THE GREAT ONTARIO UTILITY SCAM

I live in Clarington, Ontario. It is yet one more suburb in a province of suburbs, and a funny thing is happening. It used to be that when you bought a new home, you paid a little more in taxes. After all, there were fewer people paying for all of the services that are needed. As a community grows, the burden on each individual taxpayer should be leveled out, as there are more people paying for the same services, such as road clearing, paving, etc.

As each year goes by though, my tax bill climbs, and it is always at a faster rate than my paycheque. I figure by the time my kids are ready to own a home, it just won’t be feasible. It will get to the point that we will just be given shelter and food, and the rest will be the governments.

The other variable in living in a home, and more frequently than not, in an apartment also, are the utility charges. I am somewhat shocked at how much we are being taken for a ride in Ontario, at least in my neck of the woods. I would love to hear from my readers from other parts of the country as to what their utility bills look like.

I had a reader from Alberta write me the other day to say that he was upset at the rising cost of utilities in Calgary. He was kind enough to show me some of his bills, and I would like to compare them. As someone else’s bills are a privacy issue, I will simply average out the three bills and use the data to make my point.

The gentleman is lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction that puts all of his utilities on the same bill, those being natural gas, hydro-electric, and water. In Ontario, we get a separate bill for each, as there is a different bureaucracy for each, and a chance to pick the pocket of Ontarian’s yet again, and once again, they all do it.

We have heard of the rising cost of energy. To be frank, the cost of energy is a pittance next to the charges, surcharges, other charges, and the charges charges. If you think I am joking, let’s look at the difference between Calgary, Alberta, and Courtice, Ontario.

For an average month, the Alberta bill for electricity was $22.24 including our lovely G.S.T. The water portion was broken into two parts; Consumption was 35.35 on average, and storm sewer charges were 26.68.

Let’s look at Ontario, where everything costs just a wee bit more. Right.

My bills are a little different, as some are 3 month periods. I will take my latest bill and simply divide it by three. Also, I should note that I have a “small” town home, at under 1200 sq. ft, and I do not water my lawn, wash my own car, nor do I have a pool. I replace my plumbing hardware regularly to prevent seepage and subtle silent leaks. Here we go.

For the last month, my water bill ran me $27.92 for consumption, and 44.32 for storm sewer usage. While this looks not too bad compared to Alberta, I must warn you, I am not done with the water bill. It seems that I have a sewer service charge as well. That runs at 3.04 for the month as well as a water service charge, which tacks on another 8.18.

So, for water, the total bill in Ontario runs at $83.46. Alberta comes in at 62.03. My bill is 35% higher, which is a difference of $257.16 a year more/per really tiny home.

Hydro was a lot more fun. My bill was a wee bit higher than our western neighbours was. My electricity bill was $66.60 with G.S.T. or 3 times the Alberta bill. It doesn’t stop there, though. There were more charges. Ah, yes. There was the $41.20 delivery charge??? I have never seen an electrical truck pull into my driveway to drop off the next month’s wattage. There is the $7.15 in regulatory charges, and of course the $7.14 in debt retirement charges. The grand total? $122.09 or a whopping 449% more!

Having figured that out, I will be calling my MPP tomorrow to scream. I will not let go of the phone until I know who approved these charges, and who is now unelectable.

I didn’t go into the natural gas bill, because right now, I am fuming. Let’s do it though, as I have no physical means of doing what I feel like.

My gas bill. I keep having people knock on my door asking me if I have ‘locked in’ my gas price. I laugh and tell them to come back when I can ‘lock in’ the extra charges that are killing me.

Total lgas used for the month was $42.61. That was the easy part. It appears that not only is Enbridge happy I’m a customer, they charge me a monthly membership fee. Yep, customer charge, $11.25, delivery charge $12.53. I am going to put curbstones at the end of my driveway so I can hear the natural gas delivery truck next month. Gas supply charge?? $18.83. The total is now $85.22. The other charges are equal to the gas I actually used. In other words, Enbridge has found a way to double my bill. Fantastic.

I am sure that I will hear from a representative (lawyer maybe?) of Enbridge soon telling me why I should remove this story. Bah. What fun would that be? Either that, or someone may call and explain all of this scamming. I am hoping that they don’t, because the last thing I need is an explanation charge on my next bill.