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A switch to time-of-use pricing has extended the peak hours for smart meter customers in Ontario. The new peak hours are between 7 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., and will remain so until the end of April. This pricing will result in changes to hydro rates of users to times of the day when they are more likely to use electricity.

Ontario has approximately 1 million households that are on smart meters. According to Toronto Hydro, 60% percent of their customers saw an increase in their monthly bills after switching to smart meters.

However, the company is of the opinion that weather has a much bigger impact compared to time-of-use rates and has provided some suggestions for saving energy in the cold weather on its website.

According to the company,” In a typical home, about 54% of energy costs are tied up in heating and cooling and 20% in hot water. So, those are the first places to look when it comes to saving energy.

Consider how you can save on air conditioning, heating and hot water costs. Look specifically what you can do in spring, summer, fall and winter. Many of these energy savers take just a change of habit. Others will require a little bit of work and a few purchases.”

Some hot water consumption tips provided by the website include: getting temperature of the water heater checked by a qualified person. Majority of manufacturers recommend a temperature between 49 and 60°C (140°F); wrapping the electric water heater with a water heater blanket to reduce heat loss. The blanket should be CSA certified for use on all CSA approved electric water heaters operating between 49 and 60°C (140°F); installing an energy-saving showerhead as it can reduce hot water usage by up to 30%, resulting in an annual reduction in consumption of 28,000 litres; and using faucet aerators for lowering water flow. Aerators mix air into the flowing water and reduce consumption by 25% to 50% per tap.

Some energy efficiency tips for air conditioners mentioned on the website include: installing the air conditioner in a shaded area because it will use 5% less energy compared to an air conditioner exposed to direct sunlight; and not switching to a colder thermostat than needed.

Toronto Hydro – Electric System Limited leads Ontario in designing and delivering electricity Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs. It has around 696,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout Toronto.

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