Smart meters a ‘trap’

ORILLIA, ONTARIO - Smart meters will trap residential hydro customers into paying the way for heavy industrial users, says Coun. Maurice McMillan.

“This meter is a trap, an absolute trap,” McMillan told The Packet & Times.

During a recent council committee meeting, the public power firebrand told John Mattinson, president of the Orillia Power Corporation, and Larry Brooksbank, chair of the board, the smart meter is “actually an industrial meter.”

McMillan argued big industry isnÂ’t budging from consuming during peak times, while the residential user is enticed to shift usage to non-peak times, such as weekends and evenings, to avoid higher prices through the $1-billion provincial program.

Brooksbank pointed out the smart meter isnÂ’t a voluntary program, but one legislated by the province.

The Ontario government plans to install 800,000 smart meters across the province by yearÂ’s end. All consumers are to have one in place by Dec. 31, 2010.

Meant to discourage consumption during peak times, the devices track how much power is used and at what time of day. Consumers will pay higher prices for electricity during periods of high demand, and lower prices during periods of low demand.

“If we can get people to reduce their energy consumption, that does have a payback,” Brooksbank said.

Coun. Paul Spears said the smart-meter system could become a hardship for busy young families who typically find time to do household chores during peak hours.

“Those are peak times for them to sort of get things done,” Spears said.


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