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Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Saturday 19 January 2019
Current Time-of-use pricing is: low at 14.477¢/kWh
Contact us now to book your audit.

Published Columns: September 2005
Curbing Your Consumption:
The heat is on for new records

By John Ford

Again we have had a summer of setting record consumption peaks in Ontario. So far (at time of writing) no blackouts, just some voltage reductions. What that means is that we are still not doing our part to reduce our consumption, except when we get threats of loss of power through the media on peak record days. Even then our consumption drops by only a few percentage points, and night demand rises as people time shift temporarily.

For the first half of August the average price Ontario paid for power was 11.65¢ per kWh. Since we as customers are only paying 5.00¢ to 5.80¢ for that power, 5.85¢ or more is being added to our taxes for each kWh used. If we were paying the true cost on our bill, the actual price per kWh would be 17.4¢ including all the charges. An average home using 1,000 kWh per month pays about $218 for each bill. That would be 65% higher or $360 if we paid the true cost. If you consider that your summer consumption is higher than usual because of air-conditioners running, that would be a double shock. Of course the shock will come when we pay the tax bill.

It is becoming more cost-effective every day to buy energy-saving devices. Compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs continue to drop in price and appear with new features. They can be found for as little as $3 a bulb now, which means you recoup your investment in only a few months. You can get yellow bug lights. I use the 9 Watt (equivalent 40W) in many locations for even better savings. LCD televisions are now common and use half the power of the CRT variety. One bonus is that many run on 12V so that they can be used on a car battery. Another bonus is that they are very thin and can be wall mounted.

Power Fact: Did you know the space shuttle engines produce more than five times Ontario's total peak electricity needs in the form of thrust?

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John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business.