Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Outsmarting the Smart Meter

Someday I may have to explain to my granddaughter Claire why Nanny Lannie only bakes on the weekends or after seven p.m. at night. Then I can tell her about the summer in 2010 when men trundled new contraptions called Smart Meters all over our town and replaced our old ones. I can also explain that around July of 2011 those Smart Meters went into effect by the Hydro One Company to regulate our hydro usuage. Sunddenly we must relearn how and when to use our electrical power so as not to add more cost to our bills.

Some changes came quickly, some more slowly. Did I remember to unplug the toaster this morning? Are the lamps in the spare bedroom unplugged as it isn't used regularly? The vacuuming should get done on the weekends but do I really want to do it then? Weekends are for quality time with hubby.

The laundry has to wait until the weekends, a dark load one day and a white load the next. If it's an emergency then it can be done after seven p.m. but then I'm folding up laundry later in the evening. After supper is my relaxing time, time to watch a movie or read a good book. The government is playing havoc with my down time!.

If I want to bake tarts, a pie or some brownies, then I try and do it also on the weekends. Not that we need desserts but if company is coming it's nice to have a treat after supper. It hasn't been a big change to start the dishwasher after 7 p.m., I had trained myself to start it around ten p.m. and since most of the time there is only the two of us for meals, we just run it twice a week.

Jim goes around behind me turning off lights, leaving me almost sitting in the dark! I'm not used to this. I'm a person who likes light, the more the better. We go around checking all the lamps making sure we've changed the old style light bulbs for the new longer lasting ones.

I was almost having anxiety attacks when the summer B.B.Q. season ended and I knew I'd have to start cooking suppers on the "electric" stove inside! Now I knew we didn't want to wait until after 7 p.m. to start eating so could I figure out a way to do it more economically? We had so many tomatoes over the summer I froze batches of spaghetti sauce, chili and bowls of tomato/meat sauce for soup. Once thawed the reheating of the above meals could be heated in the microwave. Perhaps turning the heat up higher on the stove would start things cooking sooner so I could turn the burners off quicker.

If we want a roast or chicken done in the oven, save them for the weekend. How economical will it be to do things in the slow cooker now when some recipes take anywhere form six to eight hours to simmer? I think I'm going dizzy!

We have adapted to the new rhythm of weekend laundry, it's now become a habit. The dishwasher in the evening was already a formed habit. The baking is getting a bit more settled in my mind, perhaps Saturday mornings would work for that.

The supper meals are still a bit of a mystery as to how to avoid long oven or stove top use, perhaps we could eat out more, there's an idea! Or have a night with sandwiches, Jim loves sandwiches. (his idea).

The government has got us in it's grip this winter as we must cook inside and we need to have the furnace going, at least those of us who don't heat with wood. I'm going to get out a few months hydro bills and compare the cost to see how we are doing.

Now don't get me going on the water bills!


  1. We have our meters but they haven't started using them yet around here. However, we already live as though we are "on the meter" so it'll be old hat by the time it starts. We cook up lots of stuff on the weekends and just nuke it during the week, it's not so bad. How have your bills been - have they gone up much?

  2. Hi Jane: I couldn't find a bill for hydro after July but I think we'd thought it had gone down..of course we cooked outside all the summer and I was hanging laundry outside then..I'm doing laundry tonight after 7 p.m. it was piling up on me..we got about six inches of snow today..Jim had to fire up the snowblower to do the back deck..winter is here! luv L.Dee

  3. Does this mean that if you use electricity on the weekend they charge you a cheaper rate? Sounds pretty confusing to me. We've had to adjust to much more expensive electricity living here on the island but there's no way around it. It's expensive any day of the week so we just try to be aware of how much we use.

  4. Hi Marguerite: Yes, it's cheaper on the weekend. There are off-peak rates, mid-peak rates and on-peak rates..also the times differ in the summer and winter..On-peak rate 10.7 cent/kwh, off peak is 5.9..cheaper rates starts after 7 pm. on week nights..cheap rate all weekend..mid-peak during week from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. so you are paying the dearer rate right at supper time..it sounds confusing but I'm getting used to it..just started my dishwasher about 7:15 p.m., cheap rate..I know electricity is more money there, it will be hard on us for awhile..take care Lannie