Monday, May 31, 2010

How one man beat Hydro One into submission

How one man beat Hydro One into submission: Woodcock

It’s clear Hydro One didn’t prepare for the smart meter switchover
By CONNIE WOODCOCK, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: May 29, 2010 11:31am
There’s good news for worried electricity customers with outrageous bills: You can challenge them — and win.

In the last six months, thousands of Ontarians have received Hydro One bills that were two, three and four times higher than normal, while the utility was installing those controversial smart meters.

I’ve heard dozens of horror stories — a woman living in one room of her condo because she couldn’t afford to heat the rest; another who turned off her heat in early March; a couple who got a $5,000 bill for 12 months at their cottage, only in use in summer and so on and so on.
But my next-door neighbours received the granddaddy of all bills in March: $2,742.39 for three months on their weekend house near Warkworth.

In those three months, Tony and Maria, who live in Barrie, used it for a week in December, one weekend in January and another in February.

Coincidentally, their smart meter was installed in December.

“I was in shock,” said Maria. “I couldn’t speak.”

Most horrified customers call Hydro One’s customer service number for help. They’re told they have old appliances drawing too much energy; there’s too much waste; they’ve had a major renovation.

One says he was told he must be running a grow-op.

Our neighbours were told their new roof and deck might be the culprits, which they thought strange since few power tools were used.

If you continue to complain, Hydro One will offer help in spreading out the payments or will threaten to cut off your service.

But Tony likes a challenge. An assistant professor in business administration at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus, he asked for his billing records. He was sure he’d been using about 24 kWh a day for years. He created a spreadsheet and graph showing he couldn’t have used the 181 kWh per day he’d been billed for from December 2009 to February 2010.

“I could show our usage was declining from year to year,” he says.

He had one extra advantage: He’d worked for Hydro One’s predecessor, Ontario Hydro, for 17 years and understood Hydro-speak.

Next, he looked through Ontario’s “sunshine” list of government employees earning $100,000-plus a year until he found a suitable Hydro One executive to whom to send a registered letter showing the pattern he’d found and outlining his problem.

His other tool was the smart meter readings Hydro One offered to prove high usage. His meter was installed during the billing period of his old meter so he was able to view the actual usage during two months of estimated bills. The comparison clearly showed the estimates were wrong. (For most customers, account history is available online at Hydro One’s website but you can’t see your daily usage until you get time-of-use billing.)

It took six weeks, but eventually Hydro One caved, admitting it appeared he’d been overcharged and offering to charge him for 24 kWh a day. He hasn’t received the revised bill yet but believes they’ll stick to their word.

One thing he knew from past Hydro experience was mistakes are easy to make with the old mechanical meters since one dial runs clockwise while the other runs counterclockwise. That’s what he thinks happened to him the last time there was a real meter reading.

Most of us don’t need challenges when it involves an out-of-sight utility bill and don’t want to confront sometimes-surly customer relations staff. We just want an honest bill.

It’s clear Hydro One didn’t prepare for the smart meter switchover and didn’t expect the massive overbilling or the complaint landslide just before massive rate increases.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg of problems at Hydro One and its sibling companies, Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator.

If something isn’t done soon, it will just help, along with the HST, to defeat the McGuinty government in next year’s provincial election.

[It is planned to be the #1 issue in the next election -- Richard]

Sunday, May 30, 2010

LETTER ONTARIO ENERGY BOARD

May 15, 2010

OntarioEnergy Board
P.O. Box2319
2300 Yonge St., 27th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1E4

Dear Board;

I am complaining about my treatment by Hydro One as it increasingly became clear what they are doing is policy and affects every Ontario customer who moves, and this policy is knowingly fraudulent and practiced against those least able to battle against their monopoly.

And their greed knows no bounds. Not only must customers pay for fictitious energy that drops off their lines, separate and ungoverned Delivery plus Regulatory charges much higher than the energy itself and endless Debt Retirement charges that carry an equal amount of GST, but they sneakily charge the tenant for weeks of service when they know the residence was unoccupied.

I phoned May 10/10 to ask for correction to my new billing, they indicated Feb. 1st as my move-in date when they had service for me at my previous address both in Bobcaygeon, up to Feb. 12. (In fact, I had moved Feb. 14 but they don’t work weekends or on the Family Holiday of Feb.15 so they informed me the final reading would be Feb.12. I made those arrangements a month in advance. When I inspected the new residence at about Feb.5 I found a Hydro letter crammed into the doorknob that said the power would be shut off in the next few days if they did not hear from me and I’d have to pay a hefty start-up charge to turn it back on. I phoned to check again that Hydro was aware of my previous arrangements and was assured they did.) So I expected the bill to be corrected.

But no! After going through the logic of what was wrong with the bill with the male operator/agent on May 10 with no result, he tells me a Supervisor will call in a few days after their Investigation.

On May 12 about 5 p.m. a female ‘supervisor’ phoned and once again I explained their records show where I moved from and when, and she ignores this explanation to say, “What you have to do is . . .” You know when you hear this that all fault has been heaped onto your shoulders, valid or not, usually not.

What I had to do was “petition” my landlord to take responsibility for the charges on by bill. I asked, “How does this become my problem? Surely Hydro should be asking the landlord for this, not tacking it onto my bill without explanation.” I was told my landlord had “refused responsibility”, so I must work it out with them,

We went back and forth with this several times with me urging them to consult their records to see I couldn’t possibly have used energy here when my lease began Feb. 14 and I was not here. This is not mine. And she slammed down the phone mid-sentence.

In a subsequent conversation with my landlord I discovered no attempt was made by Hydro regarding this subject with them.

I saw then this is nothing more than a fraudulent attempt to erroneously charge for idle time to those least able to pay or complain.

I urge you to deny their rate raise and insist instead they balance their enormous budget in a legal and businesslike manner.

Sincerely
C. Neil

cc The Promoter, Hydro One

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Green elites meet the people

By Lawrence Solomon May 28, 2010 – 10:25 pm

Residents try to protect their little part of the planet from clean-energy windmills
On Wednesday evening, as part of a panel of energy insiders, I spoke in Toronto’s financial district before an audience of some 150, most of them professionals interested in the clean-energy industry. On Thursday evening, I spoke to some 300 of their victims, in a school auditorium in a residential neighbourhood 15 miles away.

The elite gathering, held in the Grand Banking Hall of One King West Hotel & Residence, was organized by Corporate Knights, a magazine dedicated to “clean capitalism,” and funded by Enbridge, an $18-billion energy company keen to capture a share of the government-sponsored clean technology business (clean energy is chiefly wind, solar, biomass, and other government-subsidized energy technologies). Geared to making Canada a green-energy superpower, the event was billed as “an evening of constructive dialogue on the economy, energy and the environment,” and that it was. I especially felt constructive in bringing news to the assembly that the prospects for a low-carbon green economy were crumbling. Earlier that day, the EU had announced it was putting further carbon dioxide cuts on hold. Its announcement followed like decisions one day earlier by Germany and France, whose announcements followed blockbuster news from Spain the previous week.

“Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster,” read the headline in La Gaceta, a Spanish business newspaper that reported a leaked internal Cabinet document in a full-page article (Obama has often cited Spain as a model Green Economy). The Cabinet document indicated that more than two jobs were lost for every green job created, that the country’s spending binge on renewables had made Spain a high-electricity-cost country, and that Spanish businesses now faced electricity costs 17% higher than the European average. Thanks to the green economy, Spain has Europe’s highest unemployment rate, at 20%, and is now staring at bankruptcy.

More constructive news from me: Australia last month abandoned its cap and trade plan, and the U.S. cap and trade plan is going nowhere. In all these countries, the shoddiness of the scientific claims linking man to dangerous climate change has finally been publicized, thanks to the release of the Climategate emails which showed that scientists had cooked the books on climate change. With public belief in man-made global warming tanking around the world, politicians have begun to run for cover. Countries everywhere are bailing out of their CO2-reduction plans.

Except in Canada, where many in the press and public, and especially in the elites, have not yet heard the news. The other panellists on the stage with me Wednesday evening — a vice-president at CIBC who lends money to government-backed clean energy projects; the head of Cleantech at MaRS, a government-funded centre that promotes government funding of technology; and executives at Earnscliffe and Navigant, top consulting companies — all spoke to the ways and means of transforming society. Some touted the moral imperative to combat man-made global warming, some the need to do what’s right for society, some the steps required to ethically build a less consumptive, more ascetic society of the future.

I met some of the residents slated to inhabit the Brave New World of these panellists the following evening, in an iconic area on the outskirts of Toronto known as the Scarborough Bluffs. The water off this stretch of cliff along Lake Ontario is among the many sites slated for industrial wind turbines. To protect this little part of their planet, which ironically had been carved out when global warming ended the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago, residents came out in their hundreds. Some objected to the visual intrusion of 400-foot high windmills in the natural environment, some feared the noise and possible health effects associated with wind turbines, some worried about the wind turbines’ effect on their property values. None understood why the Ontario government was imposing these monstrosities on them, or why it had taken such extraordinary steps to complete the imposition: To see to the construction of wind and other so-called clean technologies, the Ontario government passed legislation to both provide billions in subsidies for technologies without economic merit and to deny communities their traditional rights to control local developments.

The plight of the residents, in fact, has a ready explanation. In part — a lesser part — it stems from the high-sounding rhetoric of the elite panellists, magnified in an echo chamber populated by legions of fellow elites, the overwhelming majority of whom have accepted the global-warming hypothesis unquestioningly, despite an abject paucity of compelling evidence. The other part of the explanation — the greater part — stems from the residents having unquestioningly accepted the same hypothesis. Fortunately, a remedy for the residents, and for the populace at large, is readily available: Follow the rest of the world and challenge the science.

Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/05/28/green-elites-meet-the-people/#ixzz0pKctdkrM

Businesses begin moving out of Ontario due to high electricity cost

Here’s the economic effect of the government’s energy plan: move to Quebec.
Look at Xtrata. 670 jobs lost in Timmins as they move operations to Quebec where they can get power at half the cost of Ontario. Stoney Creek Ice Cream production as well is moving to Quebec. Thank you Dalton!

High costs forced Stoney Creek Dairy out Hamilton Spectator
Gaucher said several factors combined to make the Stoney Creek ice-cream plant uncompetitive — taxes and electricity bills were almost twice what he pays in Montreal and the cost of city water was $8,000 a year in Montreal compared with $100,000 a year here.

Posted in Wind Concerns Ontario

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PROOF SMART METERS MISREAD

I have the proof now that something is wrong with my meter.


I got my daily readings today from H1, who sent me my data on speadsheet.



Now, lets be clear. I take my readings at noon, they likely do so at midnight. But have a look at my May 18 meter reading I took at noon. 44207. Their midnight reading of that day is 44143. Less. In fact the next day was less at 44191.

How can that be? I did not screw up the reading. That is what the meter had at noon on the 18th of May.

Now it seemed to "correct" itself somewhere along the line because the next 3 days, which unfortunately I was in Toronto for 2 of them, is the same consumption as a normal day, some 54 kWh.

There is definitely a problem with the meters, at least mine.

I emailed back to H1 with this problem, will post the reply.

THIS IS WHY YOUR RATES ARE HIGH

This is an ad on Kijiji:

Generate Solar Energy -- Then Sell it Back to the Province

"Thanks to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the FIT and microFIT programs, every person in Ontario can now generate electricity to sell back at a significant profit. The OPA is offering anyone who can generate solar electricty, a rate of 80.2 cents for every kilowatt hour they sell back. To put that in perspective, the average consumer pays anywhere from 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Thats right -- the OPA will buy it back for 8 times what they charge us. And they guarantee to continue purchasing it at that rate for 20 years. What that means is a significant return on investment (as much as 16 percent per year) for anyone who takes advantage of this program. Many customers who install a 10 kilowatt system are now earning 14,000 to 17,000 dollars a year by selling their electricity back to the OPA. And again that is money that is guaranteed for the next 20 years.

If you have a roof or a yard that sees lots of sunlight, then you have yourself an investment opportunity that is guaranteed for the next 20 years. 100 percent financing is available with payments that are still less than the income from the OPA.

We are Solar Direct Canada and have been in business for 20 years. We are also registered with the BBB. Don't trust your home and your investment to some fly-by-night company."


You may want to post a protest, I did.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BIZZAR JUMP IN COMSUMPTION


Notice May 18. A huge jump in the meter reading for my place. We were in Toronto 20-21 and did not take a reading for two days, so those three 19, 20, 21 were averaged. Now we were only gone for 30 hours out of the 3 days, so how those three togther could be the same as the previous "normal" readings is beyond me. (people were here at the house)

My monitor is currently at my friends taking readings, so could not compare.

But I'm sure I saw this once before back in April. A huge jump and then the next day was NEGATIVE. I figured I misread the prevous day, switch numbers. Now I'm not so sure I was wrong then.

If this happens again I should have the monitor back here recording to compare it to.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ENVIRONMENT CANADA TEMPERATURE DATA

Once we get historical consumption from as many of you as possible, and H1 tries to claim it's the weather causing the great upsurge in readings, I will be able to show otherwise.

On another bog I present Canadian Surface Temperatures for all of Canada as I have downloaded just about all of the 1300 stations across Canada from Environment Canada's website. So I will be able to show both temperature ranges for every year of data, and precipitation data. So there is no way they will be able to bamboozle us with that excuse.

The general trend since 1900 for Southern Ontario (actually for all of Canada too) is 1/3 less days above 30C, 1/2 fewer days below -20C, and the growing season is longer by 30 days today than in the 1930's. So the over all trend is cooler summers, and not as cold winters. The 1920s and 1930's had very hot summers, very cold winters, and a shorter growing season. But not today, since the 1900's the temperature ranges, the extreme end of the yearly range, has been narrowing to more moderated temperatures.

That's the "global warming" the entire environment policies of this province are based on.

BIZZAR PHONE CALL FROM H1

Five days ago, May 13, I got a call from Hydro One saying that a reporter in Guelph was investigating my claims of meter problems and wanted to get my consumption records from H1. They called because they wanted to send me a "release form" for me to sign to allow H1 to give this reporter my records.

I thought this bizzar, why wouldn't the reporter just call or email me first? So I said no, just forward the reporter my phone number.

I thought this call very bizzar. So I waited, 5 days now and no call.

Was this some sort of attempt to get me to sign some release to stop the suit? Would not put it past them.

Wouldn't matter, I'm working on a strategy plan for the suit. Will make it known later once we start the process.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

McGuinty Bankrupting Ontario's Power

Power burnout


Still loaded with debt, Ontario’s electricity sector is headed for another meltdown

By Tom Adams

Wednesday’s article on this page by Parker Gallant, “Still stranded after all these years,” shines much-needed light on the finances of Ontario’s power system. With the McGuinty government outdoing the causes of Ontario Hydro’s bankruptcy in 1998 — it is investing heavily again in CANDU nuclear power and signing 20-year power purchase deals at up to 12 times current consumer cost — reviewing the last bankruptcy is timely.

When Ontario Hydro collapsed, a major concern was its liability legacy — bonds, nuclear wastes and costly power purchase deals. In 2001, Mike Harris’s Conservative government promised to wipe out the debt within 10 years.

With 10 years of results reported for the debt reduction program, how is it working?

Let’s examine the special electricity tax on the power bills of Ontario consumers, called the Debt Reduction Charge (DRC), created to eliminate the most troublesome subset of Ontario Hydro’s liabilities, called the residual stranded debt.

Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC) was created out of Hydro’s ashes with $38.1-billion in total debt and other liabilities. A portion of the $38.1-billion was supported by the assets of Ontario Hydro’s successor companies. Officially $20.9-billion was not supported by any assets, or stranded. With new special taxes on electricity distributors and by earmarking future profits of Crown-owned Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One, most of the “stranded debt” (about $13-billion) was considered serviceable. The “residual stranded debt” was left over and pegged at $7.8-billion.

Under the plan, this residual debt would be paid down by the DRC tax on electricity consumers, pegged at 0.7¢ per kilowatt-hour. Target pay down was 2010.

OEFC’s annual reports reveal how cost growth has overwhelmed the original debt elimination plan, slowing debt repayment to a trickle. The officially estimated date for retiring the electricity debt has been skidding — now OEFC says 2014-2018. Worryingly, the Ontario government’s electricity planning authority’s only public statement on the subject forecasts that the DRC will continue to be collected until 2020.

Since it started, OEFC has collected $36.3-billion from rate payers through various channels, including $6.85-billion from the DRC. However, OEFC reports that the initial unfunded liability — all the stranded debt including residual stranded debt — has declined by only $3.2-billion (see graph above).

Even the modest actual progress exaggerates the gains attributable to DRC proceeds. In 2005, the McGuinty government increased power rates, in part by allowing OEFC to flow through directly to consumers the full extent of the bloated costs of old money-losing non-utility generators (NUG) costs. From the time of market opening until the end of 2004, the average losses to OEFC on the NUG contracts (awarded to private firms at inflated electricity prices) were about $220-million per year.

Notwithstanding many revenue streams earmarked to pay down the stranded debt, an amount less than the DRC revenue has been applied against Hydro’s legacy. Even new revenue streams, such as the NUG flow-through, have had little effect on the outstanding balance.

The stranded debt has dropped so little largely because the overall debt plan depends heavily on profitibility at OPG’, the giant generating complex left over following the failure of the old Ontario Hydro. OPG agreed as a condition of its debt bailout when it was created in 1999 to pay off its portion of the “stranded debt” while subject to something called a Market Power Mitigation Agreement (MPMA). The MPMA , supposedly to offset the great cost advantages of OPG, limited OPG’s revenue to 3.8¢ per kilowatt hour. Instead of market power, however, OPG produced market losses. It has enjoyed several major revenue bailouts. In 2005, with OPG facing insolvency, the McGuinty government relieved the big generator of having to refund MPMA rebates to consumers, effectively undoing OPG’s half of the quid pro quo that was the basis for having almost all of its debt eliminated in 1999. Also in 2005, OPG’s nuclear and some of its hydro-electric capacity became regulated, relaxing revenue controls further.

In 2009, OPG’s average revenue was 6.07¢ per kWh. Notwithstanding a 60% revenue increase since the days of the MPMA, OPG’s net income still lags. No matter what its revenues, OPG costs have risen to match them and then some.

In addition to OPG’s weakness, another factor draining OEFC revenues is the government’s repeated use of OEFC to fund policy initiatives. OEFC now funds OPG’s coal phase-out costs with “contingent support” payments.

Coal-related payments to OPG are just one portion of the huge growth in the various new charges to Ontario electricity consumers beginning in mid 2008. Premier Dalton McGuinty is now using one of those charges, called the Global Adjustment Charge, to move costly government policy initiatives, including direct Ministry of Energy operations, onto consumer power bills.

OEFC’s annual statements refer to its debt reduction plan, its revisions, and the range of dates for paying down the stranded debt or the residual stranded debt. However, no iteration of that plan or its successors has ever been made public. Without the debt plan and the details of Global Adjustment being publicly available, there is no hope of keeping the government agencies accountable. Ontario’s electricity system is essentially moving back to where it was in 1998 — rolling in debt, facing rising costs, and funding electricity projects that are designed to lose money.

Financial Post
Tom Adams is an energy consultant based in Toronto.




Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/05/13/power-burnout/#ixzz0o6sbvZBS

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ontario's Power Trip: The 20% hydro grab

Posted: May 12, 2010, 12:14 AM by NP Editor

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/05/11/ontario-s-power-trip-the-20-hydro-grab.aspx

Why electricity bills in Canada’s biggest province are set to soar
By Parker Gallant

Since I began the Ontario Power Trip series, I’ve received many requests from people asking me to tell them how much their electricity bill would go up. My first stab at an answer was to tell people it looked like about 20%.

Last week, Toronto Hydro told the National Post’s editorial board that Toronto area electricity bills will be rising by about 20%. Toronto, of course, is not alone here. Similar increases will hit all Ontario electricity consumers — and there are more to come.

Ontario electricity costs are made up of a long chain of fees, costs, debits, adjustments, charges, and other items too complicated to list and itemize. But let’s try. I decided to look at my Toronto Hydro bill and figure out how my power bill was likely to go up in the near future. The calculations get even more complicated because, in theory at least, beginning on May 1 Ontario consumers with Smart Meters will be under a new Time of Use (TOU) system.

My billing date was April 1, so I chose Aug. 1 for comparison purposes. That’s when Ontario’s new HST kicks in. Under the regulated price plan (RPP) my bill (assuming I use 2480 kwhs over two months) will increase by $61 (up 20.5%) for two months’ worth of power. Under the TOU plan, it will increase by $53 (up 17.9%). That means my electricity bill will jump $366 on an annual basis under the RPP and $318 under TOU.

That’s before we get to new rate increase applications in the hopper with the Ontario Energy Board, the regulator. As one example, Toronto Hydro has OEB approval to increase the “regulatory charge” to recover 2007 costs associated with “Shared Savings Mechanisms” (SSM), “Lost Revenue Adjustment Mechanism” (LRAM) and “Conservation & Demand Management” (CDM) that will add 0.49¢ a month to the bill.

Also awaiting OEB approval is another application from Toronto Hydro. It said the following: “In addition, the global economic downturn and other factors such as conservation have significantly eroded demand for power and energy.” As a result, Toronto Hydro “would be unable to recover its existing revenue requirement given the reduced load it is now experiencing.”

So the equation in the public-utility sector is: Demand down, rates up!

So why are they spending money to tell us to conserve, if the final result is to get us to pay more? They are asking for increases of 10.5% and 13.4%, based on usage under/over 800 kWh per month. Other utilities across Ontario have plans for similar rate increases.

In an effort to help Ontarians understand their electricity bills, the chart above may help. Every line on this chart requires an application to the OEB by the distributor, such as Hydro One, or a local distributor, such as Toronto Hydro. This chart doesn’t include IESO, the OPA, the OPG or other private-sector generators that also submit applications.

Readers will note that there’s a $17.36 bi-monthly fee to cover the “stranded debt” of the old Ontario Hydro. That’s a story in itself (see here).

Financial Post
Parker Gallant is a retired Canadian banker who began looking at his Ontario electricity bill and didn’t like what he was seeing.

HOW TO READ YOUR BILL

From today's Financial Post:




Notice the "Lost Revenue Adjustment Charge". That's the money Hydro One recoupes due to lost revenue from conservation.








Next post will be the whole article.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

HORROR STORIES #2

There are at least 5 complaint treads started at www.complaintsboard.com

-------------------------


I have lived the past 20 years with a husband who has bi-polar, and a severe anger problem. I have lived very afraid of most things when it comes to him. I have not paid my Hydro bill since I have been off on long-term disability for depression and Acute Stress/Anxiety Disorder. I have always been brought up to NEVER be on disability let alone claim bankruptcy. However, here I am feeling like a terrible failure. In December, my husband and I separated, shortly after, my father passed away very suddenly. In January, Hydro cut off my services, and my children and I have not had a place to live since. I have tried to make several arrangements with them to no avail. I have had United Way and the Winter Warmth Program try to negotiate something but again no. I had called several times to Hydro to see their proticol on bankruptcy and have been informed EVERYTIME that they disconnect your account and reconnect the same day. I have tried to come up with the funds that I need to pay this and I just can't, they are charging me approx 300.00/monthly in late fees alone this on top of the security deposit. I telephoned them lastweek (after making a total of 9 calls to make sure of their protocol as I would be losing my job in results of claiming bankruptcy), to inform them that I would be claiming bankruptcy that day as my children and I have no where to live. They instructed me to have the Trustee fax the docments to them and if they received them before 2 that afternoon they would be able to connect my hydro the same day. I would have loved this. My son's only wish for Easter was to be back in his own home. A manager phoned the Trustee and stated that she would give me until 2:45 to get the documents in. I went down immediately to sign the papers with many tears. While I was there the same manager called to tell the Trustee to make sure she faxed the docs A.S.A.P, which she did. I left and by the time I arrived back home which took about 5 minutes, the same manager from Hydro one called me and said she would not be hooking my power back up as she didn't notice but my husbands name appeared first on the bill and mine name appeared second. I had just claimed bankruptcy for this but also I had to give up my career. She stated that my ex-husband who doesn't live at the residence would have to claim bankruptcy. After fighting with him for a week over this he finally called back this manager today and she told him that he would have to claim bankruptcy and then she would look at it again but doesn't know whether she will ever turn the power on again or not. I am so frustrated and sad for my children, how am I supposed to make all of this work? I made huge life altering changes, and now I can't undo any of them, as a result of being lied to by Hydro One. Please any advice would be grately appreciated. Thanks.

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Hydro One put a smart metor on our lake property south of Parry Sound. Keep in mind this is a cottage and we are not there all the time. One month in January the metor read 45 the next month it read 141. Nothing was left on there was no reason it should have jumped so much. They did an inquiry and told us that the reading was down the month they took another reading so we would have to pay the legal robbers 3 times the previous bill. If this is not legal robbery what is it. The consumer is treated like dirt.

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Almost everyone in Noelville has received astronomical Hydro billings for the month of January, 2010.Hydro One is not willing to listen to this complaint. The whole community is in an uproar. Hydro says "Pay it or face disconnection". There's something wrong here. Normal monthly bill is $300.00 - $400.00 maximum. This one is $1400.00. Some in the community receive some as high as $1800.00.Please tell us how to proceed. This is insane. They make mistakes like this all the time and threathen us with disconnection if we dont pay. In Nov. 2009, we received a credit of $737.37 in over payment that they billed us, prior!!!Then for January 2010, they send us a bill for $1400.00 !!! Please investigate !!

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Hi, my name is Mrs. Shirley Noel i have a big issue with these new hydro meters that they are putting on our homes. The bills have doubled since then, even when we cut back on everything still the bills go up. I haved spoken to someone who works with meter readings in Mississauga that i know and he has told me that those meters have a defect in them. When faced to the sun they spin more causing us to pay for more electricity. They have been removed in some areas because people knew were to complained. What can we do. Any adviced would be appriciated. Thanks

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I agree 100%, Ever since my new meter was put in my hydro has almost doubled...even though we have been watching our hydro consumption! I believe we are being cheated, I have called and they have assured that everything is fine but it is not adding up!

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We are walking in to Hydro One's corporate office tomorrow to complain - Shirley Noel's comments have shown us there IS a defect in the new Smart Meters - our cottage Hydro One bill has tripled during the winter months when NO ONE IS THERE and the heat is sitting at 10 degrees C...and since the new meters were installed.And the same for our cottage neighbors - their bill has gone up 7-fold over this winter and they are not there either. And it is because the leaves are gone on the trees, the smart meters are exposed to the sun, it's been a sunny warm winter, and we are being billed for a sunny winter.OUTRAGEOUS - the press needs to know this. Who else has evidence - this is NOT right and our government needs to fix this asap.

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What Jack Booted monopolists they are.Today was my wake up call. I just heard from my wife that Hydro showed up at my door with and order to collect $1442.00 or disconnect. I was also informed that my neighbor was also disconnected in very much the same fashion moments later. No advance warning, no "notice to disconnect" in the mail and not a soul at Hydro will listen. Hydro One has delt with us with the knowledge that each winter it's been the same, in that we wait for the income tax returns to come in to pay the balance of the winter Hydro bills off. However high they were I never complained about Hydro costs although I did every thing I could to explore why my costs were so high. I requested a billing history to look for a pattern to no avail, I've Relamped to CFL's, upgraded my appliances, turned myself into a "electrical waste Nazi"- turning every light in the house off other than one in the room we were in. Heating only the room we occupy with a small cost effective space heater, washing clothes in cold, hanging them to dry, I even turn the shower off when I lather up. There appears to be no way to tame this dragon we call Hydro One. Why do I have to pay for cost recovery? I've been living in Ontario and a client of Ontario Hydro in one incarnation or another for 28 years, seems to me I have never been allowed to escape a payment in all that time, yet the Ontario Government allows that priviledge to be bestowed on Hydro One Networks. (Therefor the need for "Cost Recovery")I'm going to explore my legal rights as it seems unfair that they can take such action without prior notice. Really, do you keep $1500.00 on hand? Of COURSE YOU DON'T.

Ontario's Power Trip: A megaplex of costs


Ontario's Power Trip: A megaplex of costs
Posted: April 20, 2010, 7:04 PM by NP Editor
Parker Gallant, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario's Power Trip

Ontario electricity is based on an expanding regime of expensive government directives
By Parker Gallant

Last week in this series on Ontario’s electricity market I outlined the growing dysfunction of the province’s major government-owned operating companies: Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). They deliver less and less electricity at ever higher costs and prices. Today we look at the main direct regulatory vehicles that control the overall system: The Ontario Power Authority, the Ontario Energy Board and Ontario Electricity Financial Corp.

These regulatory agencies and the operating companies, all beholden to Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government’s energy machine, form Ontario’s electric power megaplex, an agglomeration of government agencies and Crown monopolies. Through a raft of new energy laws, regulations, and directives, the government and the companies seem to operate outside of any critical oversight or attention.

Even though electricity demand is falling and the economy is slow, electricity rate increases keep coming and the Ontario electricity system has become an incomprehensible maze. The only clear message is one of rising costs and burdens on industry and consumers.

Not too long ago I received official confirmation from the Ontario Energy Board, the province’s electricity "regulator," for what my Ontario electric bill on a cottage property already told me. A 91% increase in the distribution portion of the bill, paid to Hydro One, the government-owned monopoly power distribution company, had been formally approved by the OEB.
How did this happen?

Simple. Hydro One applied to the OEB (via 3,400 pages of documentation) to cover the cost of an earlier buying spree, the purchase of a collection of local municipal electricity distribution companies. The takeovers created 280 different rate classifications. Hydro One then applied to the OEB to reduce the 280 classifications to 12. "Based on the evidence," said the OEB, "the Board accepts Hydro One’s judgment with respect to the proposed classes for the purpose of this decision. Moving from 280 rate classes to 12 new rate classes is not a simple exercise."

That’s how my distribution cost jumped 91%.

Last week, the OEB issued another rate notice, a 12% increase in the cost of regulated power and an increase on the time of use plan proposed for the province’s new Smart Meter regime.

Why are rates rising 12%? It all starts at the top, with Premier McGuinty, who in 2007 issued a famous decree: "Come hell or high water, Ontario coal plants will close by 2007." That quote has been the subject of attacks by opposition parties, environmental groups, and the media. But it remains a policy that will cost Ontario industry and consumers billions of dollars.

The coal plant diktat is just one of many handed down by Mr. McGuinty and his Liberal cabinet in recent years. The Ontario government’s seizure of the electricity market began long before the hell-or-high-water mark. In 2004 the Liberals passed the Energy Restructuring Act, amending the Electricity Act of 1998. This created the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), which was given sweeping powers in the energy sector, including responsibility to develop an integrated power system plan (IPSP).

In a Throne speech of October 12, 2005, the McGuinty government began fleshing out its plans for the electricity market. "Consumers can look forward to getting smart meters that will help them save money by telling them when they can pay less." At that time the price of electricity was 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour, no matter what the time of day. The smart meter plan is expected to cost consumers about $2-billion in coming years. It will, in fact, tell consumers when they will pay more for electricity, which is pretty much always.

Thus instructed, the OPA has utilized consulting groups (30% of its annual budget) mainly to focus on how to take the energy minister’s directives forward.

In 2009, Energy Minister George Smitherman unleashed the Green Energy Act, designed to regulate the price of electricity and force consumers to pay more for alternative wind and solar energy.


To achieve objectives, Mr. Smitherman instructed Hydro One and the local distributors to spend billions of dollars. Hydro One’s 2009 annual report states: "Our estimated future capital expenditures have increased from those disclosed in the 2008 annual report." The report now projects future capital expenditures increases 27% above 2009 levels for 2010. It specifically states that the government’s new Green Energy Act added $190-million in 2010, $450-million for 2011 and $750-million for 2012 to their projected capital expenditures. The report states that "smart meters" will increase capital expenditures.

As a result of all this, Hydro One has commenced applications to the OEB for increases in their delivery rates, as all of the additional capital costs will need to be paid back through rate increases on industry and consumers. That’s how the system works. Government dictates, consumers pay.

The OPA — the government’s vehicle for carrying out directives — is charged with pushing through the provisions of the Green Energy Act and fulfilling government dictates. It has signed hundreds of contracts with renewable energy producers under a green feed in tariff (FIT) program. The FIT program essentially forces consumers to pay ultra-high prices of 13.5 to 19 cents per kWh of wind power and 80 cents per kWh of solar power, the higher costs to be averaged into the bills of all consumers across the province.

One of the new contracts calls for Samsung, the Korean energy giant, to install a 2000 megawatt wind farm. Samsung will be paid at the FIT wind rate of 13.50 cents per kWh plus a 1 cent adder. To put that price per kWh in perspective the time of use rates that come into effect later this year price power at an average of 6.5 cents per kWh over a normal week. If the Samsung wind farm produces at the "ideal" 29 % capacity level, the cost to ratepayers will be $1.1-million per day or $406-million for each year the farm operates. Assuming the contract is 20 years the subsidy committed to by the province is in excess of $8-billion.

Wind and solar power are somewhat unreliable. Backup power is needed in the event the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. The above Samsung price guarantee doesn’t include backup costs. It doesn’t include costs associated with the transmission lines that Hydro One will have to erect. It doesn’t include costs for substations to alter voltage coming out of the wind farms.

Now let’s move on to the OEB, the regulator. The OEB operates under its own act and its first "guiding principal," which is to "protect the interests of consumers with respect to prices and the adequacy, reliability and quality of electricity service." A worthy objective, except that the OEB must simultaneously contend with conflicting directives, legislation and regulation governing the production, delivery and distribution of energy.

When an act such as the Energy Conservation Responsibility Act or the Green Energy Act is passed, the minister is granted the right to issue directives. These are issued to the entities under the ministry’s direct control, which includes all members of the electricity megaplex: the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Hydro One, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the OEB and several others.

When Mr. Smitherman was the minister he sent a September 24, 2009, directive to the OPA to establish a FIT program and sign contracts for green energy projects under the FIT. The FIT program developed by the OPA sets the price of power based on the type and size of renewable energy produced. Payout set per kWh was 10.3 cent/kWh at the low end and 80.2 cents/kWh at the high end.

FIT contracts get first to the grid rights, so the most expensive power doesn’t even have to compete with OPG and other established electricity producers. In other words the more wind and solar power produced raises the ultimate costs of electricity distributed to the consumers. Cheaper and cleaner hydro power will be displaced by expensive green power.

On top of this we have the new time of use rates and adoption of smart meters. As power costs rise, consumers also face the $750 cost to install smart meters. These costs further distort the regulatory process. Under OEB rules, the power operating companies are allowed to achieve an acceptable rate of return (ROE), generally set at the 8% to 9.5% level. Having been forced by the minister’s directives to buy smart meters, build transmission lines and buy energy under the FIT program, Hydro One and others can’t hope to achieve their ROE without asking for big rate increases.

Rate increase applications involve mountains of paper. A recent Hydro One application for a small increase in delivery rates contained 3399 pages. The increase was for $3-million for 2010 and $4-million for 2010. Hidden in the application was the suggestion that Hydro One would have to recover monies related to 2,300 contracts in negotiation by OPA for small facilities (less than 10 MWs) connecting to the Hydro One grid. This same application adds that "the Green Energy Plan and Smart Grid initiatives would be very costly, and most of the cost would fall on Hydro One. They felt that investments in renewable generation should be funded through a global adjustment paid for by all Ontario electricity customers."

Another example of latent future applications would be the $615-million dollar cost overrun for OPG’s Niagara tunnel (See Beckygate in the Ontario Power Trip series at FPComment online).

We end our trip through the Ontario power megaplex with a vist to the sixth member of the group, the Ontario Electricity Financial Corp. (OEFC). OEFC was originally established to hold the "stranded debt" of the old Ontario Hydro Group and to receive the money that appears on consumer electricity bills as a "Debt Retirement Charge." Alas, not much debt is being retired. As at March 31, 2000 the total debt on the OEFC books was $32-billion and as at March 31, 2009, it was $28.1-billion. At that rate it will take another 63 years to pay off. Nevertheless, OEFC’s annual report states "The residual stranded debt will likely be retired between 2014-2018."

Where’s the money going? Over the last nine years, the ratepayers of the province have paid approximately $1-billion each year towards the debt retirement. OEFC also annually received "payments in lieu of taxes" from OPG and Hydro One, which averaged almost $700-million per annum, and they have collected interest of approximately $700-million per annum from OPG and the province. Gross revenues from the ratepayers and taxpayers total about $27-billion but the debt has only reduced by $ 4-billion because OEFC is building up more debt to finance the growth and expansion of the megaplex.

Ontario’s official tourism slogan is "There’s no place like this!" It’s an appropriate slogan for the province’s electricity market.

Financial PostParker Gallant is a retired Canadian banker who looked at his Ontario electricity bills and didn’t like what he was seeing.


Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/04/20/ontario-s-power-trip-a-megaplex-of-costs.aspx#ixzz0nedEhnPj

HORROR STORIES #1

There are so many now, they need to be here all together. No names will show here.

From: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/hydro-one-c301140.html#c660430

Hydro One billing is excessive and unreasonable. How is one to live and attempt to dig themselves out of debt when they cannot get ahead due to hydro ones pricing. The government needs to step up and reduce the amount of money it is STEALING from innocent people trying to make a living. Hydro is a necessity in todays world and therefore should be more reasonably priced. $900 for a single month? their excuse is a reading error? They demand this money or your cut off. Oh and god forbid you have a late payment or else they will add a $800 security deposit. If one is struggling to make the usage payment, how are they suppose to come up with the funds for a security deposit. Going to have to sell the house I guess. What kind of economic stimulus are these outrageous hydro billings?

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We are in the same boat. Hydro One scam is what they are. Don't turn to the OEB either. Their all in bed together. Our billing every month is like another mortgage payment. Call the customer service "rep" and you get "that is normal" we estimate based on previous years. When we asked if perhaps a problem was happening in previous years, the rep stutters and then offers us advise on how we can conserve. Well, our method of conserving is to freeze our butts off in the winter not because of a "green" initiative but because we can't afford to be warm in our house but thankfully we are contributing unwillingly to a greener tomorrow. We owe over 1400.00 to Hydro for two months worth of wearing extra sweaters, using one heater to heat our entire home and telling our kids...well at least you will be warm at school---you can de-thaw there. I've complained to Hydro so many times and get nowhere...my last question, I paid 8000.00 last year to you people for hydro that we barely even use...can you at least use part of that money and send someone to check out if the problem might be on your end...nope, afraid not. We are a monopoly...we can do what we want. Good luck...no one wants to take on the HYDRO company...OEB - NADDA, they file a complaint and then close it. Check out the complaints statistics on their website. It has increased every year. Someone there is not doing their job either. TOO busy approving the increase in delivery rate charges and loss line charges because THAT is money in their pocket. So sell the house and move to an apartment. Some poor sucker will buy your house and because kwh usage is based on previous years, they will continue the trend. Good luck everyone - Write to the ONTARIO Ombudsman...the more complaints they get, the more it becomes a provincial problem and they have to investigate.

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So true and so frustrating!! HOW can you budget with bills like this!!!???????

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Well, we got that dreaded call today they are disconnecting us... after trying to make payment arrangements and slipping through the hydro system a couple times during the winter months they finally caught up to us ..This story I imagine is some what like so many who have lost their homes etc because of the economy etc ..My husband's EI ran out there are no jobs out there .. the odd small reno here and there basically pays for gas in the van and a few meals.I'm working 3 days a week that's suppose to be full time... How in the hell can we live our morgage payment is 1200.00 and we get this 8000.00 hydro bill yearly thats more than I make at the 3 days a week I'm making ...We have asked them to look into our hydro ...maybe change the metre maybe check the lines I don't know but we dont run anything different than anyone else a PC washer dryer hell we even unplugged our freezer, we have a stove a fridge a tv .. no hot tubs or central air..we dont even us fans in the summer if we can help it anything with a motor runs up your hydro ... coffee pot is limited as well were getting disconnected because back in Feb they wanted us to Pay 6000.00 and we told them we could give them 2500.00 they said yes please do but we unfortunatly will still have to disconnected you so we opt out of paying and purchased a generator ..and 2 tanks of gas fror when that days comes ..we cant pull money out of our asses and these bills are outrageous...who can help us talk to your MP they cant do shit ... Hydro one just passes the Buck so to speak ...were getting disconnected and there is nothing we can do and no way of coming up with money to pay this ...I dont want to go back to oil lantern days but we may have no choice ...it cost us 270.00 a month just to get hydro to our place ...and we live 3 miles outside of a town and we have neibours their bills are no where close to mine ...OMG someone help us

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I have the same problem as all of you. A vicious circle of high bills and charges, late payments, extensions, disconnection notices and ultimately a security deposit of $750! I did eventually manage to get the money together for the last bill. They called me at 1.30pm and told me if I didn't pay them $872 by 2pm they would disconnect me. I had no vehicle and am 7 months pregnant with very little cash so I had to go through the embarrasment of asking a neighbour to lend me the cash and take me into town to pay the bill. So I did all that and faxed a confirmation of the payment. I called them to see if they got the fax and they hadn't. The next morning they turned up to cut me off! So even when you do things their way the paperwork gets lost and you're still under threat. I don't need the stress right now on top of everything else. I'm wondering if you are, in a legal capacity, able to ask for your security deposit back. Does anyone know?

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ohhh my, i am so in the same boat. im renting an apartment for $550 plus the food prices here in northern ontario is crazy and outrageous. guess how much Bill i have? $1429 for two months. because they "estimated" my previous bills too low the previous months.well it wasnt my fault that their "people" are too lazy to check on the meter.only me and my 5 year old daughter live in this small house. we sleep early so as to save the energy. we turn off all the lights and only keep one heater on during the rigid nothern winter.after all my budgeting, i realized that i have $20.50 left to buy for my groceries for the month. this is soooo unfair. i am working my A** off for hydro. this is outrageous.we are not even in the house during the day as my daughter goes to school and i work.

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I am writing like everyone else about my extremely high hydro bills. I am renting a small 3 bedroom home in a very small village 15 min outside Shelburne Ont, I've been here for just over four years, and it seems just over the past 2yrs my hydo bills are just way to high. Every month my bills have been well over $250.00, even in the summer I still pay well over $200.00 a month(total bill). Last winter I went through 5 tanks of oil, had my deep freezer plugged in, and a extra heater plugged in., and I maybe payed the most just over $300.00 a month (still too high). This winter was mild, I'm still on my second tank of oil, my deep freezer has not been plugged in for about three months, and I have a small energy saving heater, and since my bills are high, we as a family do pretty good with trying to cut back on hydro, but I guess not good enough, my bill for one month Jan to Feb was $721.38, they say the actual reading was 151(kwh)average electricity used per day. Over the past few months I was giving hydro $200-$300 a month to get caugt up, now I owe over $1400.00, and I will never get caught up, I fell behind in other bill just to make them happy. I do my washing always in cold water, I work midnights so I sleep all day while my kids are at school, so for over 6hrs only very little hydro is being used.It's not doing any good to talk with hydro, because they are right, and my smart meter is never wrong, my MPP is no help, and I know I will be recieving another disconnection notice soon, I don't know what else to do? Denise from Honeywood

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Unreal! Reading these complaints at least lets me know that I am not alone. They say to me - it is my useage - not the cost. Although my house is 18 months old, all my appliances with the except of one small chest freezer are 18 months old, yet the $340 per month for hydro is because we are excessive in our use of electricity!! They refuse to send someone out to check the "Smart" meter...where the hell do we turn with this problem? All my other neighbours are paying a fraction of what I am paying...are they not cooking or washing and drying their clothes ? The rep at Hydro One said - everyone uses their things differently. My last house was 1000 sq feet bigger, was 110 years old, and there were 5 of us living in it - there are only three living here now and my usage is apparently twice as much as it was there. What are we supposed to do???? They are impossible to deal with!

ONTARIO POWER AT RISK


Ontario power risk
Posted: February 24, 2010, 10:43 PM by NP Editor
Hydro One: Rising debt, higher costs, falling income
By Parker Gallant

On Feb. 11, Hydro One, Ontario`s electricity transmission giant, released the company’s annual report along with a statement from CEO Laura Formusa announcing that all was well. In 2009, Hydro One "met its net income target and made important progress on a number of strategic fronts."

End of story, apparently. No major media reported on Hydro One’s annual statement to "investors," as the company puts it, even though the report is a dog’s breakfast of warning signs and bizarre trends that spell trouble.

As a retired banker, I had a look at the financial information in Hydro One’s annual report. Comparing results from one year to the next gives clues on where a company is headed and what that means for investors, in this case electricity consumers and Ontario taxpayers. Hydro One’s numbers should alarm both of the affected parties.

Net income in 2009 of $470-million may have "met target," but it is down 6% or $28-million from the previous year, even though revenue rose $147-million to $4.7-billion. Why the drop in net income? Rising costs, with operations, maintenance and administration up by 9.5% or $93-million, reflecting increases in salaries and benefits.

The cost of power also rose by 6.6%, or $145-million. Wind and solar power costs are higher and other producers that supply nuclear and other forms of power are presumably being paid more.

Then there’s the debt, up 18.7% to $10.4-billion, as Hydro One borrowed $1.6-billion to pay for new transmission lines to hook wind and solar power to the grid and to purchase a fleet of smart meters. More debt is on the way.

As debt rises, Hydro One’s debt-to-equity ratio weakened from 1.71:1 to 1.91:1. It borrows money to pay for capital costs surrounding the province’s Green Energy Act and puts the company at risk of a debt ratings downgrade, which will drive borrowing costs up.

Return on equity is down to 8.7% from 9.7% in 2008, indicating an overall decline in the value of the company. Return on assets fell to 3% from 3.5%. As a result, the dividend payment to the province was $188-million, down 27.4%. But the CEO says the company is "on target."

Even though revenues and costs are rising, and profit falling, Hydro One handles less electricity — 139.2 terawatts, a decline of 6.4%. The cost of distribution per terawatt was up by 14.9%. Operations and maintenance costs keep rising as power transmitted declines. The number of employees rose 7.7%. Since 2002, when the company had 3,933 employees to distribute 153.2 terawatts, total employment has jumped 38% to 4,400 to distribute 9% less power. Are these additional 1500 staff working in the field or at head office working on rate increase applications?

If you review the notes in Hydro One’s report you find that they installed 433,000 smart meters in 2009. Hydro One must install those meters, as required by the Energy Conservation Responsibility Act passed in 2006 by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. The notes disclosed that it cost the taxpayers approximately $332-million or over $750 for each smart meter installed during 2009. Hydro One will be levying a charge each and every month to recover those costs as soon as the meters are activated.

Some Ontario power consumers are already being billed for smart meters and Hydro One has submitted applications to the Ontario Energy Board to increase the monthly fees for smart meters to approximately $2.50 per month this year and $4.50 per month in 2011. With 1.2 million meters already installed, that will increase their revenues by over $65-million in 2011. At those rates it will take them approximately 13 years to recover the costs. Anyone in business will tell you that this length of payback time is not a smart investment. Ontario power consumers should get ready for more increases to cover off these costs.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. As expensive electricity coming from wind and solar power slowly works its way through the system, many more rate increases will follow.

For some reason, none of this was news when Hydro One released its annual report earlier this month. At the corporate level within Hydro One, everything is apparently on target. But they don’t tell us what the target is, not just at Hydro One but throughout the whole Ontario power system. Soon, Ontario will have the highest electricity rates in North America.

Financial Post
Parker Gallant is a retired Canadian banker who developed an interest in his monthly electricity bill and didn’t like what he was seeing.

FACTS ON WIND AND SOLAR

Yesterday’s post we saw how energy price increases have a positive (for us negative) feed back effect on other prices. In this term positive does not mean good, but that it is an increasing cycle that feeds on itself, often referred to a runaway condition. Kinda like borrowing to pay debt, and borrowing to pay that debt, as in what the US and the EU are doing lately, but I digress. A negative feedback means that a natural buffering effect prevents a runaway.

When there is competition for the same item or service that buffering effect is you, the consumer. As prices rise in a competitive market, people switch to someone willing to supply at a lower cost. Hence, price increase feedbacks, in theory, cannot, or should not, happen in a competitive marketplace (bubbles are an exception, but do come to an end at some point).

There is no buffering in price increases when there is no competition and the item that is increasing is the basis for all other commerce. Electricity and natural gas are unique in that regard. Though NG can be stored, electricity cannot be stored, only one supplier can exist (the line from the pole to your home, the main power lines linking everyone together, etc.)

This places electrical supply in a crucial position in our civilization. Without electrical power that is plentiful and cheap enough this civilization cannot function. It’s as simple as that.

So when you are squeezed for power it’s not like you can move and go somewhere else, well, unless maybe out of the province. Anywhere else you go, you will be hit with the same energy consumption and increasing costs. Thus, companies like Hydro One have a captive audience. And they are behaving like the Kings and Lords of old England with us as the captive subjects to be milked at every opportunity. And we saw the outcome of that in both England, and worse for the upper class, France who lost their heads in revolts. Hopefully we are not there, yet…

End of rant, now to some hard realities.

Yesterday I noted about the importance of ERoEI. I’m going to show you an example of a suggestion to get us off fossil fuels that will actually be a net energy loss -- hydrogen.

The Hydrogen Economy is claimed to be the way of the future. Everything running off hydrogen. That would be fine except for one major problem. There is no hydrogen on the planet that can be mined or extracted from the ground in its molecular state H2. It has to be separated from the molecule it is bound to. Most hydrogen on the planet is either in water or methane. This means it will take energy to get that hydrogen out. That will be a net energy loss. The loss is huge, including storage and transporting of the gas, that loss is at least 80%. That means for every 100 joules of energy you put into getting the hydrogen, you will get at best 20 joules back.

The Hydrogen Economy will never happen.

I want to start this with something important.

People's lives are at risk with power generation that is not reliable and expensive.

The CBC program, The Gospel of Green, is correctly named because it is a faith that alternative energy sources like wind and solar can replace all our fossil fuel generation or nuclear power, which is what that segment tried to claim. It’s a myth.

When ever you see a claim of wind producing such and such capacity and hence supply x number of homes, it's an out right lie. That "capacity" is referred to as the name plate capacity of a wind turbine. The one’s being erected in Ontario are 1.5mW capacity. But that is not what they produce.

Name plate capacity is the theoretical output at maximum wind speed. That maximum speed is 55km/hr. In Ontario that rarely happens. Output from a turbine drops as the cube root of the wind speed. This means that if you cut the wind by half to 27km/hr, the output from a turbine drops to 1/8th, or 20% of name plate. Thus as the wind gets slower the output drops dramatically, such that at 15km/hr they produce nothing at all. Not enough energy in the wind to move the blades. So what is the actual output from wind then?

In 2006, the Ontario Government was given a report by the OPA on just that. The basic question is, when wind is needed the most, which is when demand is within 10% of peak, how much does each wind turbine actually produce?

If not, sit for this one, page 7:



The average capacity value of the wind resource in Ontario during the summer (peak load) months is approximately 17%. The capacity value ranges from 38% to 42% during the winter months (November to February) and from 16% to 19% during the summer months (June to August). Since 87% of the hits (periods within 10% of the load peak) occur during the summer months, the overall yearly capacity value is expected to be heavily weighted toward the summer. The overall yearly capacity value is approximately 20% for all wind penetration scenarios. In other words, 10,000 MW of installed nameplate wind capacity is equivalent to approximately 2,000 MW of firm generation capacity.


There you have it. 20%. Actually, it’s worse than that. You can pick up the hourly wind data for any period on line. I obtained 2 years worth of hourly data of actual output for each hour. The goal was to see the number of hours that wind was at each percent name plate. The result was an eye opener.





80% of the time wind produced less than 14% name plate. 50% of the time it produced less than 10% name plate. (The stepped nature of the curve is from rounding to integer percents)

So, if you do the math, for Ontario to get 15% of its power from wind would require the construction of 77,000 wind turbines. That’s one every 100 meters from Windsor to Ottawa, take more than 100 years to build, and at a cost of 3M each would be several times the cost of a nuke plant, which would produce base load 24/7.

This is now being realized in the EU, in spite of what you hear the media claim (links below).

It makes absolutely no sense at all to cut back on, say hydro power in favour of wind on windy days because that hydro power is also renewable at a much lower cost. Wind is only viable when we cannot supply the demand with everything else, which means wind turbines are pathetic contributors to the grid.

Solar power is another case of lies to get you to think they are viable. Solar panels also have name plate capacity, but that is only on sunny days at high noon. There is only a small window between 12 and 2 where panels produce near capacity. Dirty panels of course reduce that. As the sun moves, less of it lands on the panels and of course at night they produce nothing at all (well, see below). During the winter with our long nights that means very little time to generate any power. In winter we can go a week or more with no sun at all, so those panels will produce nothing on cloudy days. They occupy a huge area too, which on our farm land is unacceptable. A recent study claimed we can get all our power from solar, if we wanted to cover a million acres of land with nothing but panels (wonder how they came to that conclusion when the sun does not shine)

One wonders how panels will be cleaned after a snow fall. Electric heating to melt the snow will use more power than they produce (back to our ERoEI). In the summer rain will coat the panels with grime, which would have to be cleaned (again, reducing the ERoEI).

Just to put it into perspective, the 1000 hectare solar farm in Sarnia is claimed to supply power for 7000 homes. Sounds like a lot. But that is just 56 days of immigration into Canada. That is, the number of immigrants into Canada after 56 days will need more power than this farm can supply. That’s how small its contribution is.

Both wind and solar, both pathetic in their output, are highly subsidized by you the tax payer. We have all read about it, 14c/kWh for wind and some 80c/kWh for solar. We are told that when it becomes more main stream the price will come down. Right, like I was told 40 years ago that with nuclear power will be too cheap to meter. You cannot trust anything these people claim.

The current path the Ontario Liberals are going with power will kill business, throw people out of their homes, force more people into bankruptcy, force people to move out of the province, force businesses out (which is already started), and drive the debt of this province higher. It is utterly reckless.

Add to that recklessness is the signing of 20 year contracts for solar and wind generation.

And all for something that does not exist – global warming.

Now if you want to power your home with panels and turbines, please by all means do so if you want to. If companies want to feed into the grid with these, without subsidizing, go right ahead. Just do not ram it down our throats, rape our wallets, for a political ideology.

Here is a gem for you. In Spain they also subsidize people to erect solar panels and feed into the grid, paying them a high premium to do so. Seems these people with the panels have figured out that you can shine flood lamps on the panels all night and get paid to do so. Buy the power from the utility at 5.6c and get 80c back from that same utility for each kW.

Refs:

WIND ENERGY
THE CASE OF DENMARK

"The claim that Denmark derives about 20% of its electricity from wind overstates matters. Being highly intermittent, wind power has recently (2006) met as little as 5% of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption with an average over the last five years of 9.7%."


Germany's renewable myth
"Installed capacity is not the same as production or contribution, however, and by 2008 the estimated share of wind power in Germany’s electricity production was 6.3%, followed by biomass-based electricity generation (3.6%) and water power (3.1%). The amount of electricity produced through solar photovoltaics was a negligible 0.6% despite being the most subsidized renewable energy, with a net cost of about $12.4 billion for 2008."

Something Rotten

Wind power targets unrealistic, say critics

Wind Power Exposed: The Renewable Energy Source is Expensive, Unreliable and Won’t Save Natural Gas.

A Problem With Wind Power

Monday, May 10, 2010

THE IMPLICATIONS OF HIGH COST OF ENERGY

Modern civilization runs on one main, core, aspect. Lots of net energy available at a very cheap cost.

Net energy because it takes energy to get energy. To extract, process and transport oil, for example, it takes energy. If it takes one joule of energy to get one joule back, what's the point? This is true for all sources of energy, be it natural gas, nuclear and even hydro, to build and maintain these structures it takes energy, hence the source must produce more energy for it to be useful to society (we will see why that is important in the next part to this post)

In fact, it's not just more, but significantly more. For a source to produce just 10% net is not useful for society. In fact, the ratio is closer to 4:1. That is, the source must produce at least 4 times more energy than it consumes to be useful for society.

The term for this is called Energy Returned on Energy Invested (ERoEI).

It's simple enough to see. In our days of hunting and gathering, some 50,000 years ago, we spent most of the day looking for food for that day. Thus our ERoEI was very close to 1:1. This left little time to advance and invent. Thus our "society" evolved very slowly back then.

It was when we invented farming that things turned around big time. Farming allowed people to do less work for the same return of energy, that is their ERoEI ratio started to rise. This freed people up to spend the extra time to invent and improve the social order of the group. With excess food production it allowed others to specialize in new areas other than farming.

As the ratio of net energy increased, it allowed more people more time to implement improvements, thus fewer people were needed to farm, allowing others to take on new tasks. The Age of Oil dramatically increased the ratio to around 100:1, thus fossil fuels allowed us to radically improve the food supply. Not only do only 5% of the population farm for the rest, it allowed the population of humans to increase TWELVE TIMES since the late 1700's from 500 million to 6.7billion today.

Every aspect of this civilization is build, and requires, large net cheap energy.

A modern civilization requires that the cost of that net energy be cheap enough for everyone to afford. Not only is energy directly needed by people to power and heat their homes, but every item they buy has an energy cost in it.

Discretionary income, monies available to people to buy non-essential items, requires that energy not be a large component of the essential expenses. Increase the cost of energy, and people have less monies for the "frivolous" items, such as going out for dinner, hobbies, charitable activities, travelling to visit family, or even vacations. Those in the lower income brackets, who have little or no discretionary income will have to do with less of other necessities, like food, when energy prices increase.

With people spending less on food or "frivolous" items that means less of these items are purchased, that means less money for the companies and stores that provide those items, that means people laid off in those industries. Thus increasing energy costs to consumers means people lose their jobs, who then pay no taxes and must be supported by the government's IE benefits, which increases government expenses, which they either borrow or get from you in higher taxes, squeezing you even more.

Add to that when energy costs increase, industry pass those costs to the consumer. When retail outlets have higher energy costs they add even more onto the price of those items. This in turn puts more items out of reach, so fewer are sold, meaning layoffs.

To add salt to the wound, the Bank of Canada sees the increase in energy as core contributor of inflation, adding non-core item price increases due to the core energy price increase, and there is an over all increase in inflation. BoCs reaction is to increase interest rates in an attempt to throttle those increases.

Except it can't because energy increases are not curtailed by increases in interest rates because as people consume less energy to try and save on costs (where physcially possible), the energy providers ask for more increases to compensate for the loss!!

What a mess increasing energy costs precipitate. It's a vicious positive feedback cycle.

But there is more.

Those who wish for us to get off, completely, from fossil fuels want us to move more to electrical power, specifically for heating (ground source heat pumps), and electric vehicles. Though electric vehicles will put the biggest demand on power production, one can do the calculation and see that in order to replace the 15billion liters of gasoline Ontario consumes every year with electric vehicles would mean we would have to more than DOUBLE our nuclear capacity.
They want us to move to more electrical devices to curb fossil fuel use, but they want to charge more for that power. Quick way to kill the economy.

For people who are supposed to be highly educated in the executive of H1 and the Provincial Government, they sure are stupid about the ramifications of higher electrical costs to consumers.

HYDRO ONE TO ALL CUSTOMERS: BEND OVER AND TAKE IT

As of May 1, 2010, Hydro One changed the rates. From our friend that wishes to remain anonymous due to H1's predatory nature:

For customers not on time of use they decreased the number of kw hours you get to buy for your home per month before you pay their higher rate.

One year ago you could buy your first 1,000 kw of power at the then lower rate of 5.6 cents per kw hour (commodity cost only) and then for the balance of your consumption that month you paid 6.5 cents per kw.

As of May 1st, 2010 we pay 6.5 cents per kw hour on the first 600 kw and then we pay 7.5 cents per kw hour on the balance of our monthly bill. What this means of course, is that we start paying the highest price for hydro 400 kw hours earlier each month than we did a year ago. So the price of that 400 kw hours each month actually rose from 5.6 cents per kw hour to 7.5 cents per kw hour.


Time of use customers did not fare any better on May 1st. From the onset, our government has hailed time of use as the answer to Ontario's hydro woes. Consumers would have access to cheap power where they could save money at night and on the weekends while Ontario could reduce their peak use problems and eliminate their fossil fueled generators on schedule.

Once again the spin doctors at Hydro came up with a new plan to rape an unsuspecting public on May 1st with their revised pricing for time of use customers.

They increased the peak rate a tiny bit, left the mid peak alone, but they increased the commodity rate of the precious money saving off peak rate by almost a full penny per kw hour raising the price to 5.3 cents per kw hour.

Raising the off peak price for electricity hurts every consumer and creates a gray train of new income for Hydro One.

Hydro One carefully crafted this time of use system so the population would have to use more power during off peak or pay a huge price if they didn't.

Now, as citizens have scrambled to make due with less by staying up late at night to have dinner and do laundry, hydro has hit the off peak rate the hardest with their new increase.

This leaves me wondering if the politicians and the bean counters at Hydro One really believe the public is stupid enough not to see what they are doing. In reality, they have created increases far greater than the percentages approved by the Ontario Energy Board.

Do other people not get this? Do others not see what they have done?

By lowering the number of kw hours per month before the price jumps and hitting the off peak price the hardest for time of use customers, Hydro has worked their magic, backed by the government, to steal additional money from an already financially abused public.

I am outraged and so should every electricity consumer in the Province.


Here is what a bill will look like before and then after this change (my Dec 2009 bill):





Notice delivery rate increased, regulatory changes increased, and debt retirement increased. To top it off the Federal Government gets a 14.5% increase in the GST from you on this change. How nice for them.


Here is what the bill will look like with the HST:


How nice for McLiar.

How the Ontario Energy Board could approve a 14.6% increase in rates, in a recession with an inflation rate less than 2%, is, well, I was going to say beyond me, but I think we all know why.

Bonuses for H1 executives, and reduce the self-inflicted debt McLiar and crew have left us with, and counting.

Oh, and BTW, hidden in one of those charges is the cost of the smart meter. You pay for it, H1 owns it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

News Story Links

AP Exclusive: `Smart' Meters Have Security Holes
AP Exclusive: `Smart' meters plagued with serious security holes that threaten power grid
The Associated Press
Post a Comment By JORDAN ROBERTSON AP Technology Writer



Calif. Utility Giant Under Fire For 'Smart Meters'
ROBIN HINDERY, Associated Press Writer

POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010



Smart meters not-so-smart idea for residential users?
By: Nestor E Arellano On: 03 Oct 2006 For: IT World Canada
The Ontario government may be right on schedule with its goal to hook up 800,000 homes with so-called smart meters, but a local consumer advocacy group doubts if the device will be practical for residential users.









Thanks to Barb Baumbach for the links.

H1RipOff starts MSM

It's started. http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/connie_woodcock/2010/05/07/13872281.html#/comment/columnists/connie_woodcock/2010/05/07/pf-13872286.html

Thanks to Connie for the article (it also appeared in the London Free Press).

Now, let's see if the Liberal papers pick this up, anyone want to bet?

One commenter suggested picking a day to shut everything down in protest. Interesting concept... Will definitely keep this in mind once the swell gets bigger.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

THE PREDITORY NATURE OF HYDRO ONE

I was sent an interesting email by someone who wishes to not be made public because of the predatory nature of the people who work and run Hydro One. This is not his own words, but mine based on his email, but the information here in is, in his words, "God's truth".

This individual is very much in favour of everyone having their own ability to monitor their consumption to keep Hydro One honest, "I would no more be without an energy monitoring system in my home than I would be without electrical energy itself." he said. I fully agree and included that in the settlement demands.

But he notes that Hydro One does not want anyone to have that ability, for obvious reasons. Paul Marchant (CEO of Hydro One) we live in a DEMOCRACY. Do you understand that? We have the RIGHT to make sure you are honest. You have NO RIGHT from preventing anyone from monitoring their energy consumption.

Seems that Hydro One is now so powerful (what happens in a monopoly) that they dictate policy to government, not the other way around. That must change.

To get a feel for the arrogance and power drunkenness of Hydro One, we are recommended to watch: "Gospel of Green" that aired nationally on the CBC's 5th Estate: (I will post a separate reply to this video, there are out right lies in it (AGW) and a stark very real problem (peak oil)).

An example of the growing internal power of Hydro One is in the creation of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). http://www.esainspection.net/ The "authority" part fits the goal. Apparently, the are trying to require EVERY electrical device to be registered with them, even though such devices have already passed UL and CSA approvals, for a fee, not just once, but EVERY YEAR! You will pay for that in Ontario with higher prices on anything electrical. Thus, any device that is sellable in the rest of Canada, won't be available in Ontario if not approved, and paid to, ESA, and that includes electrical monitoring devices.

As this person stated: "The ESA does not have to do anything for this money, just collect it for nothing. It will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars to feed yet another immoral empire of Hydro. With the ESA, they have an endless amount of money to continue to expand their ruthless empire in the name of safety which is just mostly propaganda. They are a ruthless government onto themselves as they pass new laws, dream up new ways to collect money, and hire more retired police officers to engage in prosecutions. "

But there is more, appearantly on the Ontario Power Authority, a Hydro One empire company, web site they make the announcement that the series meter configuration they have allowed under the FIT Program is outside the law (inaccurate) and Measurement Canada have instructed the OPA to do something about it. This is a huge embarrassment for the OPA because they all but publicly admit they allowed the series meter connection for reasons of convenience for contractors and local distribution companies. (Eg; Hydro One) To hell with accuracy!!! This is proof that these guys have been caught with their pants down by Measurement Canada.

Clearly Hydro One, the government's Ontario Energy Board, are nothing more than empires who do look at customers, the people of Ontario, as nothing more than cannon fodder and a source of their own revenue. This must end.

Energy is for all the people. Electrical power is too important, it is vital for our civilization, to be left in the hands of power crazy dictators.

WHAT HYDRO ONE NEEDS TO DO

For Hydro One to stave off the coming class action suit, they would have to agree, in writing, and implement immediately the following. (The class action suit will include these items as the settlement, so they either do this voluntarily or be forced to by the courts)

  1. Go public that smart meter readings can be wrong, have been wrong, multiplying the actual consumption by more than 2 times. They will disclose the range of discrepancy.
  2. Put on hold the Time of Use billing slated to start soon until they fix the current problem with the meters.
  3. Figure out how many people have been screwed, over billed, making public the number of such people and how much is collectively owed back to them. Then compensate everyone with what they are owed, stating for every month how much was over billed. The payback must include transmission costs, provincial benefit (if applies) and debt retirement (all these are based on the actual consumption, thus those would have been over paid too). How they are going to compensate people who have lost their homes over these false measurements would have to be settled by civil action of each person affected.
  4. Hydro One puts into place a mechanism such that this never happens again. They change their policy towards customers from one of a predatory behaviour to one of servicing the public. They must set up an independent ombudsman, paid by Hydro One, for all complaints about consumption readings. From that point on any complaint about consumption that is anomalous to normal use will result in the meter immediately pulled and replaced with another that is certified to be correct. That certification being given by Measurements Canada.
  5. Provide devices for everyone who wants one so that the smart meter can send data to their personal computer in real time. The software would provide people with the ability to see their actual consumption, so that when a device is turned on they can see immediately what that does to their consumption. This is vital for people to manage their own consumption since Time of Use is coming. These devices MUST be made available prior to going to Time of Use and made available at a cost people can afford.
  6. The Government of Ontario re-regulates the industry.

The last issue I know will be contentious for some, long over due for others. I'm just as much for capitalism as anyone. I defend capitalism whenever it is unjustly attacked. But capitalism only works when there is competition. Electrical supply does not have competition. The government and the industry tries to claim there is competition, such as with the creation of retailers, but this is just smoke and mirrors, there is no real competition. There is only one set of transmission lines, hence only one way to get power to your home. That's a monopoly -- period. Hydro One, in it's predatory behaviour to its captive audience, proves that private industry running a monopoly is bad for the consumer, an ultimately bad for the Province. It's time to end that monopoly and put all aspects of power production, transmission and service back into the hands of the public sector with a huge caveat.

Provincial governments have also shown they are incompetent when it comes to providing power for the province. Thus, the province must set up a power utility committee of ordinary citizens, who serve no more than one year, open to anyone, except those noted, who wishes to serve, with no compensation. No one with any conflict of interest, that is people who work within any aspect of power production, get contracted with any aspect of power production, nor any politicians, can serve on the committee. That committee sets prices, salaries for all management of the utilities and the scope and goals of the direction our power production goes in the future.

If anyone has anything they wish to append to this list please pass it along.

Friday, May 7, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

To join the suit you need to do the following.

I will need your full names, addresses, email and phone numbers. NOTHING WILL BE MADE PUBLIC.

Create a spread sheet with months as rows and years are columns as such:



Go and get all your previous billings and enter the consumption on the bill into each cell for each end month and year for the bill. Enter the actual consumption, not the one they adjust for line loss. This will allow you to see how the consumption changed after the smart meter went in.

Second, I recommend taking daily readings to see what happens on a daily basis, you will be surprised at how much it fluctuates even though nothing changes in your use of devices.

Third, I will be preparing a database for everyone who wishes to add their data. This will allow me to check everyone and get a trend and specific readings. I will need that file in a text format in the following manner:

Year, Month, kWh.
2009, 12, 3400
2010, 01, 3200

Each item separated by a tab or comma. You can do this easily in notepad. If you don't know how to do this you can just send me the above spreadsheet and I can database from that. Email me the file.

This data is essential for the suit, it's the evidence.

I know some of you are really hurting. I can't promise anything to relieve your pain, except to keep the faith.

We are right, they are wrong, that's the end of the story.

EVERYONE WITH A PROBLEM CALL H1

I had a call from Hydro One today around 2:30pm about my account. The person I talked with was Donna Potter, public relations (yeah, right...)

It was a bit of a heated conversation.

She has my daily readings and admitted that once the smart meter went in my consumption jumped from 25kWh per day to over 40. My winter consumption jumped from 70kWh per day to over 100. When I asked how that can be she said I must have increased the temperature of the house!!

When I stated that the smart meter must be wrong, she denied it stating they never are. I made sure she stated that clearly, and asked again if the smart meters could be wrong. I emphasize, she denied the smart meters could be wrong.

I confronted her about the large numbers people complaining. She stated that of the 500 calls they get about consumption, one would be that a smart meter was wrong!!! When I told her to multiply that to all of Ontario, how many that would be, she said it was a 'rough estimate'.

At the end she asked me what I wanted. I told her that Hydro one is to go public and admit the meters can give false readings and compensate everyone who has been screwed. She refused to do that. Call ended.

Clearly they are going to dig their heals in, not unexpected. So will I.

I am going to post what I expect Hydro One to do to stave off the suit.

I urge everyone with a high consumption to call her at 1-800-419-5208, ex 3344. Tell Donna I sent you.