BC Hydro smart meter pilot demonstrates savings


Bob Elton,
President  & CEO,
BC Hydro
Vancouver, BC, Canada — (METERING.COM) — September 5, 2007 – Almost two-thirds of British Columbians participating in BC Hydro’s smart meter pilot program have saved money, when combining time-of-use rates and the technology of smart meters, data gathered in the first year of the project has shown.

BC Hydro’s Conservation Research Initiative, which was started in November 2006, is being conducted in 1,850 residential homes in six communities – Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Campbell River and Fort St John. The project is aimed at better understanding the impact of time-of-use rates on energy use by residential customers and encouraging participants to shift usage to off-peak times.

During peak hours, participants reduced their energy use by an average of 11.5 percent, ranging from 10.3 percent in the Lower Mainland to 14.4 percent in Fort St. John and 15.9 percent in Campbell River. Overall, a total of 63 percent of participants saved money through general conservation activities as well as shifting their energy consumption to off-peak hours.

The shift in some activities was quite significant. According to participants’ reports, the percentage that ran their dishwasher during peak periods dropped from 31 percent to 9 percent, while the percentage of participants that washed and dried clothes dropped from 25 percent to 10.5 percent during peak periods.

Commenting on the results Bob Elton, president and CEO of BC Hydro and a participant in the program, said that currently BC Hydro is importing electricity to meet the needs of British Columbians. “Time-of-use rates and smart meters will help lead British Columbia towards energy self-sufficiency.”

BC Hydro estimates if everyone in the province reduced their energy consumption by just 7.6 percent over the four winter months, enough energy could be saved to power 44,500 households.

BC Hydro is planning to continue the Conservation Research Initiative for a second year starting November 1, 2007. The research will allow testing of several new time-of-use rates and continued testing of smart meter technology. It is also planned to examine technologies that adjust the temperature of electric water heaters and thermostats during extreme weather conditions, when electricity demand is at its highest.

Current participants are being invited to re-enrol for Year Two and, in Campbell River, additional volunteers are being recruited.