peaksaver Plus Review

In 2009 I signed up for the peaksaver program of HydroOttawa. At the time I was mostly interested in getting a new programmable thermostat and liked the idea of the ability to control it remotely.  All free.  Overall I liked that program, you can read more in my peaksaver Review.

This year HydroOttawa started offering the peaksaver Plus program.  This program includes the programmable thermostat, that was part of the original program, combined with a wireless energy display.  Existing peaksaver customers can sign up for the new program.  I was hoping this would include the newer thermostat but all you get is the energy monitor.

The energy monitor is pretty cool.  I have used a Kill-A-Watt energy monitor by P3 International for a few years now.  That device allows you to monitor the power consumption of a single device or multiple devices running from a power bar. This is great for finding out the true power consumption of devices around your house, but is limited to things that you can plug-in to a standard wall outlet.

The peaksaver Plus energy display allows to see you whole house consumption in real-time.  It can display the amounts in watts or in dollars, based on time of use billing.  This gives you a good idea of how much you are using at any given time and over longer periods.  The display also has a feature to zero the current load so that you can figure out the impact of turning on a single appliance or device. Great for figuring out what your furnace, central air or lighting consumes.

So far the big surprise for me is the load created by lights, those little pot lights certainly take up a fair amount of power. Now I have to get my family to remember to shut off lights when they leave a room.

The energy display receives its information from a transmitter that attaches to your hydro meter. The display gives the temperature at the transmitter, which for most people means outside, in our case the basement temperature. The display has time, day of the week and current billing rate (off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak).

The only thing I don’t like about the display is that when the electricity system switches from summer to winter billing periods the user is responsible for reprogramming the display. Too bad they couldn’t figure out how to store two sets of rates and just have the user do a quick single step reprogramming.

If you have gotten the display or have questions then let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The video below explains the program. More information available, including online enrollment, on the HydroOttawa peaksaver Plus website.

  • Kevin

    Hi James:
    Hydro Ottawa now has an option to give you a display that talks directly to your electric meter. The meter keeps the display time synchronized, as well, it can change the price rates as they change too. I work for the company that manufactures your electric meter and the company that makes the In-home display, is our business partner, named Aztech. Aztech are based in Kingston, ON.

  • Hey Kevin,

    Thanks for letting us know about the update. This new unit makes a lot more sense then the current system, which I imagine most people have just not bothered updating. I will have to see if I can get Hydro Ottawa to give me a new unit to test out.

    I assume that the new unit continues to read data from the IR port on the meter?

    Thanks
    James

  • Kevin

    Hi James

    The new unit does not require anything attached to the meter. It talks to your meter over the 900 Mhz radio that the meter communicates to it’s network. It is secure and encrypted communications, so no one outside of your meter can get access to your consumption data.
    Keep in touch, I’ll talk to HO to see if I can give you a unit.

    Cheers
    Kevin

  • Sounds like a much better solution then strapping a transmitter to the meter. If you manage to get a unit I will be sure to try it out and report back.

    Thanks
    James

  • buzz

    I have the BLI-00292 display unit which reads from the BLI-28000 strap on monitor. I would be much more useful if the display unit kept accurate time. I would prefer to be able to monitor the usage on my computer or laptop rather than have a separate display. This would allow a historical logging of data.

  • GuySmiley

    I just revived my “old skool” peaksaver sensor with a fresh set of batteries and decided to reprogram for the new hydro rates and seasonal peak/mid peak flip-flop. The manual is less than clear on how to set the start/end times of our 3 TOU periods… can anyone shed some light on how to properly set these up?

  • GuySmiley

    Are you with Ottawa Hydro? You can log in to their “MyHydroLink profile” at https://secure.hydroottawa.com/Usage/Login.aspx site and it’ll give you many, many options for displaying graphs of your usage over the past weeks and months – I’m pretty sure you can also download them as .csv or some such.

  • Hi GuySmiley, your complaint about the old style system is fairly common. I think most people just gave up on reprogramming and just ended up using the power monitor in the power usage mode. Something the new model is supposed to solve, yet to see one of the new ones in action. Let us know if you have any luck figuring out the reprogramming or maybe someone else can offer some advice.

  • GuySmiley

    As it happens, I got lucky on the Blue Line Innovations website. In their forums they have links to YouTube videos on how to change to summer and winter “modes” – takes all of 2 minutes once you know what you’re doing!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx-nE5HmJww for summer

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E_T2CxqzgA for winter

    Did Hydro Ottawa have anything to say to your request for the new metering setup?

  • That does look fairly easy. I will give it a try on mine. Thanks for reporting back.