Peak OÂ’Clock tracks peak power usage

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - As Ontario prepares to introduce time-of-use electricity billing, the number of products to help consumers cope is growing.

Jose Gonzalez recently invented the Peak O'Clock, a simple digital clock with coloured bands to show consumers when electricity is most expensive. In June, the price of electricity is expected to nearly double during peak daytime hours.

The Ottawa man said he hopes his invention will help people make better decisions about when to do laundry or turn on an air conditioner.

"It will show you where the peak times, where the time of use rates are," Gonzalez said, adding it can even audibly alert consumers. "It has four alarms so you can set it to advise you that you're entering into peak time."

Gonzalez said there's been a lot of interest in his device so far, which he is hoping will grow this summer. He recently gave one of his clocks to Roger Marsh, Hydro Ottawa's director of metering and revenue.

Marsh said devices such as Peak O'Clock could be a big help for customers. "We're going to see more and more of that, what we call services behind the meter," Marsh said.

"Clocks to remind people, automatically programmed systems that will consider what time is it during the day... what electricity loads can I shed?"

Other Ottawa-area technology companies are jumping on the opportunities as well.

Niraj Bhargava, CEO of Energate, is building a smart thermostat that allows a resident to adjust electricity usage remotely via a computer or smart phone.

Triacta Power Technologies, in Almonte, Ont., markets a smart meter for multi-tenant buildings that keeps track of how much electricity each tenant uses, ensuring each tenant pays a fair share.


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