Hydro Ottawa Outrage:
One Woman's Story or
Why I am Pricing Windmills
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2003-6
I try to not be political because I think most politicians lie out of both sides of their mouths simultaneously and do not care about their constituents or their constituency. With 1.3 million children in Canada regularly going to bed without enough to eat and Food Banks our current growth industry, I don't think I am far off the mark. They may start out with good intentions but the money, greed and power soon take over. I have always said that the Devil does his best work through churches, government and courthouses. He has now moved, with the help of the Ontario Conservatives, into health, education and electricity.
Here is the story of my Hydro bill. We live in a very small house - 1,000 sq.ft - it is no palace by todays standards and we have always struggled with money. Home ownership will never be an option for us. We have the usual appliances: stove, fridge, washer, dryer, a computer, TV's, VCR's and a microwave - these are newer appliances and energy efficient. We ran a small air conditioner this summer and we have an 18ft above ground pool. We have one bathroom and I have a clothesline. We have a electric furnace and we burn wood all winter in a wood stove. You would think the wood stove would help with the heating costs but Hydro seems to be impervious to any of our efforts. We have also, over the course of the past 2 1/2 years, taken in 11 children who had been abandoned due to parental indifference or incapacitation and helped them turn their lives around. We did this out of the kindness of our hearts and with money from our own pockets. Only two parents have ever thanked us for this.
When we moved into this house in 1988 the equal payment to Nepean Hydro on our home was $53.00 a month - the good old days. I left the equal pay plan - which was now up to $218 per month - last September (2002) when it changed to Ottawa Hydro and they generally made a mess of my bank account by not taking payments when they should and doubling up on them when they shouldn't. I don't have enough money for anyone to have that type of freedom on my bank account and it certainly didn't instill any sense of confidence that Hydro knew what they were doing. My worst fears and doubts about Hydro have now been confirmed.
Today a person from Hydro showed up at my door to tell me that they were cutting off our Hydro in 7 days if we didn't make arrangements to pay. I have been making regular payments on our bill which is, by anyone's standards and in spite of the the "cap" they have placed on Hydro rates, a staggering amount to have to pay for Hydro and a staggering bill to have to contend with on top of groceries, gas, rent, prescriptions, dental, educational costs, telephone and insurance. We were also the victims of mandatory E-testing this year which strained our household to the tune of $5,000.00. The following are copies of my last six Hydro bills for usage from July 31, 2002 until July 28, 2003. They do not reflect an additional $350.00 in payments which I just made. The statement date on the May 28-July 28 billing is September 7, 2003. My last payment was made on September 16.
( Hydro Ottawa July 31-Sept 30, 2002 )
( Hydro Ottawa Sept 30-Nov 27 2002 )
( Hydro Ottawa Nov 27/02 - Jan 27/03 )
( Hydro Ottawa Jan 27-Mar 28, 2003 )
( Hydro Ottwa Mar 28-May 28, 2003 )
( Hydro Ottawa May 28 - July 28, 2003 )
Apparently, Hydro and the Government of Ontario have been misleading people for years. Our parents would never have embraced Hydro as service at all if they ever had to pay the real costs so the power was pushed out at a low rate and the difference was absorbed by Hydro and the Government of Ontario. I guess this is where the Debt Retirement Charge, which so ably increases my indebtedness to Hydro, comes from. Now they have us hooked on it (did we learn nothing from the Ice Storm) and the political errors and lies of the past and of the present have converged to bite us all on the ass. Hey but that's okay say the politicians, let's just privatize Hydro and hammer the consumers with bizarre, but very creative, charges to their bills.
There are 10 items listed on every one of my Hydro bills. The Previous Balance, Payments, Electricity Charge, Interest Charge, Transmission Charge, Wholesale Market Charge, the aforementioned Debt Retirement Charge, Hydro Ottawa Fixed Charge, Hydro Ottawa Delivery Charge and the GST. Mindboggling isn't it.
According to my bills, Hydro has billed me the following amounts between July 10, 2003 until September 7, 2003: $1,634.68 for Electricity Charges; $207.53 for GST; $416.27 for Hydro Ottawa Delivery Charges; $83.21 for Hydro Ottawa Fixed Charges; $310.51 for Debt Retirement; $210.46 for Wholesale Marketing Charges; $363.20 for Transmission Charges; $75.00 for a Rebate Payment Bill 210 and $142.17 in Interest. If you add these together and leave out the Electricity Charges, it is $1,808.36 - an amount that exceeds the actual cost of the Hydro usage by $173.68. Doesn't that seem like an awful lot of money to pay for the transmission of hydro to my house when I have an anchor pole with a transformer not 50 feet from my back door? There have been $2,325.90 in Payments and other credits (Rebate Offset Bill 210 $75.00; Final Rebate Bill 210 $158.30 and a GST Credit Bill 210 $16.33) made in the same time period. My total bills add up to $3,443.34 for one full year.
I am outraged and every citizen of Ontario who is paying Hydro should be outraged too. Vote Green or Vote NDP or Vote Liberal but DON'T VOTE CONSERVATIVE - they just love the rich and won't be happy until there are only two classes left - the haves and the have nots. They are eliminating the middle class and the middle class better wake up and scream about it. This is a perfect example of manufacturing consent- they think we are cattle.
The real outrage is that John Baird, who represents my riding in the legislature, is also the Energy Minister - may he hang his head in shame. I doubt he will feel shame for this because he represented the most extreme example of horrible prejudice when he dumped a box of syringes on a table when he was Minister of Community and Social Services and said he was cleaning up the welfare roles. It would make you think he is devoid of compassion and detached from the realities of everyday people and working families like us. I guess that is the new definition of Conservative - cold, cruel and contemptuous or maybe it is just complete indifference- just like Ernie Eves in the debate last night.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested and all press and political parties have my permission to run this - just send me a copy. Now I must go, I have to price some windmills.
UPDATE: And the saga continues. After complaining about this to everyone you could possible imagine and finding out that Hydro Ottawa is accountable to no one at all ever, on January 24, 2006 a bad neutral connection from this same anchor pole started a fire in my son's TV and proceeded to damage the computer, the other big TV, DVD player, phones, faxes, stereo speakers etc etc. I will be writing a proper article soon. They are coming to disconnect me again tomorrow after nearly killing us all on the 24th. I guess I have been paying for power surges from that pole for over three years now, and it will never end. Please visit Hydro Ottawa Assholes for the latest information. I will likely be offline for a while.
THOUSANDS IN ARREARS ON HYDRO OTTAWA BILLS (March 27, 2003)
Hydro Ottawa can legally shut off power to about 40,000 families, as of next Tuesday. That's how many customers are in
arrears on their hydro bills.
(I was disconnected on April 5 and called the police - it cost me $1,934.71 to get my power back on - it was off for 12 days and the bill went up over $500 from what I was told I had to pay on the 5th. The last bill I had said I owed $838 and I had made 7 payments from Feb 18 - April 5 of almost $500. I thought I owed about $300, when the police were here, Hydro said I owed $1,405. The police were shocked at my bills. The Hydro guy ran away before the police got here - cowards. Again, all my requests for explanations and an inspection were ignored. This was when I found out that Hydro Ottawa tells a lot of lies. When my power was reconnected, the Hydro Ottawa guys told me they were disconnecting 2000 people a week. They didn't like their jobs very much anymore.)
http://ottawa.cbc.ca/template/servlet/View?filename=hydro_ott20030327 (link no longer active)