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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I conserve energy in my home?

There are many free and inexpensive ways to conserve energy in your home.  Some improvements for your home will cost money, but these are often good investments that will reduce your electricity bills in the future. For tips and ideas, see the IESO’s www.saveONenergy.ca website.

Why is my electricity bill so much higher than last year at this time?

There are a number of factors that could have an unexpected impact on your energy usage. Here are a few:

Seasonal Differences
Changes in the season can have an impact on the amount of electricity you use. The weather may have been much warmer or cooler this past month than in the previous comparable months.

Equipment Operation/Changes
Another factor could be the operation or changes in equipment. Have there been any problems with your equipment? Have you changed your main source of heating/cooling? 

If none of these factors can reasonably explain the difference in your bill, give us a call and we will look at your account further to help determine the cause of increased usage.

How does a smart meter work?

On an hourly basis, the amount of electricity you use is tracked by the smart meter on your home. Each day, this hourly information is sent by wireless connection to a data collector located in your neighbourhood. The data is sent to the provincial smart meter data repository which calculates how much electricity was used during on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak hours.

This information is returned to North Bay Hydro to calculate your bill. This energy use information will also help in the development of electricity forecasts and will help the Ontario Energy Board determine future time-of-use prices. Only authorized parties, such as North Bay Hydro, will have access to the highly secure database.

Homeowners will have access to their energy use data in two ways:
North Bay Hydro invoices will provide consumption data each billing cycle; and It is North Bay Hydro’s intention to make the previous day’s energy consumption information available each morning on a secure personalized web page.This information allows you to manage your energy use based on time-of-use prices.

What is time of use pricing?

With time-of-use prices, the price of electricity will depend on when you use it. Time-of-use prices reflect the fact that the cost to provide electricity changes throughout the day. When demand is low, less expensive sources of electricity are used. When demand rises, more expensive forms of electricity production are called upon, making prices higher.

Image for Time of Use Pricing

Why time of use pricing?

A. Large quantities of electricity can’t be stored in a practical way, so it must be produced to meet demand on an instantaneous basis. As a result, the province needs enough generating capacity to meet the highest levels of demand at any one time. In 2006, for example, Ontario demand surpassed 25,000 MW for only 32 hours of the year. As a result, the province needed the extra production capacity – just to meet those few hours when demand reached record levels.

High demand peaks affect the power system in three ways:
They strain the power system. Particularly during sustained heat-waves, power generators work at almost full capacity.
High demand pushes up the cost to produce electricity. At peak, more expensive types of electricity production are called upon.
Peak demand forecasts are used by power system planners to determine how much more power production the province will need in the years ahead. The higher the demand peaks, the more investment will be needed in the electricity system – building new generation plants, new transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Current Ontario Energy Board Rates

What can I do to make the most of TOU pricing?

Here are some simple tips to make time-of-use prices work for you:
When it is time for new appliances, purchase appliances with timers.
You can set your washing machine, dryer, dish washer to come on during non-peak times.

Saving your money, the grid and cutting greenhouse gas:
Try setting your dishwasher to start after 10:00 pm when off-peak prices begin.
Clothes dryers consume a lot of energy. Wait until evening or the weekend and you’ll pay a third of the cost.

Set your air conditioner a few degrees higher than you normally would, and turn it off when no-one is home. Making wise use of your air conditioner will have the biggest impact on your summer energy bill. In winter, turn the heat down a couple of degrees when you’re not at home. Even if you’re home is heated with gas or oil, you’ll reduce the cost of operating the furnace fan. Run cold-water washes during off-peak hours.

If you have a pool, run your pump and heater during off-peak hours. You may only need to run your pump for six or eight hours a day. Turn off or unplug any appliance or light that is not needed. Why pay for electricity that you’re not using?

Future smart appliances outfitted with computer chips will be able to sense when the transmission system are stressed and partially turn themselves off to save critical kilowatts — potentially staving off catastrophe. Consumers will experience minimal impact when their dryer’s heating element temporarily cool as the drum keeps tumbling until the grid re-stabilize.