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Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Thursday 21 January 2021
Current Time-of-use pricing is: medium at 19.393¢/kWh
Contact us now to book your audit.

Published Columns: April 2006
Curbing Your Consumption:
Stringing You a Line

By John Ford

Last month the example given for smart meter costs during different demand periods was a dryer load. A smart meter peak demand dryer load is now up to about one dollar per load. The average family does more than twenty loads of laundry a month. A simple clothesline could pay for itself in just one month. A more elaborate or imaginative one might take a few months. Your local hardware store sells kits with covered wire, pulleys, and other mounting devices to fit any need. You can also buy ready-made umbrella-style clotheslines like the ones that were ubiquitous when I was growing up. Designs can range from a single line from one location to another, to a pulley on both ends, to a multi-line frame.

Custom Designed Clothesline
I built a prototype with wood frame and multiple parallel lines just to see whether it would fit my needs. It didn't, so the final model is much larger. Total cost for the project was under $50, and has more than 25 metres (80 feet) of linear line. More than enough for two or three loads. In addition, it lifts out of the way into a vertical position against the house so that the space can be reclaimed when it is not in use.

Drying time on an outside line depends on the sun and the wind, but in ideal conditions, it beats the tumble dryer using half the time, and if we're not having a smog day, smells fresher to boot.

Starting May 1st, the prices you pay for electricity in Ontario will be changing. This winter the higher price (10.88¢/kWh*) kicked in after you consumed 965 kWh per month. This summer, if you are in the majority who are not on a smart meter, the higher rate kicks in much lower at 579 kWh per month. For the average user using about 1,000 kWh per month, about 40% of your consumption will jump to the higher rate. However, (at the time of writing) only a little over a month from when it is to take effect, the actual two rates have not been announced. So get ready for a price shock. Drying your laundry on a line in the summer months will help reduce the size of the shock.

* Note that prices for a kWh are given after all other charges and taxes are added and is not the net energy charge.

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