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.

peaksaver Review

If you live in Ottawa or Toronto (other areas are covered as well) then I suggest you check out the peaksaver program. The idea is to help the utilities control the load on the electricity system during peak periods. By signing up for the program you allow your utility to bump your thermostat setting a few degrees when necessary (think 30+ days in the summer).

For giving up a little control they pass along some nice incentives. You get a one time rebate for signing up. They also come to your home to install a new programmable thermostat which has a pretty cool feature, allowing control from a website. This feature is great if you set the thermostat to hold while you are away on vacation, just login a few hours before you get home and you return to a nice comfortable house. Not bad for something that costs you nothing but a degree or two!