A 360 degree panoramic of our campsite at Balsam Lake Provincial Park last May 2010.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.

The Electric Company Sucks

And in Canada, we call our electricity: Hydro.

This device measures the electricity used by any applicance you plug into it...

Last July, I moved roughly 150kms from the dentally-challenged Sutton West, Ontario to "the birthplace of boredom" - Peterborough, Ontario. I used to get a Hydro (electric) bill once every two months in Sutton, and because everything in the Sutton house was natural gas, the Hydro bill rarely varied. So every two months, I would get a bill for roughly 60 days of "service"; I would use an average of 25 kilowatt/hours (kWh) of hydro per day at 5.5 cents per kWh, I'd pay $55 for delivery (even though I never did see the delivery guy,) $10 in "regulatory" charges, $9.75 for the $%#@! "debt-retirement" charges (which I really should charge back to my parents since the "debt" was created during their generation) and another $10 of GST for Prime Minister Steven Harper - making the total bill about $160 to $180 every two months, or looked at another way - I paid about $85 per month to the over-paid, blood-sucking leeches at Hydro One for electricity.

Now, I knew that with moving to Peterborough, the Hydro bill was going to go up. Peterborough is a bigger house than Sutton was. Where Sutton had three window air conditioners, Peterborough has central air. Where Sutton had gas stove and gas dryer, Peterborough has an electric stove and electric dryer. And where Sutton had this little hot-water-gas furnace, Peterborough has a bigger (abeit 15-years newer) FAG furnace. But that's about it. And compared to the wooden Sutton house, the all-brick Peterborough house is practically hermetically-sealed and super-insulated. So in the first month we lived here, I vainly hoped for just a 10% increase in my Hydro bill but deep-down I knew that wasn't practical and so I gritted my teeth and prepared for an up to 30% increase instead.    ...read more...

Finally, I got my first bill - for two months. It was more than $300. A roughly 100% increase.

So I called Hydro One to ask them why. I was crying pretty hard so I didn't hear everything, but through it all I was able to ask three questions:

  1. Why is the new billing period every month instead of every two months?
  2. Why was the delivery charge per month in Peterborough the same amount as for two months in Sutton?
  3. How could my Hydro usage have gone up so much? And why was the price per kWh so much higher than in Sutton?

To answer, the nice man at Hydro One laughed at me for a while, then told me that in Peterborough they've been on the Hydro One teat for some time, while Sutton joined the Hydro One fold much more recently (with the sale of Georgina Hydro to Hydro One - which I remember), and so there are some differences between the two locations:

  1. As a courtesy to the ex-Georgina Hydro customers, Hydro One decided to continue with the every-two-months billing previously established for those customers. Not so in Peterborough.
  2. As a courtesy to the ex-Georgina Hydro customers, Hydro One decided to continue with a subsidized delivery charge rate previously established for those customers. Not so in Peterborough.
  3. To answer the third question, the man at Hydro told me that since I am now on a well (the old house was on municipal water,) apparently the well pump eats hydro like a frog eats fudge.

So I bought a kill a watt and attached it to every single thing I could attach it to. I tried it on my computer, monitor, flat-bed scanner, dehumidifer, washing machine, fridge, and deep freezer. But because they 210 volt appliances, I did not use it on my furnace, water pump, sump pump, or dryer. In the end, I spent a goodly amount of time collating the data and crunching the numbers and came up with two possibilities:

  • That orange extension cord running from my property to my neighbour's property might have something to do with it.
  • The Electric Company Sucks
The Electric Company Sucks

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Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.