Ontario’s soaring hydro bills offset conservation efforts and hurt conservers most: study

Soaring hydro costs are offsetting ratepayer conservation efforts and hurting conservers most, according to a new joint study by the Consumer Policy Institute and Energy Probe.

Brady Yauch has a new study out, and his work is both worth reading and very readable.

I won’t comment too much on the study, which shows it’s very hard to conceive of anybody capable of saving money on electricity; rather, Yauch’s inclusion of a figure illustrating “Regulated Natural Gas Rates in Ontario” inspired me to gather some statistics and  create a chart showing the trend, or lack of one, in natural gas pricing in Ontario along with the very discernible trend in electricity commodity pricing:

rates

Yauch’s work makes an argument that one can’t save money on electricity bills in Ontario by conserving electricity – an argument I probably needed to hear 5 years ago – but how about by substituting electricity with another energy source?

Converting the figures from the above graphic to a common unit (megajoules):MJcomp

What does this mean for people?

Investing in conservation should be weighed against investing in fuel switching.

Yauch mentions the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) uses 800 kilowatt-hours for the average monthly consumption of an Ontario ratepayer, and the old 2-tiered rate method (which some remain on) had that as the 800MW as the average differentiation between the lower and higher tiers. However, the higher rates kicked in at 1000 kWh in the winter months, and 600 kWh in the summer months. Here I’ll assume there was a residence somewhere in Ontario that heated with 400kWh of electricity during winter months to show the commodity price difference between heating with gas and electricity.

gasElecCost

So the data shows somebody in the OEB’s imaginary tiny residence would pay about $200 less in commodity costs if heating with gas instead of electricity, and the ratio is up spectacularly since Ontario’s Green Energy Act assaulted affordable electricity. Other charges are an equally significant portion of electricity bills, so in reality the difference would be closer to $300 per year – when I heated with electricity I could consume 2400 kWh in 2 weeks, and 10 times that much in a winter.

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