Sunday, September 8, 2013

this is smart: "an incinerator for our hard earned dollars"

Parker Gallant, who I frequently have the good fortune of collaborating with, has a new article inspired by his experience with smart meters.

Parker Gallant: Hydro One and Ontario Energy Ministers–smarter? You judge | WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO: On WordPress:
...Tyler Hamilton (the “expert” commentator as noted by Alicia Johnston in e-mails recently released by the government and commented on by Tom Adams) wrote an article for the October 7, 2010Toronto Star. The article was all about “smart meters” and the wonders they would perform for all of the ratepayers in Ontario. It contained quotes from an IBM “technology consultant” including this one: “ ‘Right now, Ontario is a world leader in the smart grid and smart meter systems,’ he explained. ‘Dozens of utilities around the world are watching what’s going on here. In a way, we have become a micro lab for the rest of the world.’”
...power utilities around the world must now be laughing up their sleeve at the wasted money Ontario’s ratepayers are forced to absorb. The “microlab” referenced by the IBM technology consultant has turned out instead to be an incinerator for our hard earned dollars!
Please read Parker Gallant's full article at WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

Parker's writing on smart meters inspired me to take a look at some data for the past couple of years.  The data I'm looking at is the the system operator's (IESO), and, to a lesser extent, Hydro One's.

One important data note: the IESO reports hours 1 to 24 each day, which means that the hour being reported changes when clocks "spring forward" for daylight savings time and again when clocks "fall back".  My understanding is that hour 15 will refer to the hour from 2-3 pm when Ontario is not in "daylight savings time", and the hour from 3-4 when it is (in the summer).

A second note: time-of-use hours were changed by the government, primarily to appease voters prior to 2011's fall election by starting off peak hours at 7pm (a couple of hours earlier than previously)

I've pulled the number of times peak demand has occurred at an hour (only for days which have "on-peak" charges, which excludes weekends and holidays).  The pattern by hour is difficult to see (shown at the bottom of this page); it is moving later either because demand really is shifting to later periods, or, more likely, because solar production in Ontario isn't tracked and impacts reported demand.

The impact on time-of-use billing is that peak daily demand, as reported in the IESO data, is occurring less and less frequently in the "on-peak" hours that the majority of Ontarians, subject to regulated price plans, are charged.

In 2013's months of March, April, May and June, combined, there were only 6 days when Ontario's demand peaked during an "on-peak" pricing hour.
In July and August of 2011, 21 days had demand peak during on-peak hours, in 2012 it dropped to 19 and in 2013 it dropped to only 14.


Peak hour: count of times the days peak "Ontario Demand" occurs at that hour (full page display here)

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