Canada: Hydro customer charged more than $600 despite turning off heat, showering at the gym

This is the new line from the utility company: the prior tenant had the same bill. The reporter doesn’t recount the typical high bill problems with Smart Meters. It’s been a month. Where is the follow-up story?

What about the seniors and low income residents that are unable to afford these bills? Who is contesting these bills? The ‘journalist’ treats this story as if it’s amusing.This is a life-threatening situation for many people, and Hydro is lying. Are political leaders silent? 

Also, see comments after the article.

By

April 28, 2016

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WATCH ABOVE: Ruth D’Souza went to great lengths to conserve energy but her bill was still shockingly high. Toronto Hydro says the amount is consistent with past tenants of her two-bedroom apartment and says there are ways to ensure ratepayers are saving as much as possible. Peter Kim Reports.

Ruth D’Souza went to great lengths to reduce her hydro bill but was shocked when it rang in at more than six hundred dollars for two months.

For months D’Souza has been meticulous about her energy consumption. “We have blankets and shawls everywhere [to stay warm],” she said. “We don’t leave things plugged in for the most part.”

She even showered at the gym to conserve hot water, which is heated by electricity in her two-bedroom apartment. Despite her best efforts, the bill rang in at $647 dollars for two months.

“It’s just frustrating because we’re not seeing the fruits of all our hard work, so I don’t know what to do,” she explained.

At one point D’Souza thought she may be footing the bill for her entire building, which includes a business below. But Toronto Hydro says that’s likely not the case, as her bill is consistent with past tenants of her Danforth apartment.

The culprit could be her baseboard heaters, which are known for high energy consumption.

Even when tenants believe they’re turning them off, they still occasionally suck energy from the grid explained Tori Gass, spokesperson for Toronto Hydro.

“You may think that it’s turned off by the switch on the baseboard but it isn’t,” she said. “The best way to do that is by turning it off at the thermostat.”

Water tanks heated by electricity also consume a lot of energy because they maintain the temperature throughout the day regardless of usage.

Not taking a shower at home wouldn’t have the energy-saving benefits one would expect, because the water requires energy to remain hot.

“There are some things you can do like insulate your hot water tank,” said Gass. “You can also check to see what temperature it’s at. Maybe you don’t need it as hot.”

But D’Souza may be paying more than her fair share because of a flat rate she’s being charged.

Toronto Hydro used to charge a set amount for hot water usage but has since asked landlords to switch over and connect their tanks to their electricity metres.

“Once that switch is made, someone has to inform Toronto Hydro,” explained Gass.

“If not, tenants may be paying twice for their hot water usage.”

There are proactive steps renters can take before signing their name on the dotted line.

“If you’re going to be paying for hydro and electricity you can ask for a couple of sample bills beforehand,” said Geordie Dent, Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations.

“That way you’ll know if they will be cost prohibitive.”

Renters can monitor their electricity usage in real time by registering on the My TorontoHydro online portal.

Ratepayers can also request a home visit from hydro staff to get a more detailed breakdown of where they’re consuming.

D’Souza will be getting a visit in the beginning of May and hopes to find answers to her high energy bills.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Linda Walsh

Here’s how you know Toronto Hydro is full of crap. This quote: “But Toronto Hydro says that’s likely not the case, as her bill is consistent with past tenants of her Danforth apartment.”. The woman is barely using her heat and is showering at the gym – so why the hell would her bill be “consistent with past tenants”?? Is Toronto Hydro saying that everyone who has ever lived in that apt. didn’t use the heat and showered at the gym? Obviously past tenants would NOT have taken the exact same energy saving steps, especially considering that hydro USED TO BE affordable. Nor does Toronto Hydro know how many people lived in the unit. The fact that the bills are the same is highly suspicious.

Michael Cummings · 

I can run a four bedroom house on a little more than a 5th of her price. Something is wrong on her bill.

Linda-George Nichol

How are folks suppose to live? We are seniors and its tougher yearly to try and cover basic costs. It has gotten to the point we can not afford to live in Ontario.

Mike Allen

ya hydro, keep acting like your not ripping people off, it’s the same here in BC

Nicolas Brown

That is shocking! I live in a similar-sized unit and the highest I’ve ever paid for electricity is $240 in a month – and that was from using my electric oven extensively because I was on a cookie-baking spree.

I can’t imagine having an electric that consistently high for everyday activities. I average $60 a month, and most of that are the transmission fees, not the actual electric usage.

Joel Rigby · 

SAIT Southern Albert Institute of Technology (Calgary AB Canada)

You do realize that her bill is for two months… so around 20% higher than yours. 240×2 = 480 vs 600. If your house is insulated better, if your hotwater tank is more efficient, if you use a more efficient computer, etc.. that 100$ is quickly saved

Joel Rigby · 

SAIT Southern Albert Institute of Technology (Calgary AB Canada)

wait , what 60$ a month? (10x less???) Oo we pay more than that in tranmission charges and services fees before the power is calculated. what are you charges and price per kilowatt hour and where do you live?

Nicolas Brown

That $240 was when I was doing about 6 hours of baking a day for a couple of weekens. A significant uptick in electricity usage.

As I mentioned in my first comment, my average bill is $60 per month, so $120 vs $600 is a significant difference.

James James

how do expect the CEO to collect that $ 4 million paycheque if he can’t steal and rape and pillage it out of users..?.. Cmon.. ..crooks.. all of them…

Elifio Desouza · 

YES THESE GUYS ARE EXPLOITING US WHOLESALE !!!!!

Diana Delgado · 

I am in the same position as she is, a small one bedroom apartment in Toronto. I work 40 hours a week, go on vacation and am out of the weekends, last bill 320 dollars. Inflation of 20 percent in six years………mmmmmmmm food or hydro?

Elifio Desouza · 

what a disgrace for Toronto Hydro for expliotation of the poor innocent customer – i wish somebody could be punished for such criminal like exploitation offence !!!!!

Trish Lamond · 

I live in a three bedroom apt. I have two bedrooms with the heat off and I still got two $360 bills. Hydro One told me that the last tenant paid the exact same amount. Bs cause I know her and she paid $170 a month. I even turned the heat off at the breaker and still got a huge bill! I think I’m being ripped off too

Hydro customer charged more than $600 despite turning off heat, showering at the gym

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