Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited

September 29, 2005 06:59 ET

Record Heat Waves Call for Immediate Action to Curb Electricity Consumption in Toronto

Toronto Hydro's Wireless "Load Management Device" will Reduce Peak

Electricity Consumption by up to 7 MW

TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 29) - Ontario's hottest summer on record may be best remembered for its sweltering heat, but it also made the record books for smog alerts, electricity conservation appeals and higher electricity prices. In an effort to reverse the cycle of ballooning pollutants and rising electricity consumption sparked by extreme weather conditions, Toronto Hydro is launching the PeakSAVER program today.

PeakSAVER is a showcase electricity load management initiative that will help the utility manage the amount of power used by residential and commercial central air conditioners in Toronto. The system uses the PeakSAVER switch, which is wireless technology that is already installed in 5.5 million homes and businesses across the U.S., including in major urban centres such as Chicago and Southern California.

Toronto Hydro will locate the switches next to the central air conditioning units of participating customers. The PeakSAVER switch will allow the utility to temporarily slow down air conditioning cycles during peak consumption periods, thereby reducing the amount of electricity used by the power-hungry equipment. While PeakSAVER customers may only notice a negligible and temporary 1 degree C, or less, temperature change at the end of a three - four hour cycle-period, Toronto Hydro reduces air pollution and the need to supplement peak demand with expensive electricity sources.

Toronto Hydro estimates that there are 160,000 central air conditioners in the city that could be connected to the PeakSAVER program. It is targeting 2,000 homes and businesses for this phase of the program.

"We're coming out of one of the hottest summers on record and our customers' bills for the past several months are quite high - primarily because of air conditioning. There were a number of conservation appeals issued to avoid rotating blackouts. PeakSAVER will enable homeowners and small businesses with central air conditioners to help us reduce system peaks during heat waves without experiencing any discomfort indoors," said David O'Brien, President and CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation. "Toronto Hydro will be using a tried and true technology already in use in major urban centres across the U.S. In a sense, we will become part of a sophisticated North American load management system. Most importantly, Toronto's PeakSAVER customers will be part of the solution to managing Ontario's electricity shortages."

The showcase program is projected to reduce Toronto's electricity use during peak periods by a total 7 MW, which is equivalent to the electricity demand of more than 1,600 homes. A reduction of this magnitude will also help to limit smog-causing emissions and help reduce the average cost of electricity during peak periods. Air conditioners are a major contributor to record electricity peaks during heat waves.

The Greater Toronto Area alone experienced a total of 57 smog days as of September 16, 2005 compared with 34 smog days for all of 2004, and higher electricity demand helped drive up the price of electricity by approximately 74 per cent between May and August 2005. In August this year, the average weighted price during peak hours(*) was 12.60 cents/kWh. However, during times of lower demand(xx), the average weighted price was 7.31 cents/kWh.

"The summer of 2005 has been a wake-up call. Higher electricity consumption results in increased cost and poor air quality. It is simply unsustainable. Toronto Hydro has brought an innovative, proven device to the marketplace that will help reduce consumption in the city," said Peter Love, Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Ontario Power Authority. "Programs like PeakSAVER are needed to help address Ontario's electricity shortages, and it provides a solid environmental benefit."

The program will launch with installations commencing in October in Toronto. Other powerWISE utilities including Enersource Hydro Mississauga, Horizon Utilities, PowerStream, Hydro Ottawa and Veridian Connections are developing plans for a launch later in 2005 and early 2006.

There is no charge to customers for the connection and Toronto Hydro is offering a signing bonus of $25 to qualified customers who commit before June 2006.

The PeakSAVER equipment, developed by Cannon Technologies of Minnesota, is being installed by GoodCents Solutions of Atlanta. They install direct load control and other metering equipment for utilities across the United States, and now Ontario. The 1 877-487-8574 call centre for the Ontario program will be located in GoodCents' Atlanta offices, taking advantage of the established infrastructure and expertise gained from serving millions of U.S. customers.

(*) Peak hours are defined as 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through


(xx) Off-peak hours are defined as 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., Monday through

Friday and weekends and holidays.

About Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited

A subsidiary of Toronto Hydro Corporation, Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited delivers electricity through a complex network of poles, wires and underground structures to 668,673 customers and distributes 18 per cent of the electricity in the province of Ontario. Our annual revenues are $2.49 billion; peak demand of 5000 megawatts and Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited's workforce of 1,201 skilled professionals are dedicated to delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity to customers. Toronto Hydro Corporation is owned 100 per cent by the City of Toronto.

About GoodCents Solutions

GoodCents Solutions provides residential and small-commercial demand response and energy efficiency programs to investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative utilities. Its GoodCents® brand is one of the most widely recognized conservation and energy efficiency brands in the country. As part of a turnkey demand response or energy efficiency program offering or on an as-needed basis, GoodCents provides utilities with services including market research, forecasting, load research, pricing and rate design, and regulatory support.

About Cannon Technologies

Privately held Cannon Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1987 to deliver load management and automated distribution solutions to electric utilities. Cannon Technologies is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota - with branch offices in California, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. Today, Cannon Technologies' customers include nearly 400 electric utilities across North America. Utilities of all sizes apply Cannon Technologies' solutions to manage peak load, improve system power factor, read meters remotely, and improve substation reliability. Cannon Technologies' support team is comprised of seasoned professionals, experts in the field of power systems, metering and energy management. For more information, please visit

About powerWISE Alliance

powerWISE represents the Coalition of Large Distributors' (CLD) Joint Utility Conservation Program. In response to the government's call for a "Conservation Culture", six of Ontario's largest local distribution companies came together to assist the government in meeting its objectives. The six distributors represent over 40 per cent of electricity customers in the province. CLD participants include: Enersource Corporation, Horizon Utilities Corporation, Hydro Ottawa Limited, PowerStream Incorporated, Toronto Hydro Corporation and Veridian Corporation.

Contact Information

  • For further information:
    please contact: Ellen Leesti,
    APEX Public Relations,
    (416) 924-4442 ext. 252
    Ken Evans,
    APEX Public Relations,
    (416) 924-4442 ext. 233