Archive for Aggravations

Smart Meters were never meant to save ‘everyone’ money

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

The opposition parties started complaining yesterday after it was discovered that studies are showing that Smart Meters have caused most households to spend more on electricity, rather than less.  NDP leader Andrea Horwath ranted:

”Here we have a system that’s costing us $1 billion and people aren’t getting the benefit in cost savings and they’re not getting the benefit in conservation. It’s a complete failure.”

And apparently Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak “literally laughed out loud” at the idea that Smart Meters were saving people money.  He’s even promised that, if elected, his party would end the program. 

But here’s the thing… Smart Meters were never intended to save everyone money.  In fact, they literally cannot save everybody money.

Don’t believe me? Lets consider:

Smart meters allow the system to keep a record of when electricity is being used, in addition to how much. So you can see that you used x amount of electricity between 7am and 12pm, for example.  Because of that, the utility company can reliably set up a tiered system that charges you more for electricity during peak times, and less during off-peak times.  And your bill can be broken down to show exactly what you used, and when.  It’s an incentive-based program; the incentive being the high price associated with peak periods.

The idea is that when you see how much it costs to use electricity during peak times, you will make the effort to change your own habits, so that you use less when it is more expensive and more when it is less expensive.

The key here is that it is up to the consumers to make sure that they change their own habits. If you don’t change your usage to take advantage of the system, then not only will you not save money, you will likely spend even more money.

So all the people who saw a rise in costs associated with the Smart Meter program simply did not use it to their own advantage – they didn’t change their habits.  They might believe that they have all sorts of good reasons for not changing their habits, but the bottom line is that the choice was theirs to make – and they chose convenience over cost.

But this isn’t unexpected.  The government knew well ahead of time that this would be the case.  In fact, the Smart Meter system relies on the presumption that most people will not change their habits.

Think about it: the system assigns costs based on so-called peak and off-peak periods.  Lets say for simplicity that early in the morning and late at night are the off-peak period, and the middle of the day is the peak period.  The program was designed to give an incentive for people to use more during the early morning or late at night.

But if everyone actually switched their habits, then the morning and night would become the new peak period.  It doesn’t cost the utility more to create electricity during the day, it simply charges you more during times when there is the highest demand.  So if everyone started demanding more during what was originally labeled an off-peak period, it wouldn’t be an off-peak period anymore, would it?

The system presumes that there will always be more people willing to accept the cost as a matter of convenience, and rewards people who make an effort to change their habits.

It is disappointing that our politicians are not able to, or not willing to, understand this.

CRTC has a poor memory, send your complaints again

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A few weeks back I sent the CRTC a message telling them what I think of their ruling to allow Bell Canada to force Usage-based Billing on the customers of its competition. Not long after that Tony Clement came out and told the CRTC just what he thought about it too – and they “agreed” to a review.

Well, that review is now.  Just yesterday I recieved this email:

Hello

Thank you for taking the time to contact the CRTC to express your concerns regarding the billing practices of wholesale Internet services. In light of the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding this issue, the Commission has decided to review its own decision.

We therefore invite you to participate in the review by submitting your comments at https://services.crtc.gc.ca/pub/Intervention/Submission-Soumission.aspx?lang=e&EventNo=2011-77&EventType=Notice#Step0. Comments must be received prior to April 29, 2011. Note that all information you provide as part of this public process, including any personal information, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. We also include links to the CRTC news release http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2011/r110208.htm as well as Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-77 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-77.htm for your information.

Yours truly,

Suzanne Papineau
CRTC Client Services

1-877-249-2782 /télécopieur/facsimile 819-994-0218
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Gouvernement du Canada / Government of Canada

On the surface this seems good – the CRTC appears to be willing to hear what regular Canadians think about the issue. 

But wait a minute… didn’t I already tell them what I think? That is, after all, the whole reason they sent me the email in the first place.

I guess all the complaints that were sent in weeks ago don’t count now, because they were sent before the review processes was started.

So… send in your complaints again!  Don’t let the CRTC ignore your voice just because you were willing to speak up early.  And if you didn’t complain before, make sure you do now!  Before 29 April!

Happy Family Day… for those who actually get it

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Seems like in Ottawa the only people who get Family Day off are the bus drivers…

I know exactly one person who doesn’t have to work today.  And on my way to work this morning, all the regular people were about waiting for the bus. 

Yet, somehow OC Transpo gets away with having limited service?

“Happy” Valentine’s Day

Posted in Aggravations, sex, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

… because she has long forgotten the “thought” that counted at Christmas.

Words that should never be used:

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , on February 11, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Crampons

This word is just awful.  I know what crampons are, and why one would use them.  I’m sure they come in very handy (footy?). But there is absolutely no excuse for the name. Call them “boot spikes”, call them “mountain feet”, call them “spikey-so-I-can-get-up-the-mountain-without-dying-things”.

I don’t care what you call them.

Just don’t call them crampons!

The Bloc Quebecois resorting to blackmail?

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

I try not to discuss issues of “culture” too much – mostly because my thoughts aren’t politically correct – but once in a while something happens that really can’t be ignored.  This time, it’s Gilles Duceppe’s threat to topple the government unless Quebec is a $5-billion package. Yes – straight-up blackmail.

That’s $ 5,000,000,000.00 he wants to be spent solely on Quebec, or the Bloc will attempt to bring down Harper’s minority.

As far as I am concerned, Mr. Duceppe is welcome to force an election.  I would like the opportunity for the rest of Canada to show him exactly what we think of his threats.

No, I didn’t make any resolutions!

Posted in Aggravations, Rules, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

If one more person asks me what New Year’s resolutions I made this year, I’m going to lose it.

Let’s be clear – I don’t make resolutions. Not this year, not last year, not next year. Never.

On the surface, resolutions seem like a nice idea.  You identify the things in your life that you are not happy with, and resolve to change them. Maybe you want to lose weight, or spend more time with your spouse / children. Maybe you want to be more open-minded or less stressed.  These are certainly worthy goals for any life.

But what makes you think that you are more likely to follow through with them, just because you ‘resolved’ to at the  beginning of another arbitrary new year?

If you don’t like how much you weigh, then you have probably been thinking about it for a while.  In fact, you probably think about it every day.  And yet you’ve done nothing about it? And now you think that you’ll actually have the will-power to change, just because the year has changed?

Psh! It won’t happen.

Don’t make resolutions – make changes!

If I don’t like some aspect of my life, I don’t wait for symbolic things to line up before doing something about them.

Here’s my 5 step process to enjoying life:

  1. Identify something about life that I don’t like.
  2. Identify what specifically needs to be done in order to change it.
  3. Do a basic cost/bennefit analysis, identifying what the change will cost vs. what I will gain,  and then make a decision about whether or not the cost truly outweighs the benefit.
  4. If I think that changing is too much trouble given the benefit, then I accept it, stop whining,  and move on, so I can restart the process again with a different problem.  If I think changing is worth the trouble, then I follow through with the things identified in Step 2. Either way, I have made a decision and have to accept responsibility for my action or inaction.

That’s it! Just make a decision about what you’ll gain vs. the amount of effort it will take, and then do it.  If you follow the process and discover that you are not willing to accept the hassle required to really change something, then just move on to something else.

Making resolutions isn’t the same as making changes – resolutions are just one more way to procrastinate.  I’m all for procrastination – I won’t hold it against you.  Just don’t pretend like you are actually accomplishing anything.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because at the end of the year I have nothing to resolve. I fixed all of my problems as soon as they came up. 

In 2011, the only things that I will fix are things that become a problem in 2011.