Saving money on residential heating in 2022 – a look at the financial side.
Electrical Rate Structure summary: Hydro Québec is developing various incentives for people to reduce their electrical use during peak periods in the winter. Lowering the peaks in the demand for electricity allows for keeping the size of the electrical grid optimized, more reliable and more profitable – so it is worthwhile for the utility to share the savings. But the choices are not simple. Here is a quick overview of what and why together with links to the hard data.
Rate D: basic residential rate with first tier (40kwh/day) and second tier pricing (everything over 40kwh/day). This is what you get for a residence if you don't sign up for anything special.
Rate Flex D: Lower rates for first and second tier with much higher rate for all electrical use during “peak demand events” – Up to 100 hours of planned cutbacks by hydro during the winter. Works with any heating system. Could save you money if you and your family are very disciplined, could raise your electrical bills if you are not disciplined to cut back during the PDE periods. Hydro will send you an e-mail the day before any planned peak demand events.
Electrical Thermal Storage subsidy: Hydro Quebec is basically covering most of the costs for you to install an Electrical Thermal Storage system (ETS) that lightens the load on the electrical grid during peak periods. This is a large box full of high density bricks that are heated up during normal heating periods and are then used to provide heat to the house during cold periods. There is no special rate advantage except for making the Rate Flex D more efficient – less need for electrical heating during “peak demand events”.
Winter Credit Option: Giving you a credit on your bill for every kw/h you reduce your consumption during their “peak demand periods”. This could save you a little money over the winter, if you are a disciplined family, at no risk of raising your bill above the cost of the regular D rate. Not as advantageous as the Rate Flex D, but with no risk.
Rate DT: This is a rate designed uniquely for Hybrid Heating (Dual Energy) – using only fuel fired heaters to save electricity during all cold spells (-12°C or -15°C depending on your region). This rate works all year long, so it significantly reduces your air conditioning costs as well as your heating costs. It could save you up to 50% of your combined heating costs (electric and fuel). It is not up front on the Hydro website (you need to search for “DT rate”) because they are proposing a new joint rate to the energy board together with Énergir (the old Gas Metropolitan) later this spring. See my article on "Is the DT rate program worthwhile?"
Tri-Energy is a private company add-on to improve the efficiency and comfort of any heating system but particularly efficient for central hybrid systems using the DT rate from Hydro; both reducing overall (fuel and electrical) use and eliminating uncomfortable temperature swings common with most hybrid systems.
Québec heating subsidies
There are two basic government of Quebec subsidy programs as of the spring of 2021 related to residential heating:
If you prefer one stop shopping for Quebec check out Energie3R.
In the fall of 2021 Énergir, Hydro Québec and the government of Québec signed a tripartite agreement to subsidize 75% to 100% of the conversion costs from solo natural gas heating, to hybrid (bi-energy) natural gas with an electrical heat pump to increase the use of the Hydro DT rate. This program was finally launched in June of 2022, click here for their website details. See the "What To Do" section in my long article on conversion away from oil heating which you can find here.
Each of the underlined titles above are hyper links to detailed information. You need to do a lot of studying of all this information to see what is good for your particular situation, not good for you, or just too much trouble.