Tag Archives: Smart Meters

Only Child says why I won’t vote Liberal June 12 –it’s the laundry

Only Child contemplating voting June 12 .

Only Child contemplating voting June 12 .

We have an election coming up this Thursday in Ontario, Canada, and I’m not voting Liberal, the incumbent party for too many years where Dalton McGinty (McGuilty as my friend Kathy calls him and she’s right) screwed up in so many ways, in so many issues.

True he had to resign (where were the rotten tomatoes when he did so?). And I have respect for Kathleen Wynne, who took over from Mr. McGuilty. However, it was too late when she got in. She is not perfect and I don’t agree with everything she says and does, especially the fiasco of handing out food vouchers for those who had food spoliage from the ice storm that hit south western, southern and eastern Ontario in late December 2013. Pickup places were set up first in Toronto and then south western Ontario but it turned into a near riot. Not enough vouchers – twice when it was held in one place, for example. I didn’t bother going as I didn’t really lose much and others needed the payback more.

It could have been handled differently. Those Toronto people on Ontario Works received a cheque or direct deposit to their bank accounts for the $50 allowed. Excluding the small amount, why couldn’t this method have been done for others? The province of Ontario has our bank account info for direct deposit from our CRA tax returns for provincial sales and other tax credits.

And it’s not the big big expense over the cancelled gas plant and its repercussions that is the reason I won’t vote Liberal.

It’s my laundry and my high continually rising Hydro costs.

I can’t do my laundry when I want to because of Mr. McGuilty’s stupid hydro rates set-up. Peak time, Mid-Peak time and Off-peak time. The latter, with the lowest usage rates is 24 hours on weekends and statutory holidays, and weekdays from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This means in spring and summer if I want to hang out my laundry during a weekday I have to put it in the washer and do the wash cycles after 7 p.m. in the evening to hang it out the next morning.  I don’t get up until 7.30 a.m. and with the little sleep I have time for I am not getting up at 6.30 a.m. or earlier to do a laundry. So I’m confined to weekends (can get tricky when there is a boarder also doing laundry) or have to do the washing cycles before I go to bed and leave the wet clothes sitting in the washer or laundry basket(s) until I’m up and can get them out.

The second one ties in with the first – the extraordinary and unnecessary rise in hydro cost for the consumer in Ontario the last 10 months – three increases – much of which is to pay back a hydro debt for mess-ups by Hydro One and Mr. McGuilty and the rising cost for delivery of the actual power to our homes. Besides creating the peak/non-peak rates, Mr. McGuilty also brought in these smart metres to record our exact usage of hydro. Pay-as-you-go would be fine except for where the money is going. In Toronto, water and waste bills increased a lot – but the City is using that money to improve and restructure old sewer and water systems. Hydro One messed up with some customers bills. I didn’t get hit – yet, but then I’m under Toronto Hydro. But some customers in Ontario received inflated incorrect bills in the thousands.

Smart meters? Right!

I also won’t vote Conservative because Mr. Tim Hudak will take us back beyond the dark ages of the 1990s. Remember the Mike Harris era? Hudak has been compared to Harris and Hudak comes out much worse. Hudak would eliminate 100,000 jobs (service cuts for Ontario employees – government and government related – teachers and health professionals). I’m not a big fan of unions, mainly because of the strike provision and believe many more services should be made necessary with no strikes allowed. But eliminating jobs to save money and here’s the stupid part – create more jobs? I’ll admit I don’t know all the ins and outs and ramifications. Apparently Mr. Hudak doesn’t either as critics have said the math in his equation doesn’t make sense, doesn’t balance.

I wonder who did the math for Mr. Hudak.

So, I will be voting New Democrat. And before those that remember yell “Rae Days” (after the first Ontario New Democratic premier Bob Rae), hold on a minute. Rae created these days of unpaid holidays to be taken one-day at a time because the province was in debt. Andrea Horvath, the current ND head, isn’t Mr. Rae. She’s not perfect, but I’m willing to give her a chance.
Unfortunately, I can’t vote for her directly. Unlike voting in the municipal elections where I can vote for who I want as my area’s councillor, I can also vote for who I want as mayor – this can’t be done for provincial (or Federal) in Canada. The New Democrat person in my riding, Michel Prue, is fine by me. He has been elected for the past few elections and he (and his administrator) helped me with my problem obtaining a photo ID card which I blogged about a few months ago.

So, that’s the way it stands with me. I don’t need complicated. Just the main issues that affect us the most.

As for the laundry issue, my mother might turn in her grave. She could do the laundry whenever she wanted and hang it out. She did the latter sometimes in winter and brought in frozen, but dry clothes.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Ice storm Toronto, Water Rates

Only Child condemns high utility bills

Only Child  digging in her purse for non-existent money to pay soaring utility bills

Only Child digging in her purse for non-existent money to pay soaring utility bills

Like many other individuals I am going broke just keeping up with paying all the high utility bills. And only one utility service has a legitimate reason to raise the rates. Two of the others are penalizing the consumers for their (the company, not the consumer) mistakes. A few, like the phone company, cable TV service and property taxes are just normal rates tied into inflation. This latter I may grumble about but it is acceptable.

So, who are the two companies “stealing” from the consumers – why Enbridge Gas (and other gas companies) and all the municipal hydro companies as well as Big Daddy in Ontario – Hydro One.

Enbridge apparently can’t learn from past mistakes. For winter 2012 into 2013, gas consumption for heating homes rose. Enbridge didn’t factor this possibility into their equal monthly billing. Most of us got hit with an extremely high bill to pay off the difference at the end of the company’s fiscal year. That’s what I found out when I called to complain. Apparently they no longer raise the equal billing rates mid-winter season if necessary. Guess they received too many complaints about that set-up, but my guess is that not as many complaints as the number who complained of the year-end monstrous bills. Consumer advocate here (me) pushed for a deal and got the okay to pay half one month and half the next month.

So, the equal billing amounts were raised only a smidgeon for this 2013-2014 inter and we consumers thought we were getting a good deal – at least compared to what the hydro company was doing. Hah? Now the gas companies, including Enbridge, are raising the rates starting with April’s bill. Enbridge’s rate increase is 40 per cent while Union Gas (southern Ontario) is 28 per cent. Enbridge claims that it had to buy “more spot market gas” and that costs more. See http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/03/27/enbridge_gets_hefty_interim_rate_increase.html

My first question is the obvious one: why didn’t these companies factor in that we might just get another bad winter, if not worse and just maybe they might have to purchase more gas elsewhere? Hello consumer company big whigs – severe weather is now the norm – everywhere and every season. Tunnel vision doesn’t work.
The second question is – why should we consumers have to pay for their costly mistake – or at least to the tunes of 40 per cent and 28 percent, which the Ontario Energy Board okayed? This same energy board is investigating ways to make it not so bad for consumers to pay. Why couldn’t they hold off payment until they found a way? Talk about doing something ass over backwards. So, as usual, consumers are stuck. Those who have gas stoves and gas fireplaces will get hit even harder. Fortunately, I have just the gas furnace and water heater. And here I thought I was “lucky.”
To make matters worse, the head of the Industrial Gas Users Association, Shahrzad Rahbar compares it to getting a root canal and do you blame the dentist for that? Bad comparison. The dental patient may be responsible for dental problems requiring a root canal. But consumers responsible for a gas company’s mishandling of  their bad choices and lack of foresight? I think not – at least not to 40 per cent and 28 per cent all-at-once increases. See http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/03/28/natural_gas_rate_increase_angers_consumers.

I know – you have to turn on the gas furnace with an electrical switch and thermostat. Apparently that wasn’t always so. Back in what I’m now more and more realizing were the “good old days” you could get your gas furnace going without electricity.

And now for the other utility money-grabber and that situation is even worse. The gas companies are merely guilty of stupidity but Hydro One and all the Ontario municipalities (the latter have to base at least some of their costs on those of Hydro One) rate increases are for the wrong reason.

In a nutshell, we consumers are paying off Hydro One’s debts.

There is also another shady going-on with Ontario Hydro customers – some smart meters giving excessively high readings, causing some users to go bankrupt from over $2000 monthly hydro bills. Smart meters? Stupid meters. Stupid idea Hydro One and former Ontario premier Dalton McGuilty (McGinty). There are 600 plus complaints about this one to the Ontario Ombudsman so he has launched an investigation into these dealings. Some people say it should go much farther into a fraud investigation. See http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ontario-ombudsman-launches-hydro-one-investigation-1.1670529

I can’t remember how hydro and gas bills were set up when I was a child (my parents had oil heating, not gas in our little bungalow) but we were billed for water at a flat rate. I’m not saying we should be billed a flat rate today. And water rates are going up on a continuing but scheduled basis. However, Toronto Water and Waste is doing something with this money. They are upgrading all the old sewers pipes, water pipes – the infrastructure that goes back 50 plus years, and doing extra on their part to stop basement flooding in Toronto areas prone to that. So, while I may complain about the high water rates, at least I know my money is being put to good and necessary use.
Unlike hydro rates, which despite the mess-up with some “smart” meters, has gone up three times in seven months.
Something is really wrong here. We can conserve energy (heating, etc. not our own personal energy) until the proverbial cows come home, but it doesn’t seem to matter much.
Come to think of it, with this situation, do the cows really want to come home anyway?
What do readers think? Are you experiencing similar utility hikes where you live?
Please comment.
Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Extreme Weather, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Weather