Letter To My MPP: SmartMeters? What The $^&*$@%!# Are You Thinking?

This was a letter sent to Mr. Smitherman, my MPP regarding Toronto’s new Smart-meters that if without opposition could start infiltrating Toronto homes as early as this summer. Although a good idea in concept, the way they are going at it is as boneheaded as only politicians have the gift to make it.

This is Mr. McGuinty’s plan to have Torontonians save electricity by doing their laundry at ‘off peak’ hours. Like, let’s say 3:00am in the morning.
If you rent than this affects you! Write your MPP, make them earn their lunch money.

Good day Mr. Smitherman,

I am taking this opportunity –my first in fact – to write to you about an issue, which has gravely alerted my attention. Mr. McGuinty’s proposed use of ‘smart meters’ in the city of Toronto, although a good plan at heart, needs to be rethought before it can ever come upon real-world implementation.

Mr. Smitherman, this plan does not take into consideration a landlord’s responsibility to upgrade a tenant’s unit or appliances to the latest most energy efficient models. I would also wager that most would be unable to financially fulfil this task. Further still, once they are no longer footing the hydro bill, it is easy to see their desire to replace them waver even more. Especially if McGuinty allows landlords to mandate their own generic discount on a tenant’s rent. After all, a building does not have to be environmentally friendly or efficient to pass code.

Under these circumstances, if a landlord cannotrefuses to upgrade appliances, don’t you think passing the expense of hydro over to tenants is not only unfair but an obvious lack of environmental concern by Mr. McGuinty and Queen’s Park? It sounds more like a misguided attempt to save a quick buck rather than avoiding an ‘energy crisis.’

So what if this plan comes into fruition? I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of keeping track of the new hardware and the billing system that will surely come with it. Instead of having one bill, now you are going to deliver over 320 to my building alone? How many trees are going to be cut down every billing cycle in order to keep Toronto’s mostly circa ‘80s appliances running? How about the new staff that will need to be hired?

To quote Mr. McGuinty from his April 19nth, 2004 Legislative assembly speech, it is easy for him or anyone to say “That old, inefficient beer fridge in the basement may seem like your best friend at playoff time — but every time you open the door it’s “pay-up time,” because that fridge can be costing you about $150 a year in extra electricity — electricity we can’t afford to waste.” Well, what about when that ‘inefficient fridge’ takes the form of your inefficient heater, or your stove, or your kitchen fridge? These things happen and they are not being addressed, could someone explain why tenants should pay for something they have no control over?

On a different note Mr. Smitherman, why no one ever touches on the fact that we do not need the CIBC tower on the Northwest corner of Yonge and Bloor lit up like a Christmas tree every night? Or what about the Manulife Centre? Or the Eaton Center Tower? Or most of the downtown core for that matter? How many lights does an evening cleaning crew need? Ultimately the key of this enterprise is not to save a buck but to save power, and hopefully save a buck or two meanwhile we are at it. I doubt that my own apartment building at 40 Gerrard Street East could ever compete with the power usage of the Royal Bank plaza at Bay and Front streets, as they have the advantage of their thousands of computers but only a soul or two per floor after 9:00pm.

If we are trying to save electricity why not legislate for landlords, particularly of large buildings and the private sector to implement solar power panels on their roofs for example? Generally, most roofs have gravel and a few pipes, they have the space and it will benefit them in the long term.

What about lower income families? Those very families who happen to live in less than perfect conditions; do you think Mr. Smitherman their landlord would have the funds to fix their drafty windows, bad heating and replace their energy wasting appliances? When that does not happen, whom do you think will be left in the cold when they are not able to afford to live even in those less than perfect conditions?

I am not saying that smart-meters are bad idea Mr. Smitherman, but the way Mr. McGuinty it is going about it definitely proves his $100,000+ a year salary has segregated him and is now out of touch from the average Toronto citizen and father still from someone who is an actual tenant. Where is ‘our’ voice being represented in all of this?

I am expecting a response to see what will be done about this matter. Oh, and if I may, could you be kind enough to email me a response. No fancy paper on regular mail, please.

Thank you for your time,

You can find some other thoughts on the matter if you click to this quick exchange on this forum.

One Response

  1. James says:

    Click on the following link to read about Dalton McGuinty’s flip-flop on hydro electricity privatization in Ontario.

    This is from the Ontario Tenants Rights website that has a lot of information about Ontario hydro electricity energy issues.

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