Ontario Energy Saving Programs and Incentives that will Save you Money
If the change in season has you dreading your utilities bills, there are a number of ways to mitigate the increased drain on your resources. Saving on energy not only alleviates your winter woes, but is also environmentally friendly. The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) offers a number of programs that can help you monitor consumption and switch your energy usage to off-peak times.
The time-of-use price structure determines how much you pay for electricity at different times of the day. Energy used during peak consumption times costs more than energy consumed during off-peak times. Currently, residents of Ontario pay 6.5c per kilowatt hour off peak times, 10c for mid-peak and 11.7c for on-peak times. The summer times are shown on the left with the winter times on the right with off-peak hours in green, mid-peak in yellow and on-peak times in red.
Weekends and holidays are registered as off-peak times. If you want reminders of the times while on the go, get the mobile-friendly time link here.
Tailoring activity to off-peak times can make a huge dent in your monthly hydro bill. There are several programs run by the OPA which help you to effectively utilize off-peak pricing.
These meters give accurate readings and detailed breakdowns on your hydro bill so that you can monitor not only energy consumption, but time-of-use details too. This can help you restructure household activities to take advantage of off-peak pricing. Smart meters have been installed in residential and industrial areas around Ontario. You should already see the detailed information from your smart meter reflected on your monthly hydro bill. Contact your local provider if you do not have access to this information.
Enrolling in this OPA program will help you to monitor and regulate your energy consumption. When you enroll in the Peaksaver Plus program, you receive a free programmable thermostat which will be installed by the OPA. During peak hours, the thermostat will reduce your AC units so that they circulate air (rather than cooling it). This usually occurs between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. for a maximum of four hours. The number of times a year that this occurs will be less than 10 (averages about 2 to 4). Sign up for the program here.
You can earn up to 100 air miles when you take the saveONenergy pledge and join the Peaksaver Plus program. See details here.
Heating and cooling incentive
When you install energySTAR qualified central heating and cooling systems through participating contractors, the OPA will provide rebates. According to the saveONenergy website, the following rebates apply:
- $250 incentive when you have an existing furnace replaced with the purchase and installation of a high-efficiency furnace equipped with an Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM).
- $250 incentive when you have an existing central air conditioner (CAC) replaced with the purchase and installation of an ENERGY STAR qualified CAC system (NOTE: ENERGY STAR qualified criteria = minimum 14.5 SEER and 12 EER ).
- $400 incentive when you have an existing CAC replaced with the purchase and installation of a stand-alone CEE “Tier 2” level central air conditioning system (NOTE: “Tier 2” level qualified criteria = minimum 15 SEER and 12.5 EER).
Get a list of participating contractors here.