Ontario Energy Grid: Destined for Unreliability
Written by Elly I have a confession to make: I am terrified of (post-)apocalypse movies. Not because of the zombies/plagues/large-scale natural disasters, but because of the complete collapse of civic infrastructure. That is my nightmare scenario, folks. No running water. No electricity.* No laws. No law enforcement. [[MORE]] And the fact that, according to these movies, we’re all going to turn...
Germany Puts Canada to Shame on Solar
Written by Elly This article came across my Facebook news feed last weekend. Germany was able to meet 50% of its electricity demand with solar energy. It’s from last year so it isn’t totally current. I still find it interesting, though, given the generation theme that’s been going on here for a couple posts. [[MORE]] My first thought was, “Where do they find the space?!? Germany is so small...
The Most Energy Efficient Way to Cook Bacon
Mmmmmmm…Baaaaaaaaaaacon. We all love it. It’s the most delicious cut of meat on Earth and that’s not really up for debate. Every year, more than two billion pounds of bacon is consumed in the US alone. If the average piece of bacon is 1 oz, then that’s about 32 billion pieces of bacon or roughly 107 slices per person. That’s a lot of hog. We love bacon so much, a...
Another Reason to Avoid On-Peak Energy Usage
Written by Elly Since my last post about Ontario’s generation mix, I’ve been wondering about the interplay between time-of-use and power generation. We all understand that, under a time-of-use pricing scheme, on-peak hours are the most expensive. And we understand that they are the most expensive because on-peak hours are when demand is highest. Charging more for electricity at these times is an...
Understanding Ontario's Energy Supply Mix
Written by Elly Have you ever wondered what is really supplying your electricity? Not who (as in your local electrical company), but what. How is that local electricity company generating all that power? [[MORE]] I live in Ottawa; Hydro Ottawa is my local electricity provider. And, with a name like that, I used to assume that most of my power was coming from HYDRO electric dams in …...
Do You Really Understand Your Electricity Bill?
Written by Elly When you get your electricity bill, how closely do you look at it? Honestly, do you really look at all those charges? Do you know what any of them really mean? [[MORE]] The Cost of Electricity is Only Half Your Bill It might surprise you to know that your usage only directly affects half of the charges on your bill. You could even say that you only actually control half your...
Calculate the Energy Cost of Your Christmas Lights
Written by Elly Every neighbourhood has one – a house bedecked and bejewelled from stem to stern in Christmas lights. There are a few in mine and every time I go by one of them, I can’t help but think, “How much is all this additional electricity costing them?!?” [[MORE]] Well, apparently this question bothers me enough that I’ve decided to figure it out (approximately) using the...
Household-Level Information Survey: New SwitchHop...
Happy Friday SwitchHoppers. We’re pretty excited to announce a new feature we released – household level information. If you provide this information (which is totally optional), your peer comparisons will be more precise (since you’ll be compared to homes with similar characteristics). [[MORE]] Why is this important? Well, lots of reasons. Let’s say your house is heated with...
Program Your Thermostat Around Time of Use Rates
Written by Elly Recently, my husband and I moved from a house with natural gas heating to an apartment with baseboard heaters. This will be our first winter with electrical heat and we were a bit worried about how this would affect our electricity bill. Luckily, our landlord was willing to install programmable thermostats for us. While we were trying to figure out what combination of settings...
All in a Day for SwitchHop →
We were on CBC Radio yesterday rapping about SwitchHop with host Alan Neal (rapping as in talking, not actually rapping. Although, that would have been pretty cool too). Hit the link if you’re interested in hearing it. Cheers.
Friends Are Better Than Power Meters
Rick thought his power consumption was pretty average…until he added some friends on SwitchHop and realized that he’s a power hog. It’s not his fault – how was he supposed to know that a baseload of 1 kWh was unusually high? It wasn’t until he compared himself with friends that he realized his home was consuming about double the power of everyone else. Lots of people who...
Historical Home Energy Data Has Arrived
We’ve just made it much easier for you to get your analytical geek on! You can now use SwitchHop to look back historically at your energy usage. It’s a useful feature that gives you insight into where to focus your energy conservation efforts. It also helps you measure past efforts to determine whether or not they were worth your while. [[MORE]] How Does It Work? SwitchHop lets you...
New Features: Buddy System and TOU Indicator
Woohoo! New Features! We just rolled-out some awesome new features that are really going to improve your SwitchHop experience. [[MORE]] Friend System You can now buddy-up to see how your power consumption stacks-up to your friends. On your personal page, you’ll notice a link to “see your friends”. That’ll take you to your friends page (go figure). Once there, you’ll see a graph that compares...
Why Did We Build SwitchHop Home Energy Management?
As you start to use SwitchHop, you might be thinking, “Why did these guys build this amazing service?” (at least, we hope you’re thinking that ☺ ). The way we consume power and pay for it has been virtually the same for a long, long time. We blindly consume energy then get a bill for it a month after the fact. That’s kind of archaic considering the technology that’s out there today. So,...
Infographic: What Are Your Appliances Costing You?
Check out this infographic to see what some of your appliances are costing you in power consumption each year. Might push you over the edge to go buy that energy efficient fridge you’ve been eyeing…
Case Study – How Behaviour Affects Electricity...
Hi, Alex here from the SwitchHop team. For you early adopters of SwitchHop: thanks so much for taking part. We’re really excited to have you on board. And just wait – there’s some awesome features in the pipeline that’ll be released shortly. We’re also working to bring you lots of valuable content to help you get the most of our current version of the toolset. So, one...
Ontario Energy Prices Going Up Again! →
Hit the link in the title to read the Globe and Mail article. Wow. Ontario Energy Board increases the cost of energy…again… Changes effective May 1st.
How to Figure Out Your Base Load Like a Champ and...
Hello! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely started using SwitchHop. Awesome! We’re happy to have you onboard. One of the first things you’ll want to figure out is your approximate base load. Doing this lets you start to understand what behaviours and things are driving your usage (and bill) through the roof. [[MORE]] What is a base load? There’s varying...
Hello there! We’re scurrying as fast as we can to bring you some valuable content! In the meantime, hit up our RSS feed so that you’re automagically notified when we post new stuff. Also, if you haven’t already done this, you should click here to sign up for an invitation to SwitchHop.