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© 2004-2018 John Ford

Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Tuesday 18 December 2018
Current Time-of-use pricing is: medium at 19.393¢/kWh
Contact us now to book your audit.

Published Columns: October 2005
Curbing Your Consumption:
Showered with Feedback

By John Ford

There are two areas discussed in this column that generate the most response: inline or on-demand hot water heating (Nov '04) and the actual cost of electricity.

Since writing the original column, many people have written to ask where they can get an inline heater or detailed the process of deciding to install one. They are now reasonably easy to order, but there still only a small number of companies who will either do the work or even know what you're talking about. Not that long ago the gas company included an insert in the bill talking about the installation of an inline heater, so they are becoming mainstream, although still expensive.

Some people have been told that your house requires an increase of copper water supply pipe diameter. This depends on whether you are willing to accept a lower flow rate, which may not support two showers running at the same time. You may have to settle for a smaller unit.

We all know that saving energy is really about saving money. While we all may want to do something for the environment, the main motivating factor is lowering costs. Your energy bills are getting more crowded with various fees, charges, and calculations. After doing your part to lower your consumption, make sure you're paying fairly for your energy. Many people say that they find the numbers behind the prices and their bills difficult to understand. You should understand the numbers on your bill and where they come from.

Check that late fees are assessed fairly. This month a bill arrived seven days before the due date. According to the insert in the same bill, you are supposed to allow up to ten days for ATM payments.

Read your meter and ensure bills are accurate. You can report your meter reading to Ottawa Hydro to avoid high estimates. You will pay more if the estimate moves you into the higher rate unnecessarily for the months covered.

Did you know that despite the advertised transition point of 750 kWh per month adding 0.8¢ per kWh, the actual point is 723 kWh? This is because 3.64% is added to your consumption first to compensate for average losses in the system.

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