Frequently Asked Questions About peaksaver®

Can anyone enroll in peaksaver?

Any Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited ("Toronto Hydro") customer that has central air conditioning is eligible to enrol in peaksaver. Business customers are eligible if your air conditioners and water heater are approximately the same size as used by residential customers (roof-top air conditioners included). If you are a tenant and do not own your building, you will need your landlord or property manager's approval to participate.

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Can I really make a difference by participating?

Yes. By participating, you and thousands of others will allow us to reduce the strain on the electrical system during peak electricity consumption periods. By doing your part, you are making a significant contribution to conserving electricity and improving our environment.

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How does peaksaver work?

Toronto Hydro installs a device near your central air conditioning unit to reduce the amount of electricity during peak electricity consumption periods. During these peak periods, Toronto Hydro will send a signal to your air conditioner to cycle down the appliance for a short time. Air conditioners are cycled  on and off in15 minute intervals, not to exceed four hours, however the fan remains on so it can continue to cycle the cold air.

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How does peaksaver help the environment? 

In Ontario, our electricity generation capacity serves us well during days when outdoor temperatures fall within average seasonal ranges.  These days, we use more electricity in the summer than the winter, primarily because of air conditioning.  When we have a heat wave of three or more days in a row, air conditioners are running non-stop and electricity demand hits peak.  These also tend to be the days when smog is an issue as well.

To meet electricity demand at these peaks, it becomes more likely that we have to rely more on coal, oil and gas-fired palnts.  These plants, located in Ontario, release greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants that add further to Ontario's air pollution and smog. 

That's where peaksaver plays a critical role.  By cycling down air conditioners, peaksaver allows us to reduce these peaks. 

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Why does Toronto Hydro have peaksaver?

We are always looking for ways to help our customers and our province conserve electricity to ensure a continual supply of electricity. peaksaver helps everyone in the long run by reducing the need to import electricity and reducing the pressures on our electricity distribution system.

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Which of my home appliances are eligible for peaksaver? Who chooses this?

To qualify for peaksaver, you must have central air conditioner. Residential and business customers can also volunteer their electric water heaters too.

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Won't I/my employees/my customers be uncomfortable if you cycle my air conditioner off, especially when it's hot?

Typically, most people do not even notice that the device is being controlled. With peaksaver, your air conditioner fan will continue to run during the control period even though your A/C unit is being cycled down for a short time. Air conditioners are cycled off for 15 minutes out of every 30 minutes.

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Will there be a power surge when it comes back on?

No, because the technology takes this into account. The remotely controlled peaksaver device reduces the electricity usage but doesn't turn off the air-conditioners.

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Will it cost me anything to participate?

It will not cost you anything to participate and there is no maintenance cost.

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How much money could peaksaver potentially save me?

You may not see savings, but keep in mind that the times that peaksaver may be activated during the "On Peak" period under Time-of-Use rates when electricity prices are higher. When activated, your air conditioner would be cycling down during this time, potentially using less energy.

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How do I request that my equipment not be controlled for a particular date?

If you would like to opt out on a particular date, please call 416-542-2557 and we will schedule an exemption.  You have the right to require that Toronto Hydro not cycle down your air conditioner as part of the peaksaver program for up to three (3) particular days within a calendar year provided that you call our office by 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time of the business day preceding the day during which no cycling down is requested.

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If I am unhappy with peaksaver, can I stop participating?

Yes, if for whatever reason you are not satisfied, please call our peaksaver call centre at 1-877-487-8574 to speak to a representative.

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Is peaksaver only available in Toronto?

It started in Toronto and now other utilities in Ontario are offering peaksaver.

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How many homes and businesses are part of peaksaver?

So far, over 60,000 homes and businesses have signed up. This represents Toronto Hydro customers only.

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Will load control eventually become mandatory for all homes?

No, peaksaver is voluntary and allows the customer to play an active role in conserving electricity and improving our environment.

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What happens if I'm using the air conditioner during the time it will be cycled down?

You will not need to do anything. The only difference may be a very slight difference in temperature - most people will not notice a change at all.

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Do I have to adjust my thermostat or change any other settings?

No, participating in peaksaver is easy and requires no effort, time or investment.

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Who do I call when I have questions or problems?

Any questions can be directed to the peaksaver call centre at 1-877-487-8574.

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I have a room air conditioner; can I participate in peaksaver?

No, the technology only works on central air conditioning systems.

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Do I have to participate in peaksaver?

No. The program is entirely voluntary.

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Will you have access to any other systems in my business? Will you be able to control my whole building?

Absolutely not. We will only have access to your central air conditioning unit.

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Do I have to be home when the device is installed?

You will only need to be home if there isn't a disconnect switch located outside next to the air conditioner compressor or if your roof-top unit is only accessible from inside your building.

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What if the installers break my central air conditioning unit or electric water heat? Will they pay to fix it?

The installation will be done by qualified installers working on behalf of Toronto Hydro. They are well trained and will carry appropriate liability insurance.

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What more can I do with my peaksaver device?

Once you have your peaksaver device installed,  you could enrol in PowerShift.  Think of PowerShift as peaksaver plus.  PowerShift is a program that helpsshift some of your air conditioner use to off-peak hours automatically when temperature goes above 27 degrees Celsius on weekday afternoons.  Operating just like peaksaver, PowerShift will automatically cycle your air conditioner into conservation mode, reducing the amount of electricity it uses during this time.  SIgn up at torontopowershift.com

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