Saturday, 12 November 2011

Energy headline offensive

Barrie Advance
November 08, 2011
Letter to the Editor
Iain Robertson

BARRIE - Your Nov. 1 headline in the Barrie Advance “Hike puts home ownership at risk” is by far one of the most ridiculous and frankly, most offensive I have read.  
If home ownership is at risk due to a $2.27 increase in electricity, I think there are other issues not related to the cost of electricity, would you not agree?  
Let’s round the increase up to $20 and if someone’s home ownership is resting on $20, is electricity really the culprit?  
The hike by the province in electricity rates is one tenth of a cent, for every thousand watts consumed (critical word, consumed) in one hour. Not even a penny.
A kilowatt-hour is 1000 watts consumed in an hour. The reasonable estimate by the province, and I would support this as an energy consultant, is the net increase in costs of $2.27.  To put this huge increase in another fashion, about the cost of two double doubles a month. 
To put some scope on a kilowatt-hour, imagine turning on your largest stove element to high and leaving it on for 1 hour. 
My washer and dryer as well as my fridge are about 10 years old and not high efficiency.
I have Internet, I have cable, I do not have a freezer and someone is home 24/7.  
There are four of us living in our home including a 12 year old that watches TV (a big electricity consumer, the 12 year old and the TV).  
Our average monthly electricity invoice for the last year has been $90 per month before HST.  
How someone spends $135 and has nothing that I have, I cannot explain.
Did someone check?  Did anyone verify any statements made? For reference, I provided facts in a letter you printed months ago, the cost to do laundry for a typical family of four, all year long, including the dryer, is about $150.  The conversion to Time of Use would see this increase about $1 a year.  I also provided a letter explaining my household electricity costs year over year have dropped, albeit only a few dollars but it seems tenths of cents matter so the costs have gone down significantly.
When people are “relaxing at home right after work and making dinner”, they will spend about 9.4 cents to make dinner (stove, oven for 30 minutes).  A dime to heat and cook food.  If they microwave their food, about half.  With the increase in electricity rates that, based on your headline, could soon result in mortgage defaults across the province, the cost to make dinner will surge to 9.5 cents.  
Want to give some real and factual advice about saving energy?  To save $50 a month on your electricity bill right away, turn off your TV. 
I close with one philosophical question to all of you, is keeping your food cold and your body warm (or cool), and cooking, and having lights during the night time all worth about $135 each month?
Iain Robertson
General Manager
RePower Canada

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