The Government of Ontario, as part of its plan to create a culture of conservation, has directed Local Distribution
Companies (LDCs) to install Smart Meters for all customers in the province. In keeping with this mandate,
Rideau St. Lawrence Distribution Inc. has installed a Smart Meter at your home and are projecting
to cut over to bill Time-Of-Use pricing on May 1st, 2012, depending on the status of the MDMR.
Rideau St.Lawrence Distribution has completed 100% deployment of smart meters, which consisted of installing 5,900 smart meters to its customers.
The Ontario government set a goal of having a smart meter in every home and business across the province by 2010, and Rideau St.Lawrence Distribution met this directive.
The new smart meters record not only the amount of electricity consumed, but also the when the electricity was used. Smart meters accurately record consumption in
hourly intervals and remotely send the data to a computer system that will separate the hourly data into three groups. This will enable a Time of Use (TOU) pricing
structure. 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.
For more information on TOU pricing visit Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
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. For a list of cost reduction strategies visit Smart Meters Ontario
The 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.