Smart Meters continue to be stupid
Smart meters. (Toronto Sun file photo)
Turns out Smart Meters were a really dumb idea.
Well, beleaguered homeowners desperately trying to pay their skyrocketing hydro bills certainly had a pretty good idea.
Now the provincial auditor has confirmed with cold, hard facts about what hydro customers have been saying for the past seven years.
In her damning report Tuesday, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk painted a sorry picture of how your hydro bill ran so far out of control. The savings we were promised for Smart Meters didn’t materialize - and the Liberal governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have wreaked untold misery and hardship on households across the province.
Anyone who’s opened a hydro bill and groaned or wept at the staggering costs it’s added to their household costs can see how badly Smart Meters were bungled by the Liberals.
They massively over-estimated the net benefits - easy to do when you consider that, unlike other jurisdictions, they didn’t bother to do a cost-benefit analysis.
The Liberals projected Smart Meters would have a net benefit of $600 million over 15 years. Turns out, they were $512 million wrong. The actual savings were merely $88 million. Yet they told seniors on a fixed income to sit freezing in their homes during the day because they couldn’t afford to turn on a space heater. They can’t turn on the lights during the day because it costs too much.
It cost between $81 to $544 per meter to install.
Hydro One, the massive provincially owned distribution utility was singled out for its mismanagement of the program.
Hydro One installed only about 25% of the 4.8 million Smart Meters - but it accounted for $660 million - or almost half the $1.4 billion in total costs.
The Liberals have botched the entire electricity file. Their Green Energy Act has pushed energy prices out of sight. It’s not just homeowners who are hurting. The province’s once-powerful industrial heartland has been reduced to a rubble by this ragtag band of incompetents. Companies that once relied on an abundant source of cheap electricity have bailed and moved to the U.S. or Mexico.
MaRS, eHealth, Ornge, Smart Meters - everything they touch turns to crap.
It turns out the so-called “time of use” (TOU) billing Smart Meters were supposed to enable didn’t work.
The difference between off-peak and on-peak billing narrowed to such an extent, it made little difference when you turned on your dishwasher.
When TOU rates were first introduced in 2006, the on-peak rate was three times higher than off-peak.
Now it’s only 1.8 times higher, due to another little understood facet of your electricity bill, the mysterious “Global Adjustment.”
That’s a fancy name for a surcharge you get hit with on your bill to pay for guaranteed prices paid to electricity generators. It’s now 70% of your bill - and accounts for more than three times the market price of electricity.
The total gouged from your pocket by the Global Adjustment has soared from $654 million in 2006 to a whopping $7.7 billion in 2013.
And it’s expected to go up even more.
The auditor reported that between 2006 and 2015, the 10-year cumulative projected Global Adjustment is about $50 billion - almost five times the provincial deficit.
So the Liberals are raking in all this extra cash through your electricity bills - and they still can’t balance the books. And you can’t pay your hydro bills.
Of the 4.8 million Smart Meters installed across the province, approximately 812,000 haven’t transmitted any data to the provincial data centre, yet those customers still have to pay the monthly Smart Meter charge of 79 cents - totalling $42.1 million up to October 2018.
And they got nothing for it.
If I were one of those customers, I’d ask for my money back.
Meanwhile, as the demand for electricity has remained essentially the same, the government has increased generation - with costly renewables and other new sources of energy.
What are they doing with all that excess electricity? They’re shipping it to other jurisdictions - mostly to the U.S. - at a price lower than cost to generate it.
So we’re fuelling the jurisdictions that are competing with us for jobs with cheap electricity.
We keep the expensive stuff for ourselves.
And we rewarded these bumbling mismanagers with a majority government in June.