Just wait until the new smart meters are in place and we move to a time of use billing system. Everyone will be doing laundry at 11pm to save a few pennies.
Should we actually move to time based power rates, it will not be a few pennies difference. The big change will be that the peak hours, 5 pm to 7 pm, it will be a lot more, say 3 times as much as right now. At the same time the overnight right would be 10-20% of the current rate. A dishwasher run at 6 pm would likely cost 15 to 30 times as much then running it late at night. This works out to saving to about $100 a year. A clothes dryer would save about $250 in a year.
Even just getting power demands shifted out of the peak hours will make a huge difference to our system. Our electrical system is build to meet the largest possible demand and we rarely go over 70% with peaks to 80%, but we have to have that margin. When we do reach over 90%, the price of power goes through the roof for the utilities, I have seen spot rates as high was 500 times our standard rate. When we reach 95% some places can start to get brown outs.
Evening out power use will reduce the overall need for power in the system and means the need to build new power plants is removed. It also means that all the new green power, like the run of the river in BC, will actually be displacing coal fired power plants instead of just lowering the demand for new fossil fuel based power plants.
Currently the overnight rate for power, if one were allowed to buy it directly, is about in the range of 1 to 2 cents per KwH. There is a huge amount of power wasted every night because there is not enough demand and many power plants have to run at a minimum level 24/7 Our hydro dams can reduce power production, but the flow of water of the dam can not be turned off.
The smart meters will make a huge difference in being able to get more use of the power already produced. It will also save BC Hydro a lot of money very quickly. If we can sell power to the US and Alberta around dinner time, that power will bring in much higher rates than what we get now for sales. There is also a huge amount of power we can buy over night from those nukes in the US for a penny a KwH.
For the average consumer, a small shift in time for many power intensive uses will ensure that with a time based metering system there is no increase in costs. For the very frugal, it could mean savings of $500 to $1000 a year on power use, much more if you have electrical heat.
For myself, it will be cost effective for me to heat the house up early in the morning and then reduce the heaters during the day. At the moment I pay the same price no matter when my electrical heaters are on.