Conserve electricity? Why exactly?

The local paper reports that the local electricity usage is peaking with the current heat wave:

Electricity demand reached its 2013 peak Wednesday in Waterloo and Kitchener as the heat and humidity sent many residents searching for air-conditioned relief.

Waterloo North Hydro measured a total of 294.6 megawatts, which matched last summer’s peak and all-time high, said John Janzen, a spokesperson for Waterloo North Hydro.

We generally conserve energy. We turn off lights we aren’t using. We rarely run the dishwasher. And we try to do as few loads of wash as possible, in off peak hours. And when it comes to heat, I am fine without air conditioning, but I won’t make my wife and my animals suffer.

So in heat waves like this we turn on the air conditioning. And to get it to cool the upstairs I close lower floor vents and turn it up a bit higher. I’m bad, you say, because I’m not conserving energy. I should be willing to suffer.

Why exactly? We are nowhere near the peak demand for the province of Ontario. That was back in 2006:

Thursday’s expected peak for the province was 24,448 megawatts, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator. The provincial summer record peak occurred on August 1, 2006 when the load was 27,005 megawatts.

When people did make the effort to conserve the province responded by punishing them with smart meters, peak pricing, and higher overall rates.

The same thing happens with water rates:

Waterloo council has hiked water and sewer rates by almost seven per cent and rates will continue escalating through 2021.


Also, water sales are falling as people and businesses conserve. Governments have responded by hiking rates to recover revenues needed to pay fixed water costs.

So I don’t think of it as a failure to conserve. I think of it as a way of supporting Ontario and municipalities, and trying to avoid more punishment.


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