Hydro in Ontario is broken. Help fix the system.

A Broken Billing System

An Administrative Nightmare

One problem that many Hydro One customers face are extremely high or unusual bills caused by faulty meters and not excessive usage of air conditioners. One of the supposed advantages of smart meters were that they didn't require someone from Hydro One to read the meter each month. Unfortunately that new technology hasn't worked as it was billed. And that’s meant some pretty bad bills.

According to Hydro One, about 5% of meters don't work at any one time. Instead of providing actual usage to Hydro One, Hydro One estimates usage. Unfortunately, their estimates are often faulty and can last for a year or more. This sometimes leaves ratepayers with $1000s in "catch up bills".

Worse yet is the fact that Hydro One deals with these bad billings very poorly. Take for example the Beaver Valley Ski Club. They were charged an unusual summer time bill of $37,000. When they asked for it to be corrected, Hydro One changed it to a $37,000,000 bill. Not everyone gets hit with a bill like that but many people with hydro billing issues have just as much difficulty getting them corrected.

The Four Broken Pillars of the Billing System


Large Consumption Increases

Consumers are being gouged with estimated consumption increases that simply aren't accurate.

A consumer from Smiths Falls, Ontario received a 'corrected' bill stating an average daily usage of 35 kWh. Eight months later receives an actual bill based off of estimations charging 92 kWh per day, despite no actual increase in consumption.


Multiple Billings & Cancellations

Consumers are also facing the reality of billing errors resulting in multiple billings and cancelled billings.

A consumer from Perth, Ontario, received SIX bills on the same day. Each bill stated it was correcting the account back varying over a 8 month span. The usage was also claimed to have doubled based on an estimation.


Extended Billing Absences

There are countless examples of Hydro One simply not sending a bill for months.

While this may sound ideal given the cost of hydro, many consumers are simply not receiving bills for months on end. The result is uncertainty of usage, cost and the stark reality that the bill will eventually arrive, but for an unknown cost.


Massive Catch-Up Billing

The dreaded catch-up bill might easily be the worst part of Hydro One's broken billing practices.

Whether its because a bill hasn't been sent for months or the adjustment of past billing, catch-up bills are a huge part of this flawed system. Take for example an ODSP recipient in Napanee who received a catch-up bill worth almost $5000 for a 753 day adjustment, despite the bill was only based on an estimation.

Ontario Ombudsman
to Investigate
Hydro One!

"Sometimes it's like wrestling with a slippery pig. That’s why my heart goes out to those average citizens who try to take on the Goliath that is Hydro One."

Help the Ombudsman investigate the system

Soaring Hydro Rates

A Political-Made Mess

Ontario’s Green Energy Act is also a large reason for the month over month increase in hydro bills that many people face. Running wind turbines, solar farms and other sources of so-called “green energy” are incredibly economically inefficient. Those sources of power are significantly more expensive to run than hydro electricity, gas or nuclear energy. To make up the difference in cost, you have to pay more in electricity costs to bridge the difference.

But that’s not the only burden you bear from the Green Energy Act. As a Hydro One ratepayer, you are actually subsidizing the electricity bills of your friends in Quebec, New York and Manitoba to the tune of almost $2 billion a year. Under the Green Energy Act, the province has signed hundreds of contracts with different “green” energy producers requiring the province to purchase electricity from those producers at a cost way above the market. When Ontario isn’t using that much power, we’re forced to dump that electricity on the market at extremely cheap rates and way below the cost of production. It’s great for our friends across the border from our province, but it hurts the pocket books of Ontario rate payers.

Another reason for the increasing cost of hydro was the cancellation of the Oakville and Mississaugua power plants. When the government cancelled those projects they footed rate payers with a over $1 billion bill. That’s only another factor in your increasing hydro bills.

Hydro Bill Breakdown - Making sense of what you pay and why you pay it every month

  • Electricity ( 41.7% )

    Electricity is what you thought you were paying for on your hydro bill and it is. Well, 41.7% of it at least. But even these costs are higher than they were. Our province has chosen to invest in high cost generation methods like wind and solar which are significantly more expensive than other methods of generation.

  • Delivery Charges ( 40.5% )

    Delivery is the cost of actually getting the electricity to your house. All those overhead and underground electricity lines are maintained and paid for by nearly 40% of your hydro bill. Other costs in here are the costs of Ontario’s nearly $2 billion’s of subsidized electricity to our neighbouring provinces and states.

  • Harmonized Sales Tax - HST ( 11.5% )

    Before former Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced the HST in 2009, Ontario rate-payers only paid 5% GST. In the single action of introducing HST, the Liberal Government increased hydro rates by 8% for all Ontario rate-payers.

  • Debt Retirement Charge ( 3.3% )

    After many of Ontario’s hydro companies were amalgamated in 1998, Ontario’s new hydro companies were left with the assets of the old Ontario Hydro. And the debt. Even though more than the original debt as been paid off, Ontario rate-payers are still paying the cost.

  • Regulatory Charges ( 3% )

    These are other statutorily imposed charges on your hydro bill.

Affordable Hydro Now

A Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario – HYDRO ONE NETWORKS

To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

Whereasthe cost of electricity in Ontario continues to escalate;

And Whereas, other charges associated with electricity, such as delivery, regulatory, global adjustment and debt retirement charges make electricity increasingly unaffordable;

And Whereas, these costs have imposed a significant hardship on ratepayers and driven industry and jobs out of Ontario;

We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

That the Premier and the Minister of Energy reduce the waste and duplication in Ontario’s electricity sector and other necessary steps to lower the cost of electricity so that Ontario’s electricity prices are competitive with other jurisdictions.

GOAL: 12,500 signatures

Will you sign?

Take Action

Tell those responsible you are fed up with Hydro. We need to make sure they hear the message loud and clear. E-mail all of them and share your thoughts with them on twitter

Kathleen Wynne
Kathleen Wynne

As Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne has final say in the Government’s decisions. Ultimately, she has the power to reverse government initiatives that have increased the cost of electricity like the Green Energy Act.

Bob Chiarelli
Bob Chiarelli
Minister of Energy

Minister Chiarelli is responsible for carrying out the Government’s different energy plans. His ministry oversees Ontario’s electricity system, energy plan, Hydro One and the Ontario Energy Board.

Ontario Energy Board
Ontario Energy Board
The Rate Setters

The Ontario Energy Board is Ontario’s electricity regulator. It makes the rules for electricity companies like Hydro One and it sets the prices for consumers under the Regulated Price Plan and the Time-of-Use Plan.

Hydro One
Hydro One
The Billers

Hydro One is the crux of the problem. It might be the one delivering the electricity, but it’s also the one delivering the often excessive, unrealistic or just plain wrong bills.