Smart Meters Might Cost an Extra 81 Cents Per Month

March 28, 2012 Updated: March 28, 2012

Consumers in Ontario may have to pay an additional 81 cents per month for smart meters starting this summer.

The province’s Smart Metering Entity, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), has filed an application with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to recover the costs of development and implementation of the system storing and processing the electricity consumption data.

The system, called the Meter Data Management and Repository (MDM/R), stores and processes all of the province’s electricity consumption data which makes it possible for local distribution companies such as Hydro One to charge for time-of-use rates.

Time-of-use rates are divided into three time periods depending on electricity demand, with on-peak hours having the highest rates, and mid-peak hours costing a few cents less. Electricity normally costs less overnight and on weekends, giving consumers the choice to take advantage of off-peak rates.

The Ontario Energy Board sets the time-of-use prices and periods every May 1 and Nov. 1.

The recent application filed by IESO requests a monthly Smart Metering Charge (SMC) of $0.81 per household and retail business owner, effective July 1, 2012. These costs would cover the integration of local distribution companies and their smart meters onto the system, and maintenance and operation of the MDM/R until the end of December 2017.

The MDM/R currently processes reads from over 3.5 million meters per day. “Once all 4.7 million smart meters in the province are connected and transmitting to the system, the repository is expected to process over 120 million meter reads a day, rivalling the number of Visa transactions processed around the world on a daily basis,” says the IESO’s Website.

Smart meters were first installed in Ontario starting in 2006 as part of a long-term project to create a culture of energy conservation in the province.