It’s difficult to gauge what you can’t see. Consumption of vital, everyday commodities, such as electricity and water, might seem intangible or altogether invisible. And that can have negative consequences, as we’re more likely to waste something we can’t monitor or measure.

The trick is to make the intangible tangible, and that’s where metering comes in.

Metering is increasingly being used by B.C. municipalities to measure residential water use. Municipal utilities can measure, and bill for, the exact amount of water being consumed over a period of time. Rather than a flat rate, the user pays only for what’s consumed during a billing period.

In West Vancouver, where water usage has been fully metered since 2007, consumption has dropped by 25%. Meters have also had a positive impact nationally: in the two decades between 1991 and 2011, the percentage of Canadian homes with water meters increased from 52% to 58%. Over the same period, average residential water use in Canada fell by 27%, from 342 litres to 251 litres per person per day.*

One thing lacking with our current water metering is the ability to tell when our water use is peaking, and exactly why we got that really high water bill.  Why did our usage spike?

Fortunately, that’s not the case with electricity use since the technological upgrade to digital meters at our homes and businesses. Already in place for BC Hydro customers and fast becoming the standard in North America, these meters use radio signals to perform a vital communication function. You can get detailed information about your electricity use–daily and hourly–via a secure network that opens the door to better understanding about how to cut your energy costs. Your online account on bchydro.com provides not only detailed information, but also allows you to compare usage year-over-year, against changes in the outdoor temperature, and against similar homes in your area.

As an added benefit, digital metering helps BC Hydro to better manage its entire electricity grid, improving service and reliability.

Log in to your online account at bchydro.com to find out more about your electricity consumption, and to get helpful tips on how you can better track and manage your usage.

*Environment and Climate Change Canada