The CBC today carried a horrifying article reporting on a ‘study’ commissioned by the Ontario Energy Board that recommends Time of Use differentials three to four times the current rates. The reason for this is their concern that consumers are just not getting the message about shifting their usage to more convenient times for the generators. And therefor more incentives must be applied (punishments) to encourage this shift and eliminate the troubling winter morning and evening peak usages. And the report compares Ontario billing with ‘best practices’ — a clear sign that the consultants were working to their own script.
What was interesting about this was that there was not one mention of why there are peaks in usage and whether it is practical for people to shift their loads. A personal example is required — we live in an all-electric house in rural Ontario. We pump our own water and heat the house electrically. We have moved every reasonable load into the cheap periods — my wife jokes about workends as opposed to weekends as this is the only time one can do laundry and baking. We are not nightowls so go to bed at a reasonable time and let the house cool off for best sleeping. During the day we avoid power using activities where possible. But still we need to go to the bathroom and move about — so the water pump runs on occasion. We have a lot of south-facing windows so our passive solar heating is quite good. During a snowstorm the sun is absent so we need to let the baseboards run to stay comfortable and avoid freezing the pipes. We tell ourselves that two sweaters are fashionable.
But this level of societal masochism is clearly not enough for these clowns. They want us to pay dearly for being diurnal and wanting to do things during the day. Good thing we are both retired — if we wrapped our lives around the schedules of work and school we would be even more constrained to use power in the ‘bad’ periods. It would seem to me that the ‘power planners’ have forgotten that our society is based on electric energy and by incentivising us to move away from it we move society back to a different mode of existence. It is like saying that global warming is a good thing and those killer London smogs of half a century ago were desirable and a model for everyone.
In a rural area there is no natural gas (sorry, cows) and trucked in fuel is always expensive — but at least it is not Time of Use metered (like those poor buggers in California). A lot of our neighbors use wood to heat — cheap and sustainable in small quantities although not very clean. If these idiots go forward we will also have to look towards some sort of combustion process to provide our own heat and maybe look to putting in a windmill to pump our water. This will certainly add to the greenhouse gasses and contribute to denuding the area of its trees (like many places in the world where they were forced to burn wood). With the trees gone there will be little to absorb the carbon dioxide and other pollutants that we produce.
We will survive, too bad about the environment. But gradually the trappings of 20th century civilization will be rolled back. Every house will have its fires, maybe we will rediscover candles as a source of light, and I am sure the garage will get turned back into a stable — we can grow oats, but $2/litre gas and even more expensive vehicles will be unobtainable. And non-polluting electric cars?? In your dreams. The prosperous, comfortable world that reliable, clean and affordable electricity made available to the citizens of Ontario and elsewhere will be gone. In its place will be the smoky towns and cities with people picking out their lives on the trash heaps of history. But the Lords of creation — the high party officials and corporate executives will live out their comfortable lives knowing that by refeudalizing soceity they have finally destroyed western civilization. What a waste…