Updates from February, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:09 on 2019-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Can anyone explain to me how Hydro’s smart meters work? They must be emitting some kind of signal, but how, and what’s picking it up? Do they work on an exclusive cellular frequency? Anyone wanna geek out on this?

     
    • Alex 16:22 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Each meter acts as a repeater for other meters in the area, creating one large ‘mesh style’ network where they talk to Hydro Quebec through each other, they place ‘collector’ meters in strategic places that are connected directly to Hydro Quebec’s system.

    • Alex 16:23 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Its pretty much a giant wifi network

    • Jim Royal 16:30 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      They use transmitters that are similar to those used in wireless phones, typically in the 902 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands. They are fairly low power and short range. They send data at infrequent intervals (such as monthly) by communicating only with each other. The devices themselves form a private network, so they don’t need to use cellular services.

    • J 17:12 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      @Jim, check your Consumption Profile on the website, then weekly, the data is sent at least daily, I can see how many kWh I’ve used yesterday.

    • Kate 17:33 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Thank you, lads!

    • Chris 20:53 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      And if you don’t want one, you can get a non-transmitting model, though they charge something like $200/year, then someone visits yearly to take a reading.

    • Bert 20:53 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Also, it is the same method that HQ can detect outages without people calling in. No signal from meter 1234… There is something to look in to.

    • Kate 22:41 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Maybe I should make clear: I have a smart meter and have no issues with it. Someone asked me what I knew about the data collection side, so I said I’d investigate.

    • Bert 09:49 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      Typically readings are relayed every 15 to 30 minutes along with relevant information such as the reader ID and a date-time stamp. Hydro can use this information for peak period billing, making nice graphs to show hourly / daily usage etc. Interestingly, in the data you can download from H-Q also includes the average temperature. I am not sure if they use some Environment Canada reading or have sensors in the smart meters.

      Of course you can use that data to try to interpret things, e.g. night-shift workers and the like. I am not sure how feasible it would be to try to sniff the customer side of the power line to try to identify devices, say by power usage patterns or even identifying signatures or even try to sniff devices that may use power lines to communicate, such as Ethernet over Power Line devices.

    • Chris 10:08 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      It’s certainly another way our modern world invades on your privacy. They certainly could build a profile of you, there’s lots written on the topic already, ex: https://takebackyourpower.net/comprehensive-report-how-smart-meters-invade-privacy/

    • Bill Binns 13:27 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      Being able to see my usage down to the hourly level and connect that to what I was doing in my home at the time has been a huge eye-opener. It more than makes up for any possible privacy concerns IMO. I have been able to learn that lighting (all L.E.D.) has no measurable impact on consumption even when comparing every light in the house on to no lights at all on. My 2 year old washer and dryer aren’t nearly as big users as I expected. My creaky old dishwasher and the two big TV’s are the major offenders (other than heat and AC of course).

    • GC 21:20 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      Sure, Bill, but it would be possible to make that data available to just you and to no one else. That would allow you the info and also protect your privacy.

  • Kate 09:12 on 2019-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A recent report says very long commutes are becoming more common in Canada, and this item mentions folks driving into town daily from Joliette or Granby. But there’s no mention of public transit and of how easy it is to spend an hour or more getting somewhere in town if it’s any distance from a metro line.

     
    • Ian 09:18 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      I live in Mile-End and it takes my wife more than an hour and 15 at best to get to her office in the fruit district of VSL, a 20 minute drive by car.

    • Brett 11:41 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      That’s by public transit or by foot?

    • Ian 12:05 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      I know, right? The bus basically has to circle through the old garment district then wend its way slowly to the other side fo Acadie. That’s long enough by itself, but the 55 also regularly misses its schedule so you could be waiting for half an hour just for a bus to show up – at rush hour.

    • Spi 12:18 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Why not take a combination of the 80 and the 179?

    • Blork 15:12 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      What’s embiggening my commute is Metro outages. There seems to be an uptick recently. Last week I commuted to work three times and all three times I had significant delays. Two were in the morning; in one case the Green line was down, but it only delayed me by about 15 minutes.

      Next time both Green and Orange were down; Green was longer, but Orange was off-and-on (this was rush hour). It had me running back and forth between them (On! Off! On! Off!) and I finally ended up on the Orange line. Delay was about 20 minutes.

      The worst was the next day when the Yellow line went down around 5:00 PM (this is rare). When I arrived at Berri-UQAM at 5:20 the tunnel to the Yellow line platform was backed up almost to the escalators. That’s 100 meters of tunnel jammed with people. Literally thousands of people stuck in a tunnel.

      I don’t know how long it took to clear because I just left. I took the opportunity to renew my card at the Grand Bib and walked around a bit. Came back a little after 6:00 and it was functioning normally. But I’ll not soon forget that crush of humanity in that seemingly endless tunnel.

    • Bert 21:03 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      I work downtown and currently commute on the DM train line. I used to do the car-Metro run and switched to car-train 3-4 years aog. I am not looking forward to being obliged back to the Metro due to the REM work.

    • Ian 15:00 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      Spi it would actually be 80>179>54 where she is, which is the longest of all the routes suggested by google maps. Also worth noting Google maps says that will take 58 minutes – this is of course assuming that all buses are actually on schedule and not, as in the case of the 55, randomly not showing up on a regular.

    • Ian 15:07 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      …also worth noting almost all of Google Map’s travel times are a very optimistic prediction, especially when taking walking times into consideration. Being at a stop light at the wrong time could mean you have to wait for another bus… I like to look at it not as an estimate as to how long they think it will take you to walk but how long you have, so move it, buddy 🙂

    • Meezly 14:57 on 2019-02-28 Permalink

      Random buses missing scheduled stops during rush hour? Shocking! Also live in Mile End, and it can take me an hour to get to/from work in Old Montreal/Griffintown by bus during rush hour, esp. now that Ste-Catherine is under construction. The bus route planning is seriously flawed, as it assumes that every bus commuter wants to end up at a metro stop, thus many bus routes end in the downtown area, so you make multiple transfers if you want to cross more than two boroughs. I live on the Plateau – why do I have to do bus1-metro-bus2, or bus1-walk-bus2 to get to Griffintown or beyond? Seriously, it can be faster taking mass transit from outside the island. Can’t wait to get back on the bike.

  • Kate 08:05 on 2019-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The construction of a composting facility in Montreal has become a hot potato for the suburbs, who say it’s too expensive and should be halted; the Gazette spoke to an expert who alleges that the technology chosen is already out of date.

    I will bet that if any suburb agreed to accept such a facility, they’d quickly find that they’d have to pay a nice price to build something that would do the job efficiently without stinking the place up.

    Update: City hall has approved the plan for a project costing $175 million, to open in St-Laurent in September 2021.

     
  • Kate 08:01 on 2019-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    In Monday’s federal byelection, the Liberals took back Outremont, leaving the hopeful NDP in the dust, although that party’s leader Jagmeet Singh was elected in his B.C. riding.

     
    • Ian 09:00 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Not surprised, really, I kind of expected the Liberals to win this. Outremont was a Liberal crown jewel for something like a century until the orange wave swept Quebec, and Singh doesn’t have the local appeal of Mulcair and neither Singh nor Mulcair are as sympathetic a character as ti-Jack, RIP. I really don’t understand how Bendayan can claim that the Liberals are the party to vote for if you want to do something about climate change, though. At least the conservatives performed poorly.

    • Chris 09:25 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Exact results: http://enr.elections.ca/ElectoralDistricts.aspx?ed=2123&lang=e

      Lib: 40% NDP: 26%. Green were 3rd.

      Turnout: 21% 🙁

    • Matt 09:41 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      As someone who lives in the riding, the Liberals were also the only party that seemed to have any significant ground game. I had Liberal volunteers come to my door 2-3 times to remind me to vote, and received a handful of campaign mailers. Hardly a peep from the NDP.

    • Joey 09:55 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      @Matt – I had the opposite experience. NDP volunteers rang my doorbell at least five times (twice yesterday) and called/texted at least that many times as well. Nothing from the Liberals or any other party. I guess this is an example of how internal polling/research causes parties to tightly focus on certain streets or areas.

      As for turnout, while the Burnaby-South byelection will have an impact on things immediately (sing Jagmeet Singh is finally going to be an MP), the other two really felt like dry runs for the October vote. A marginal seat really makes no difference at this stage in the life of a majority government.

    • Ian 10:43 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      @Matt, @Joey – I got exactly one visit from the conservatives and one from the NDP. One robocall from Bernier’s clown brigade & many calls from the Liberals though, to the point that I told them to stop calling my number.

    • DeWolf 12:54 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      The polling station was certainly quiet when I voted yesterday, so I’m not surprised by the turnout. It seems low even for a by-election. I guess a lot of people thought it wouldn’t be worth voting when they’ll have to do it again in six months.

    • Ephraim 16:01 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      @Chris byelections notoriously have low turnouts.

    • Chris 20:55 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Ephraim, yes, I know. It still warrants a frown though. All 3 ridings had below average turnout, and York–Simcoe hit a new low.

    • Kevin 08:07 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      They’re by-elections taking place eight months before another election. This is exactly when you’d see the lowes turnout.

  • Kate 07:38 on 2019-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Merchants around the Quartier des Spectacles have responded to the letter from festival organizers, saying they don’t want to be taxed to offset how people attracted to the festivals often patronize their businesses instead of buying the generally overpriced offerings from the festivals themselves.

     
  • Kate 21:06 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is promising a program to clear snow and ice from the house entrances of people with reduced mobility, to be ready for next winter. The way things were through Monday, it would simply be cruel to entice an old or disabled person out of their house only to cope with the state of the sidewalks I saw everywhere today.

     
    • Bill Binns 10:50 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      This is a good idea but I would bet there is someone in every neighborhood who would be happy to help out with this if they knew there was a need. I would do it but I wouldn’t go knocking on doors asking people if they needed help. A little volunteer coordinating by the city could go a long way on this issue (assuming the blue collar unions would allow it).

    • Kate 17:51 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      The problem is it has to be a commitment, and people are unlikely to make a commitment to do physical labour reliably on a volunteer but somewhat unpredictable basis. The resident has to know their front door will be cleared, not just hope it will.

    • Chris 20:56 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Bill, teens used to go around doing that, but it seems the practice has mostly died off.

    • Bill Binns 13:33 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      @Chris – I know, I was one of them. All of the big ticket items of my pre-teen years (bikes, TV’s, Walkman, Atari 2600 etc) were bought with the proceeds of shoveling. My friends and I specialized in digging cars out which was a hell of a lot easier, faster and profitable than shoveling driveways and sidewalks.

    • jeather 15:05 on 2019-02-27 Permalink

      I definitely see people advertising car dig out services still. I find it takes me about twenty five minutes for one car, which is fine, but I admit I am often tempted.

  • Kate 20:27 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    PricewaterhouseCoopers, which had been involved in the Formula E case against the city, has withdrawn from the suit. For some reason, this piece ends with a little homily from Lionel Perez blaming Plante, and not Coderre, for the Formula E debacle, which I find dispiriting. He can’t really think it would’ve been a good idea to proceed with that event year after year, but he’ll say anything if he thinks it makes Plante look bad.

     
  • Kate 20:24 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The inspector general says a tender for the Rosemont aquatic centre was written so only one bidder could get it, the sort of thing that got the Tremblay administration into so much trouble.

     
    • Ephraim 20:59 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      We need a rule that says that if there aren’t three independent bids, the tender has to be rewritten. That will end this nonsense forever.

    • JaneyB 10:35 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      @Ephraim – ditto.

    • paul 12:29 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      With the market booming these days, contractors are able to be picky. I recently sought 3 bids for a contract and only received one offer. After following-up with the other potential bidders, they felt like they were too busy to bid for a contract they didn’t find particularly interesting.

      This is one of the detractions of a booming construction industry (in addition to the 25% mark-up)

  • Kate 14:07 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    By the end of 2019 we should be able to pay for city permits online.

     
  • Kate 12:04 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is said to be increasing de-icing procedures on sidewalks – about time, as some might say. Le Devoir talks about the city’s need to rethink its response to winter conditions.

     
  • Kate 11:49 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Plateau will soon have participative garbage cans allowing people to hang up cans and bottles that can be returned for deposit.

     
    • Patrick 13:37 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      Nice idea, but how will they prevent the receptacles from being filled with random trash? I recall seeing In Paris special recycling bins on the street with openings on the side just big enough to push a wine bottle through.

    • Blork 13:55 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      Patrick, it’s a normal trash bin, but it has a ring around the exterior where you can put bottles or cans to make it easier for bottle pickers to take them away. The idea is that bottle pickers don’t have to dig into the bin to get the returnable items.

      I suspect most pickers will still dig, because they won’t trust that everyone is using it right, but it’s a nice touch and doesn’t really cost anything or require any extra work on the part of the city, so why not?

    • Chris 19:57 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      Yeah, sounds like a good idea that could work!

    • Bill Binns 11:00 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      The city is finally getting into the business of regulating the scavenger business. This won’t end well. Who has the right to take this stuff? First come first serve? What if the first guy there is driving a pickup truck and cleaning out the whole neighborhood?

    • DeWolf 12:57 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Your faith in humanity never ceases to astound me, Bill.

    • Blork 15:16 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      Bill Binns, you’re overreacting. This is simply a small modification to the garbage bins to let you put returnables on a ring around the bin instead of inside the bin. And nobody gives AF if someone drives around with a truck clearning out the neighbourhood because (a) it won’t happen (there’s not enough $$ to be made to be worth it), and (b) the main objective is to get that stuff returned for deposit instead of in the landfills, so who cares who’s doing it?

  • Kate 11:45 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal government’s lease on the Biosphere ends this year, and there’s no indication they intend to renew it to keep the environmental museum open. Text and audio from Radio‑Canada.

     
  • Kate 11:37 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse looks at the new wave of food halls that are taking over from dispiriting mall food courts.

     
  • Kate 09:11 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s in court over the payment of an old PR bill, but it also wants a ruling on its financial obligations when some fonctionnaire makes a commitment that doesn’t go through official channels.

     
    • Ephraim 09:52 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      How can you ask a mandarin to be responsible if you can’t hold them responsible for their own actions? When you have a normal job, you are paid to do your work and you have responsibility for what you do, you are answerable. But we don’t seem to hold mandarins to the same standard.

    • Kate 10:10 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      Right. We have these opaque organizations like the one that operates Jean-Drapeau park, and others. In a normal large organization I imagine at various levels people have discretion over certain expenses, above which the decision has to be made by a higher level. It sounds like this wasn’t being done in some parts of the city bureaucracy.

    • Ephraim 10:50 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      You take a salary, you take responsibility. We need to stop this idea that government employees have no responsibility. They have no responsibility IF they follow the guidelines and rules. Want to see how many unauthorized contracts they will sign if they know that they are financially liable? None.

  • Kate 08:02 on 2019-02-25 Permalink | Reply  

    I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the renovation of the Biodome will cost another $3.5 million before it can be completed, and the reopening will be delayed. The building was originally a Roger Taillibert folly, and was never designed to be a waterproof, year-round interior zoo.

     
    • Mr.Chinaski 11:11 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      That first picture is great, I did not know there were still grandstands inside the Biodome, I was thinking they demolished them all back in the days! I remember as a kid walking into the Vélodrome, it was really steep and almost disorienting.

    • Kate 13:04 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      I imagine the grandstands are normally hidden behind walls? I’ve never actually been to the Biodome.

    • Faiz Imam 14:31 on 2019-02-25 Permalink

      Yeah. they had tall partitions all around the old bike track as a cheap way to reuse the facility. You could kinda see the periphery if you looked closely when near the entrance, washrooms or restaurants, which I think are still original and out on the rim.

    • Ian 09:23 on 2019-02-26 Permalink

      I’ve been many times with my kids, that’s basically now an atrium when you exit the polar exhibit. Sometimes they put on little shows or presentations.

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