Ontario’s Official Opposition to ‘stupid meters’: Tory leader Tim Hudak promises to unplug them… $1,000,000,000 already spent by spendthrift Libs… Angry homeowners reduce electric usage, get bigger bills from Ontario Hydro

Hudak keys in on “tax machines”: smart meters

PC leader visits home of Scarborough couple

by Danielle Milley    August 17, 2011

Though the government has already spent nearly $1 billion installing them, Tim Hudak wants to unplug the province’s smart meters.

The leader of the Progressive Conservative party was in Scarborough Tuesday morning to announce – if his party wins on Oct. 6 – it will end mandatory time-of-use pricing that goes along with the smart meters.

“Time-of-use smart meters have become nothing more than tax machines…Sadly, the Velummailum’s story is one I’m hearing not only in Scarborough, but right across Ontario,” Hudak said.

He made the announcement at the home of Ruthiran and Sakuntha Velummailum, small business owners who have seen both their business and residential electricity bills rise since the smart meters were installed and time-of-use rates introduced.

Smart meters are able to measure electricity usage hourly so that allows electricity providers (such as Toronto Hydro) to charge different rates depending on the time of day the electricity is used. When electricity demand is at its highest (peak), rates cost the most and the least in off-peak times such as weekends. Power generated during peak times is also usually the most environmentally damaging.

This means people are being asked to do laundry or run the dishwasher only on weekends or at night if they want to pay the lowest rate (Toronto Hydro recently lowered the evening start time for the lowest rate from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

“We normally do the laundry in the night time and on Saturday and Sunday,” said Sakuntha. “We turn the lights off and we still get higher bills.”

The Velummailums said their residential bills have gone up by $100 a month.

Hudak said he wants to give people the choice to opt into time-of-use rates if they want to, but not make it mandatory.

“This summer when the heat has gone up well into the 30s families were sweltering for fear of putting on the air conditioning during the day,” Hudak said. “I believe there is a better way. There is one expert who knows best how to run your home and that’s you…I just don’t believe it’s the role of the premier to lecture my mom to get up in the middle of the night to do her laundry.”

The Velummailums said they would be voting for local PC candidate Mike Chopowick, running in Scarborough Southwest, this time around. They voted Liberal in 2007.

Hudak also pledged to remove the HST and debt retirement charge from home hydro bills.

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