After almost despairing that this election might never produce a decent issue, Tim Hudak has come forward to attack … smart meters. I’m tempted here to make a sarcastic comment about the right wing always being anti-intellectual. Smart meters.
The Liberals instituted smart meters with two goals. One was to shift electricity usage from the peak hours of the day (when usage comes more from business and industry). Did this succeed? I can’t seem to locate the answer to that question anywhere and it would be good to know. However, the potential is definitely there. Shifting power consumption from peak periods puts less strain on the system, resulting in less power being generated or less power being expensively purchased from outside sources. The second reason is that it allows the people who use the more expensive power during peak periods to pay more expensive charges. This, actually, should make the conservatives happy, since their always whining about people pulling their own weight.
Hudak and the PCs say that the Premiere and government have no business telling seniors that they have to get up late to do their laundry. That would be a nice, emotionally charged argument … if it were true. The peak hour is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and to the best of my knowledge even seniors don’t go to bed at 7 p.m. “No one should be gouged for living a normal lifestyle.” Which is a typical right wing sentiment. Nobody should be encouraged to do anything that they don’t want to do, even if it promotes conservation and energy efficiency. After all, as any right wing extremist will tell you, global warming is a myth.
The most interesting thing here is that Hudak refuses to say what he would charge as a flat rate, claiming that he would strike a reasonable average. That means that the peak hour rate would drop from 10.5 cents and the off hour would rise from 5.9 cents. Remember that peak hours are peak because of commercial usage, not private. Most people actually do use their electricity at home mostly outside of the peak hours. So, in fact, the idea of using a flat rate could conceivably result in domestic use increasing in price. No wonder Hudak doesn’t want to be specific; he’s afraid that some smart Liberal can actually do the math and figure out the consequences of scrapping the smart meter.