Ways to save money on hydro 

Ways to save money on hydro

Something cool that HydroOne is now sending customers is a:  Your Home Energy Dashboard.

This dashboard is a brief comparison report and trend about your hydro usage.  It compares your electricity use with your “efficient” neighbours.  There is a defined reporting period (about a month) and this report provides you with a 12-month trend.  “Efficient” neighbours are considered the most efficient 20% of all neighbours profiled in your area; approximately 100 homes.  Here are my stats in case you’re curious:


So, we’re “Good” of late but not quite as “Great” as we once were.  That means we’ll need to make some changes to get us back at the top.

Here are some ways to save money on hydro

  1. Reduce phantom power

Keeping electronics like TVs, computers, tablets and other devices plugged in all day draws electricity even if the devices aren’t in use.  To reduce the draw, for devices you use on-demand, consider using a power bar.  Simply turn off the power bar when devices are not in use.

We use lots of power bars in our home and will continue to do so.  We just need to turn them off more often.

  1. Dishwashers and laundry

You might already know there are, in Ontario, different hydro rates applied to different times of day.  It’s called Time-of-Use pricing.  That pricing model breaks down as follows:

Hydro Time of Use Pricing

Image courtesy of HydroOne.

To save money, consider running expensive appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines in off-peak hours, including weekends.  When running these appliances, do only full loads.  If you’re in the market for a new appliance, go with an Energy Star model.

Our government keeps a comprehensive list of Energy Star information here.

We have for many years, used our dishwasher, washer and dryer predominantly after 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.

  1. Use LED bulbs

According to HydroOne and included in my recent hydro bill statement “CFLs use 75% less energy and last at least six times longer” than convention light bulbs.  LED lights are even more efficient.  Consider replacing your entire house with LED bulbs.  Although there are increased costs for these bulbs, LEDs last longer, stay cooler and save you money over time.

LED bulbs are in every possible spot in our home.

  1. Use a programmable thermostat

HydroOne says setting up your programmable thermostat, properly, can save you a solid 10% on your home heating and cooling costs.  These savings can occur as you reduce energy consumption when at home or while you are away.

We have for many years, used a programmable thermostat.  We also have a programmable thermostat for our Heat Recovery Ventilator, used between November and March every year.

  1. When in doubt: use fans, windows, and curtains and appliances off

We spend the majority of our electricity dollars controlling the temperature of our home, and in our summers, that means keeping our house cool.  Try these low-cost and no-cost alternatives:

  • In the morning open windows to let cool air in. Close windows (and curtains) later in the day to keep the hot sunshine out.
  • Let fans cool the air throughout your home.  Fans don’t use much electricity and reduce the need for air conditioning until late in the day after the sun heats up your home.
  • In the summer consider using the BBQ more (we love BBQ….) and avoid turning on your heat-producing appliances in the kitchen.  In the summer it’s a double-whammy:  ovens produce lots of heat AND cost you money!

There are many more ways to save money on your electricity bill but these are great ones to start with.  Try these to help your wallet and our environment.

How do you save money on electricity?  How does your hydro bill compare to ours?

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

18 Responses to "Ways to save money on hydro "

  1. I’m late to the party here but wanted to add my 2 cents…

    I live out in the country, no time of day use where we are. Hydro One installed a smart meter but now won’t use it. They say it doesn’t report in as it should, but every bill says “actual”. (obvious BS) We’re now on the old 2 tier system.

    Our house is a 1250 Sq Ft. ranch bungalow with 2 car garage… not big by city standards, all electric, with 2 hot water tanks also two 12,000 BTU air conditioners built into the wall at each end of the house. Our bill is $132 a month and at the moment we have a $336 credit, so I expect a couple of no bill months now at years end. Hydro One started billed us at $250 a month, then changed the meter 3 times as it was obviously not reporting properly. (LOL) The land, the well, the septic system, and the house cost us $115,000. See.. it is possible.

    Our water tanks are high efficiency, one little 20 gal tank with blanket for everyday use, (showers, dishwasher) and it has never run out of hot water. We also have a bigger 40 gal tank with blanket for laundry. The larger tank is controlled by a WEMO and comes for a few hours on sunday morning when wifey does the laundry. We employ WEMO’s for a number of things to turn them on/off at predetermined times that follow our life style, like kill everything when we go to bed. We also have the Amazon Echo so if we want to do things outside of the WEMO schedule we can tell the Echo to adjust the schedule.

    We built our own home with R34 walls and R50 attic, triple glass windows, and appropriately place trees around the house as wind break. This was a labour of love for me… our retirement home and I wanted it to be cheap to run and it is.

    We had an industrious sales person come by to convince us to install a heat pump which we were told would save use “half” of our electric bill. When he saw our bill and he calculated the payback period the heat pump life expectancy would have concluded before the payback. He left disgusted.

    I can prove all of this; and it points out that you can live comfortably and cheaply if you plan ahead and employ modern apparatus to your home.

    1. That’s impressive Mike, thanks for sharing. It sounds like your home is custom built. I would think in our country-home just outside the city those upgrades would be rather expensive for our house – to retrofit to your standards! Our hydro bill is on average $150 per month. Our heating bill (Enbridge) fluctuates; rather low in the summer (<$60) but gets closer to $160 in the winter months. Still not bad overall. You're right...if you plan ahead, modernize your home, you can really cut hydro costs quite a bit.

  2. I tried all the hydro saving tricks and my bill has gone up 20 %, Hydro one does what it wants and spends money recklessly, You can not win a rigged game.

  3. Interesting post and I agree with cannew about what you said on the old age above.

    One of the things you didn’t mention was about the energy rating of your home. It could be worthwhile having an energy assessment done to determine your energy efficiency and low hanging fruit in terms of improvements (like caulk/enerfoam/gaskets), along with potential rebates. I have done this with my last 2 homes. The first one was already a newer R2000 home. When air test was done it was easy to locate numerous leakage areas. All I had to do was buy about ~6 tubes of caulking, ~3 tubes of acoustical seal and a couple of cans of enerfoam. Sealed windows to interior trim buildout with caulk, sealed foam in gas fireplace area where tank line entered and a few other weak areas, sealed styrofoam between rim joists with acoustical sealant etc. Maybe $75 of materials and 4-5 hours of work raised my home rating and tightness enough to get a rebate of $600 or so. After the cost of assessment and materials still put $200 in my pocket, and had a tighter home that probably saved $50+ / yr on energy- rating went from 82 to 83. A lesser constructed home could save more. The program also paid for changing 4 toilets to new HET, plus I sold the used ones for $25 each. LOL Alternatively on the cheap even checking yourself on very windy days of different direction can reveal air leakage sources which can be easily improved, inside and outside.

    My current home had extensive renovation and an addition (basically rebuilt) where the rating went from 76 to 84. Both recent homes were total electric – $2300/yr last place 4000 sq ft, $2100/yr this place 2800 sq ft + heat above freezing in 620 sq ft garage, and TOU billing- that’s heat, AC, hot water, lights, water pump and our rates are HIGHER than Ontario new rates. Fortunately passive solar played a strong heating role by design with both homes. We do have an additional well built 520 sq ft garage with separate metering that’s also heated in winter above freezing that runs $250/yr. And a streetlight on the property that costs $210/yr and is something that might be worth considering alternatives for.

    Otherwise we simply think of conserve whenever we use a light, appliance, heat, water etc. It’s a lifestyle and habit thing.

    Sorry for the book.

    1. Happy to read, I try and read every comment on the site. All 17,000 of them to date!

      I could be wrong but I home is rather efficient. Good seal. I know this because we need an HRV in the winter, too much moisture inside the house; condensation. We’re only 2 people in an 1,800 sq. foot bungalow.

      Do they still offer those rebates?

      I think overall our hydro bill isn’t too bad here: $1,800 for hydro. Our delivery charges are more half that amount – nothing we can do about that. I looked at our last bill. Delivery + HST + Regulatory Charges = $90. Two streetlights on the property probably cost us $200/year from that.

      Absolutely a habit thing.

      1. Sounds like your home is efficient based on the tightness. If it’s newer built it almost certainly is. Easy to check wall thickness 2 x 6 studs vs 2 x4 plus any additional insulation like foam on outside, but not going to be something you’d improve anyway. Even easier to check depth of attic insulation and an easy place to add insulation if thin. Gas furnace isn’t common here as it’s only recently available in parts biggest city. Oil heat, electric heat, wood heat most common.

        The fed rebate portion hasn’t been available for 5 yrs or so but for the other 2 parts we received (prov. & power corp) you’d have to check locally. I received about 6K overall, with the house we’re in.

        You have 2 streetlights on your actual property that you pay separately for? I’m not talking about ones on the road/street (these are paid from common property taxes) but an optional one we have installed about 300 feet from our property line on one of our power poles due to size of lot & darkness and pay on separate acct ~$35/2 months.

        Your “delivery” charges are killer and based on that I would say your total hydro costs are definitely more than here. Given that you’re right, your hydro bill seems very reasonable. You’d have to add you gas cost to compare to totals I referred to. The rate portion of our bill is ~ $1770 and the delivery part (called base charge here) incl tax is~$330 = $2100 It’s actually less when we’re away but we keep place heated so I averaged.

        1. Yeah, pretty air tight home overall I think.

          I was in the attic last year, they did a great job.

          OK, re: rebate.

          No, our lights are on our property. Sorry, misunderstood. They are included in our hydro price.

          Other than insane “delivery” charges we pay about $70 per month or so on average. Almost $1000 per year is devoted to delivery charges, HST and regulatory fees. Stupid but I suppose I could move! (Don’t want to!)

  4. Sorry Mark can’t edit comments somfeel free to merge the.

    Take a dryer as an example. Googled how much electricity does a dryer use and got this

    Clothes dryers have a reputation for being energy hogs, but how much do they really cost to operate? In the U.S., it costs approximately $.45* to dry a load of laundry in an electric dryer.*based on a 5600-watt dryer, 40-minute run-time and a $.12 per kWh rate.

    So by running your dryer at night you save a whopping 8 cents or so. I understand small savings add up but the resl issue is Canadians have been sold a bill of goods. This from the CBC


  5. The problem with is you don’t save much by “turning off the lights” as the base fees are so high. One extreme example a guy at a cottage used literally 2 cents worth of electricity one month but the bill was still over $200 ???? i believe the base cost is around 50% of the bill.


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