The current “he said—she said” flap about the economic viability of Ontario’s Smart Meters has me totally baffled. Should I or shouldn’t I have a smart meter? Who should I believe? The Auditor General for Ontario, Bonnie Lysyk or the Hon Bob Chiarelli, the Minister of Energy for the provincial Liberal government?
The premise seems quite simple. According to Ontario Power, here’s what new digital Smart Meters do:
Measure how much energy you use and when you use it
Send your meter readings, automatically via wireless technology
Eliminate the need for you to submit your meter readings (if you do so today)
Eliminate the inconvenience of providing access to meters located indoors, behind locked gates etc.
We have been further informed that by monitoring our smart meters we have the option of using our high-consumption electrical appliances during hours when rates are lower such as weekends and in the evenings. Sounds simple enough. That bit of logic prompted me to stop doing laundry whenever I felt like it during the week and switch to doing it on Sunday mornings when power rates are considerably lower. I no longer start the dishwasher after mealtime but now wait until later in the evening before I go to bed. That’s a no-brainer.
And now Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General for Ontario who has criticized the reporting of smart meter technology is accused by Bob Chiarelli of being incapable of truly understanding the complexity of the business case, despite the fact she has many degrees and qualifications in addition to years of practical experience in the power business in Western Canada. Is it because she is a woman and that’s just too much intelligence for her pretty little head to process? Or is Bob Chiarelli hiding something his government doesn’t want us to know?
Here’s the way I see it. Smart meters are a good thing. Using power during low-demand hours helps the service providers (I can’t even figure out who’s who now so I’ll just use the name Ontario Hydro—for those of us who also still prefer the Imperial system for measuring things) distribute their resources more evenly. Giving users a discount during these times as an incentive makes sense. I think the Auditor General’s beefs are with the reporting systems—by both Ontario Power (or whatever they’re called) and the Ontario Government. That would make sense as we all know what experts they both are in the use of smoke and mirrors to throw us off the scent of what is really rotten in the state of Ontario.
Therefore, nothing is new and probably nothing will change. We would be well-advised to embrace the technology of smart meters and modify our usage patterns. How can that be a bad thing? But don’t believe what the service providers or the government are telling us. Their individual prime objectives are to make themselves look good regardless of whether it’s good for us taxpayers and utility users or not. They’re the users. We’re the pawn. And I’m still baffled. Would someone please just give me the truth. I can handle it.