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Monday, November 14, 2016

Time of use electrical rates - Programmable thermostat keeps things cool

Hydro rates have increased again. Your Hydro supplier will be raising the prices that  you are billed for electricity usage.

Smart Meters have been installed throughout most of Ontario and what this means to you is that you are charged different rates for electrical usage depending on the time of day. Prices indicated are current for November 2016. Times are spit as follows:

Winter ( November to April)

Off Peak 7 PM to 7 AM      18 cents/kwh

Mid Peak 11 AM to 5 PM   13.2 cents/kwh

On Peak 7 AM to 11 AM     8.7 cents/ kwh
               5 PM to 7 PM

Summer ( May to October)

Off Peak  7 pm to 7 AM

Mid peak  7 AM to 11 AM   and  5 PM to 7 PM

On Peak  11 am to 5 PM

When it comes to energy usage, heating and cooling make up a high percentage of your energy bill. Since you will be charged almost twice as much for energy use during On Peak periods as Off peak, it is now even more important that you adjust your thermostat (and your energy cost $) when you are away from home.

A programmable thermostat can be an energy saver, because it allows homeowners to adjust the heating and cooling system to operate to a pre-set chedule. The schedule can be set to run the HVAC equipment at more energy-efficient rates during times when residents are away at work or school or when the home is not occupied during vacation periods.

In the past, it was thought that maintaining a constant temperature was better than adjusting a thermostat up and down. However it has been proven that turning a thermostat down or up a degree or more will always save energy (and money). The closer the inside air temperature is to the outside air temperature, the less heat or air conditioning will be lost via heat transference ( the principle that heat moves from hot to cold ). Thus, by heating or cooling the air less, less energy (and money) is required.

How much money can be saved? Well that depends on the style, size and type of construction of the home but typically as much as $ 200 savings per year can be realized in a single family home. On average a homeowner will save three percent on their energy bill for every degree a thermostat is set back. These figures were based on flat rate pricing so could be much higher with time of of use billing.

A variety of Thermostat models and features are available including 7 day, 5 + 2 day or 5-1-1 day schedules. Seven day models provide the most flexibility if daily schedules change often. Most models allow three or four possible temperature periods per day such as Wake/Day/Evening/Sleep.

Most programmable thermostats use low voltage wiring and can be easily installed using wires connected to the old thermostat for operation. While temperatures should be set for individual comfort, here are suggested guidelines.

In winter, a thermostat setting of 68 degF while family members are awake and lower when they are asleep or away from home will keep energy costs down.
In summer, setting the thermostat at 78 degF when a home is unoccupied, and slightly cooler when family members are present will also result in energy savings.

During vacation periods, the “hold” setting can be used to set the thermostat at a constant, energy efficient temperature. It can be set to a high temperature (85 degreesF or slightly higher) rather than completely turning the AC off in the warmer months. In cold weather, it can be set to remain at a lower temperature (55 degreesF) so water pipes don’t freeze.