Parker Gallant on Ontario energy ministers: wish there was an app to turn them off!
Turning Liberal Energy Ministers off! Wish there was an app for that!
A September 4th article in the Ottawa Sun was another announcement from Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, telling us about a new device “for consumers to save money and conserve energy”. This “test” for a new software application tracks movement from room to room (motion sensors) to shut off the vent(s)/registers in the room you left and turn on those in the room you enter.
According to the company, the device could cost an average of $1,400 per home noting but “a government rebate and mass production of the product might reduce the price.”
Gee, I wonder who will pick up the tab for that “government rebate” the company wants?
Minister Chiarelli will the device will result in “Savings of eight to 10 per cent per month would be passed onto homeowners, although it is so far a “conservative estimate.”
The Sun article stated that “the average monthly bill for Hydro Ottawa customers on time-of-use rates in 2012 was $114.19” so the 10% savings would amount to $11.42 per month or $137.04 annually, meaning the device would be paid for in slightly over 10 years. Those off/on register sensors will be installed by HVAC companies and are battery-operated—were those two additional costs factored in?
The device will be installed and tested in 35 homes thanks to a $182,000 ($5,200 per home) grant from the OPA (Ontario Power Authority) funded by all Ontario ratepayers.
If the 8% to 10% savings sounds enticing, you likely live in a very large house with only a couple of occupants. In other words, you are not an “average” electricity consumer using 800 kilowatts per month! The proposed government grant paid for by “average” ratepayers shouldn’t be subsidizing the affluent!
Ratepayers: picking up the costs
Those “average” ratepayers are already picking up the costs of the Green Energy Act, subsidizing wind and solar generation, paying for gas plant moves, paying gas generators to idle turbines, paying for our neighbours New York, Michigan and Quebec to purchase subsidized electricity, paying for smart meters that Hydro One have messed up, paying for the Ombudsman to investigate Hydro One’s billing system, paying for wind and solar generators to not produce power, paying for meteorological stations at wind generation locations, paying for development of a “smart grid,” paying for lawyers at the MoE (Ministry of the Environment) to fight “average” ratepayers at Environmental Review Tribunals, paying local distribution companies to compensate them for reduced revenue because we conserved energy, paying for the OPA multimedia ads telling us to conserve energy, paying subsidies to convert incandescent street lights to LED bulbs for municipalities and now, paying for the OPA to provide grants of $5,200 per household to test a product “average” ratepayers will be unable to afford.
The OPA’s conservation budget of $483 million for 2014 has found yet another way to punish the “average” ratepayer, driving more of us into “energy poverty.” Don’t we already do our laundry on weekends, eat after 7 PM, set our air conditioners higher, our furnace lower and turn off the lights when we leave a room—all to “save money and conserve energy”?
The article in the Sun also carried this quote from the minister: “The whole electricity sector is being invaded by software and information technology in almost every aspect of it and it’s actually revolutionizing how the electricity system is working.”
The revolution Minister Chiarelli refers to, is perpetuating the myth that we can afford to “’save more” energy. The Ottawa Sun article noted “household consumption of residential electricity has declined around 14% over the last decade”. The decline is due to the 100-plus % increase in costs to “average” ratepayers! In the 11 years of Liberal rule we have suffered through 10 ministerial appointments to this portfolio (two each for Duncan, Phillips and Chiarelli); all had a hand in making Ontario one of the most expensive jurisdictions in North America for electricity costs.
What the province desperately needs is an “app” for the “average” ratepayer to stop energy ministers from their need to spend ratepayer dollars to tell us to conserve when we are already doing exactly that!
Voters had that “app” June 12, 2014, but they didn’t use it!
September 9, 2014
The opinions expressed are those of the author