Tag Archives: Toronto Hydro

Only Child’s thoughts after the big hurricane May 4 in Southern Ontario

Calm few days after the storm

The day after the big wind storm – hurricane wind levels in Toronto – I was on my knees clearing out my garden. Not debris from the wind, but part of the annual clean-the-garden-in-the-spring ritual. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man walk by. Although I didn’t know him I said, “good afternoon.”

I’m glad I did. Turns out he was a friend of Marie one of the seniors across the street. Marie had some damage to her roof from the winds and “she was freaking out he said. Do you know of anyone who could help fix it?”

I sprang into action. For the life of me I could not recall the name of the company who put up my roof in fall 2009 but I did know some neighbours who would know somebody. I directed him to my next door neighbour who works in construction and another one across the street who just retired from working in construction. Next door wasn’t in but Larry across the street was. After the man clarified the name of the fellow across the street and went to bang on his door, I went into high help mode.

I had to find the name of the company that did my roof. I knew it began with “E” and wasn’t a person’s first and/or last name. Dived into a few files. Nothing. Finally found a few old (like a couple of years) small brochures of home repairs/improvements companies and voila – and my roofers were listed in one brochure. It didn’t appear that they did roof repairs but if Marie ended up needing a new roof, I could recommend them. So I copied over their number on one of those memo pads real estate agents drop off – you know the ones with your name printed on the top – their play to get more business, I suppose. And with the brochure and the memo sheet and my house keys, I locked the doors and ran across the street to Marie’s.

The friend’s truck was still in the driveway, the front inside door was open and an array of shoes were discarded in the front hall. I knocked and knocked but no answer, so ran around to the backyard. No one. Came back to the front and knocked again because I could hear voices. No one came, so I returned to the driveway and could voices from a window, so called  out “It’s Sharon from across the street.” The  man who had talked to me said he would meet me at the front door. I met him there, and Marie, and the man’s wife and their two kids and the wife’s sister and her husband. They were the family of Marie’s late boyfriend.

Marie told  me that Larry had been there and said he would call his sons and see if they could come the next day (The did. I saw them there). Marie also complained about the roof she had – newer than mine – she’s had the roofer back three times to fix shingles. That’s not a very professional job done. So I wrote down the name and info of my roofer with the caveat – the owner, who do the estimate don’t go on the roof and because of that they missed the correct number of layers of old shingles on my roof – and I got charged more. But the actual workers did an excellent job, including their foreman who found the third layer when he inspected it just before they began doing the work and told me – he should be doing estimates.

“Make sure they go on the roof to check,” I told Marie.

I also gave her the name and phone number of the handyman who does plumbing, painting, electrical and other repairs and Marie and I exchanged phone numbers. The latter we should have done within a year after I moved into my house. I’ve been here nearly 20 years.

My wake-up call. Especially after reading online yesterday and watching the 11 p.m. news and finding that 500 homes in pockets of Toronto still didn’t have their power restored. Didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the big ice storm in December 2013. True, there were downed trees and power lines from Friday’s hurricane but no ice. More likely not enough people doing the work. Again, didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the ice storm of December 2013?

With this in mind and the below story in mind, where governments of all level in the US and Canada, forget about seniors during various hurricanes, floods, and other disasters, I decided it is really up to us who can do so to help. This story was published in Zoomer magazine last month and I’m linking to the online story. The photo (scroll down a bit) of the seniors sitting in water up to their waists in a nursing home because the authorities forgot about them breaks my heart. It took the son-in-law of the nursing home owner to Tweet about it to get any action. Then the National Guard came to the rescue.

Ageism is still around, unfortunately.

Here’s the link.

http://www.everythingzoomer.com/health/2018/04/19/seniors-natural-disaster-relief/

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Help and Support, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Only child, Power Outages, Seniors, Toronto Hydro

Only Child turns new leaf to kindness

Winter weather still causing problems

Winter weather still causing problems

Late last night or early this morning – depending on your time take – I had just finished reading the newspaper and was heading for bed when the power went out.

Instant panic. After the big Southern Ontario power outage of summer 2003 and the ice storm-induced outage starting Dec. 21, 2013, I do not take kindly to power outages. Especially when I have put it out there to God (or whomever you believe are the powers that be) to please keep all utilities working 24/7. And I’m not listened to.

Immediately I went into action. Phoned Toronto Hydro to report the outage but couldn’t get past the “hit No 1 to report an outage.” When I hit “1” the phone went dead on their end. I was using my trusty landline phone on the wall – no electric connections there. The next half hour was spent actually going outside and looking to see where the outage was and more phone call attempts.

Surprise. It was a small pocket on part of my street and the street my house faces. My friends next door had power and the street light on our property line was on. Back into the house with another try to get Toronto Hydro. This time it didn’t ring and nothing at their end, but all fine at my end of the phone. In my panic, I decided to try 311 – the city help line – but they were backed up with calls. So I hung up and decided to call 911 – maybe the police could report the outage to Toronto Hydro; maybe they could get through to Toronto Hydro.

Well, I got the rudest person – a civilian – in police communications. He kept rudely repeating I had to call Toronto Hydro and despite my saying I tried but couldn’t get through to them, he kept saying that 911 was for fire, police and medical emergency. On the rude scale he hit above the 10 mark. Even if not his place to help me, he could have been polite and soothing.

I finally did get through to Toronto Hydro – after getting through the main line and listening to the recorded message of current power outages being attended to (mine, not mentioned), I hit “2” instead of “1” and got a live person. What a difference from the asshole civilian at police communications. This Hydro fellow said they already had one notification from the other street here and said he would add my street to the list. I asked how long before power is restored and he said as soon as they could as they had crews at a big fire (Note: thanks to the weather – not Toronto Hydro’s fault – there are problems with the transmitters up the poles and elsewhere – come getting on fire and so the power goes out.)

I thanked the fellow and then got busy with my own emergency stuff. Moved all my “delicate” fridge food (eggs, milk and the like) except for the rest of a casserole (which shall hit the green bin) to my “second fridge” – the old milk chute from the 1950s when milk was delivered – it’s a mailbox now. Put the fridge thermometer in and a later check showed it at fridge temperature. Made several more forays into the fridge to remove fresh fruit and veggies, bread and peanut butter – stuff that could stay out of the fridge in case that was going to be part of my meals today (along with the tinned stuff I stock up on). I even managed to take a shower by candlelight. The hot water heater is gas-fueled. So is the furnace but the thermostat is hydro induced. Apparently years ago, maybe even before my time, gas furnaces started up without the hydro connection. Obviously somebody screwed up when changing that setup.

I took some valerian (natural relaxant/sleep tablet) and crawled into bed under the covers.

And if it sounds like I was composed, no. I kept getting up to check this and that. But finally fell asleep but woke up. Just after my second wake-up, and my mind was going through how I could get through my day without hydro and get my morning coffee, the power went back on. I got up and wandered through the house, enjoying the lights and being grateful.

This morning I phoned Toronto Hydro to leave a message to thank the fellow I talked to and the workers for taking the time from all these hydro fires to restore power in a small pocket where I live.

All this has made me re-think something I had tried to do a few months ago but it got lost in the swarm of bad stuff coming at me. I will now live in a more kindly manner and try to do more random acts of kindness (I have actually managed to do a few, despite all my troubles).

That doesn’t meant that those who give me a hard time get off the hook. I will just be more selective and focus on the important.

Like the rude police communications civilian. I’m contacting Toronto Police Services and complaining about his attitude. Chances are I’m not the only one he treats so callously. And as all 911 calls are recorded with the caller’s location, they shouldn’t have problems figuring out who is the guilty party here.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, God, Gratitude, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto Police Services Communications, Winter Weather

Only Child on Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

Only Child  rests before doing more battle with companies screwing the consumer

Only Child ponders Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

This is turning into a Christmas to forget if I can. You have all probably heard about the terrible ice storm that hit southern Ontario and has now moved into eastern Canada and Michigan. Of course it hit Toronto and hard. Toronto’s hit was in patches and of course where I live got hit at 1.10 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m writing from a hotel in downtown Toronto and if you think I suddenly got rich in money think again.

The only good thing about all of this unacceptable and unwanted nonsense is that my son Martin and my ex-husband Colin (the latter out in British Columbia with his wife Lynda) decided that my roommate/boarder, her cat and I had to go to a hotel. My son is footing the bills for that and some meals (breakfast at the hotel and he took us out to dinner last evening and is meeting us for lunch today). The other good thing is my friends Tanya and Alex next door to me (my home, not the hotel) who are checking on the house. I left the cold water running a bit in the laundry tub downstairs to try to fend off frozen pipes and Alex was to check on that on his way out early to work and after he got back. And check the freezer as I didn’t want to open it – it’s full so that is supposed to help keep things frozen for a couple of days.

Tanya phoned last evening just after ten p.m. and said the power had gone back on. But because the weather got much colder the ice on the power lines and trees remains, so there could be more trees and their branches falling, power lines falling some more, etc. etc. It is very unstable, scary, unacceptable and unnecessary.

So, who am I labelling Grinches – with a capital G – you’ll see why the capital in a minute.

Toronto Hydro for not working fast enough and for the priorities to get customers back on grid. Hospitals first I agree with, but we the average consumers are at the bottom of the list. Of 300,000 households that lost power initially, still 90,000 without power – it is over 48 hours and of those, 50,000 will need to be put back on the grid house by house That is not acceptable. The TTC – Toronto Transit Commission is working harder and got everything but the short subway line up and running by late yesterday afternoon. And they have shuttle bus service on the surface of that subway line,

Of course Toronto Hydro is hindered by Toronto’s egotistical Mayor Rob Ford – he of all the scandalous who won’t resign – because he won’t declare the City of Toronto in a State of Emergency which means the province can’t enforce emergency measures. So the province is hampered in what they can do to get around this but they are doing what they can including bringing in employees from Forestry to help cut down trees. Ford thinks just calling in hydro crews from other areas of Ontario, Manitoba and Michigan are enough. Well, Michigan may not make it because they got the ice storm in some areas too and without declaring Toronto a State of Emergency, the armed forces can’t be called in to clear some of these trees. I know it’s power line down dangerous but more numbers helping would help.

The other Grinch is God – partly because I believe he has something to do with this weather. Even if you don’t believe my take here, consider this – I prayed to God not to let it happen and if it did to keep the power on. We can see where that got me, Praying is out of my vocabulary and instinct is in, but more on that in my next week’s post to wrap up a very bad year.

Meantime I’m hanging onto my two (and maybe three areas of gratitude if the power has stayed on (and stays on) and all the food lost is in the snall freezer over the fridge and  the stuff in the big  freezer is still frozen and stays frozen, and the food that I didn’t put in the “second fridger” – the milk chute stay cold and safe.. I will find out when I make a trip back home this afternoon I guess.

And meantime I’m not celebrating Christmas anymore, You might want to consider that Christ was not born on Christmas Day. Centuries ago Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk, declared Christmas Day as Christ’s birthday. And wonders of all wonders, the current Catholic Pope Benedict XVI is disputing December 25 as the day of Christ’s birthday in the third installment of his trilogy on the life of Christ. See the story at http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/22/pope-benedict-disputes-jesus-date-of-birth/

So Christmas is now Xmas to me.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gratitude

Only Child asks: Is $26,793 the new poverty line cut-off for singles?

Me in 1950 - up against the barbed wire fence, a good analogy for worrying

Me in 1950 – up against the barbed wire fence, a good analogy for all the consumer issues

The Ontario Energy Board may think so. Just read on.

I’m on another rampage about getting overcharged for services – this time it’s Toronto Hydro. Rates went up twice this year and although I know with another person in the house (the boarder), consumption goes up somewhat. But the amount seems a little high for just one more person, especially as both of us try to do energy-hogging jobs (like laundry and we wash with cold water and hang up a lot of our laundry) during the so-called cheapest off-peak time periods. And there are no new electrical appliances and the like in the house since February 2011. I don’t think a small dehumidifier counts as a big hydro user, especially as it hasn’t been used for a few months. And I also know I need some new energy-conservation windows but can’t afford them. But that’s been the situation since I moved here 15 years ago. Still the consumption has gone up – or so the latest bill says.

With the last bill two months ago (and it was up too) I tried to get Toronto Hydro – who is my municipal hydro utility – to send someone to come here and check my hydro electric meter to see if that was working okay. All I got from that was “it looks fine from here.” Excuse me, but when did call centre people become hydro tech experts?

I’m going after that end again –when I can find the time with all the other crap going on. In the meantime I’ve checked out other options online at Toronto Hydro – you can get your payments equalized to monthly coming out of your bank account. How that works for rate hikes and consumption which is never the same beats me. The other option is if you are low income (and depending on how many people in your household) you can get some financial assistance (this is Ontario Energy Board) – but it goes through a social service agency.

And that’s where that $26,793 comes in – according to Toronto Hydro, I suppose, as the information says “…in Toronto” a single person whose income is below $26,793 annually could qualify for this help. More specifics are at http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/corporateresponsibility/communityoutreach/pages/lowincome.aspx

So, my question is: Is the new poverty level for a single person living alone now $26,793? Last time I checked it was $19,000 (rounded off). And that’s before you pay taxes but after you take off deductions. With those criteria, I fall below the $19,000.

It’s a sad micro statement of the macro situation in the world today. The so-called middle class is fast disappearing – today you are either rich or poor. The Toronto Star is doing a series on Canadians Me, You, Us by Michael Valpy – and the current stories deal with just this.  Here’s a link to one such story http://www.thestar.com/news/atkinsonseries/2013/12/13/the_incredible_disappearing_middle_class.html

On a happier note – I got some justice from Rogers Cable TV – a voice-mail message from them notifying me the problem had been fixed and if there were any more problems to give them a call. Previously I had been informed that we customers aren’t told when a street problem is fixed and we just had to watch the TV to find out.

If you remember from my post last week I, a non-techie- had figured out what the cause was but it took a lot of shrieking phone calls to get someone to hear me.

Which makes me wonder what will happen with Toronto Hydro when I phone again (now a few months later) to get someone to check the hydro meter – in person, not remote.

And I’m still waiting for my Day-timers to arrive – 2015 perhaps for 2014 Day-timers?

No wonder I’m cranky 24/7. I’m choking on cherry pits.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumer action, finances, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Uncategorized