Below, Minister Duncan correctly identifies me as a supporter of the smart meter program, although I have argued on this blog for a move toward real time prices and away from time of use prices. Many Ontario citizens have grown concerned about our electricity future at a time that happens to coincide with the introduction of smart meters. The smart meters are getting blamed for Ontario’s skyrocketing rates, although the contribution of smart meters has been very small. The benefits of smart meters includes improved emergency response in the event of power system failures, better monitoring of power quality, and more optimized designs for distribution infrastructure which will ultimate produce some cost savings. The concerns I have with regard to smart meters include the need to ensure consumer privacy and ensuring that the technology and its associated back office functions operate reliably over long time periods so that the capital costs can be properly spread over many years.
Hon. Dwight Duncan: On the question of smart meters, I don’t ask them to take my word for it. Let’s see what others have to say.
“It has been proposed to let people choose whether to pay a flat rate for their electricity or have time-of-use pricing. I believe this would be short-sighted,” says Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner.
“With the new time-use-rate structure, all customers will pay closer to the actual cost for the power they use. On average, most farmers will pay … less on time-of-use billing than they currently pay.” That’s from Don McCabe, of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Even Tom Adams, who I know was a big promoter of your market deregulation scheme, says: “Ultimately, it’s going to be a minor win for the consumer. On balance, I think the smart meter is the right thing to do.” That’s Tom Adams, energy consultant.
Post Script (September 10, 2013): The date in the title of this post is incorrect and should have referred to November 22, 2010. Here is the Hansard reference.