Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yet another Horror Story

This was posted as a comment on Oct 9:

My 88 year old mother and I have been homeless since last January, and staying
with relatives. We had a house in the Kawartha Lakes, less than 20 years old
when we bought it. For the first six months we lived there, our hydro bills were
around $70/mo. We had a brand new Energy Star washer and dryer, most light bulbs were switched to CFL's, and we had Geo Thermal heating and cooling. A "Smart
Meter" was installed, and the next 2 bills I received were almost $400 each, and
then I received a bill for $800. This came in June when we weren't using any
heating or cooling.When I contacted hydro, the woman I spoke to hung up on me
when I asked for an explanation of the charges. She just kept telling me that
everything I needed to know was printed on my bill. I pursued the issue for
months and was given some truly outrageous explanations , such as, everyone who
uses Geo Thermal heating and cooling pays at least $1,000/mo. for hydro, even
when the system is brand new. Well, we spent over $1,000 having the Geo Thermal
system checked and re-charged so that it was running at optimum efficiency and
there was no change in the hydro bills. And again, the charges were still out of
this world when the system wasn't even in use.My mother and I are both on fixed
incomes and simply couldn't afford to keep up with the hydro bills, so we had no
choice but to sell the house at a huge loss, so we've been completely wiped out
financially, and we still owe money to hydro.At the time we bought the house and
I set up the new account with hydro, I asked what the previous owners had paid
for hydro, on average. I was told that it was a "Privacy Issue" and they
couldn't disclose that information. Yet, when the problem with the "Smart Meter"
came up, I was told that they were also basing part of our charges on the
previous owner's usage! I was also told over and over again that hydro's
equipment never fails and is never wrong, although they did switch out the
"Smart Meter" for a differnt brand, and months later told me that indeed there
had been an issue with the original one - it hadn't been set to zero when it was
installed, so we had been charged for KwH that were already recorded from
wherever it had been previously.Since the passing of the Green Energy Act, when
we were selling the house I had to be able to give any prospective buyer an
estimate of our monthly hydro cost. I was finally told by someone in Hydro's
head office in Toronto to give the figure of $375/mo., which we did. Very very
nice couple bought the house, but I heard just last week that the issue is still
on-going with them, they received a bill for $3,800 + for ONE MONTH, and they're
now in the process of switching the house over to completely solar power.
Fortunately they're in a financial position to be able to do that. I certainly
would have liked to also.As for old style meters slowing down and gumming up,
exactly how old is old? My parents lived in the same house in Toronto for 45
years and it still the original meter when that house was sold in 2000.
Rates can be cut almost, if not more, in half by the government right now by eliminating the Global Adjustment. The GA was introduced to top up supplier's income when demand is low and the spot price for power drops. So, for example, over the summer the spot price for power averaged $45/mWh (.045c/kWh) plus or minus $24/mWh (.024c/kWh) most of the time. Yet, wind producers are guaranteed anywhere from $90 to $120 (The Samsung deal is for $140). The Global Adjustment makes up the difference.

A couple of us are trying to get the numbers for the entire energy sector. However, this year alone so far, the GA is 70% of wind's income. And that is part of your consumption charges.

No other energy industry has this GA. Can you imagine a government guaranteeing the oil industry $150/barrel, and every time you fill your tank there is a line item "Global Adjustment = $100"! Or how about your gas bills. Natural Gas is about 3.2c at the moment. How would it fly if the government guaranteed the gas companies 18c? Would the public stand for this?

Absolutely not. So why do we tolerate this with power producers?

During periods of low demand in recessions every other business has to deal with the loss of revenue. They shed jobs, reduce salaries, find efficiencies to cut costs. But this Government is shielding the energy producers from the effects of lower demand. Hence there is no incentive in the power industry to become efficient, for example, start to lower those huge salaries at the top.

Any new government that takes over next Fall will have to tackle this issue head on, and NO considerations should be thrown out as un-doable. We are in a real pickle in this province. Make no mistake about it. Energy costs are contributing in a big way to keeping Ontario as a have not province, inching us closer to becoming a province of destitute impoverished peoples leaving in droves to better places.

Are we a third world nation-like province, or are we a modern advanced society here? We need to do what has to be done to return this province to the power house of Canada it used to be. Any claims that is not possible any longer are defeatist and narrow thinking.

On a side note, it is clear from this comment above that people are starting to grasp at straws because of these high rates. I've looked into it, and a house cannot become completely powered by solar. The up front costs are huge, at minimum $30,000. Then one finds out that at best one can only power 20% of the house with solar. Every 6 years the batteries all have to be replaced, at $300+ each (you need more than 100 of them). All this is doing is putting people further into the hole.

Time to stop this madness!


  1. Keep up the good work Richard, we all appreciate it

  2. I have a forced air electric furnace and was considering changing to geothermal but are they that bad on hydro?

  3. You need hydro to run the pump

  4. I had one installed. Geothermal is expensive to put in and with the high electric costs today not worth it. You are going to have to wait it out unfortunately. Suggest looking at a wood stove for yourself.

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