I am incensed. Enraged. Maddened. Infuriated. I’m sure at this point that all of you lovely people are sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering what possibly could have provoked such a reaction. I am a kind and benevolent blogger, so I’ll give it to you straight – we got our electricity bill.
Living all my life in Alberta, land of grainfields and country music, I arrived in Ontario with wide-eyed naïveté, full of hopes and dreams for a future filled with prosperity and joy. The first slap in the face was the 13% HST charge on darn near everything. Going from 5% to 13% is very disturbing. That’s an increase of 260% (I know you all love numbers!). After 2 months I’ve grown used to it despite my bitterness, and have come to terms with a necessarily reduced budget. However. I was not prepared, in the slightest, for the affront that was the electricity bill. Allow me to escort you into the nightmare realm wherein the evil entity know as Horizon Utilities lays out with cruel, macabre, almost sadistic pleasure, the money that, formerly ours, it will rake in for itself with pallid, leprous claws.
To properly empathize with the shock I felt upon looking at these wicked charges, I’ll tell you what happened immediately prior to their unleashing. Ben and I had gone down to get the mail together, and spent the ride in the elevator predicting the costs we had incurred. My prediction was $25 per month, Ben’s was $30. Not unreasonable; in 2008, I lived for a short time in a main floor suite with a dear friend. In a typical month, our total bill would be approximately $20-$25. We also had many fishtanks running, drawing power for lights, filtration and heating, not to mention over twice the floorspace of our current apartment. So I figured that our total energy consumption in the apartment would be significantly less, but was generous with my estimate given the propensity of costs in Ontario to be saddled with loads of tax. Take a deep breath and, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts.
The billing period: July 22 to Sept 17
(Note: Apartment was only inhabited in that period from Aug 9 to Sept 17)
Total kWh: 690.12
(Note: We had to use a huge-ass air conditioner 24/7 for 3 weeks because we would have otherwise perished)
Total Electricity Charges: 50.52
Sounds good, right? Especially because my estimate of $25/month ended up being spookily accurate. But wait. There’s more…
Regulatory Charges: 4.99
(I was expecting this, no biggie)
Debt Retirement Charge: $4.65
(Had to look this up; this charge pays down the debt of the former Ontario Hydro. I am disappoint.)
52.14 > 50.52
Delivery Charge > Electricity Cost
WHAT KIND OF SICK WORLD DO WE LIVE IN?
Surely, this must be a mistake. Surely somebody drunkenly squashed a keyboard and messed up my bill, right? Investigation ensued, leading to the calamitous conclusion that it was not a mistake, that this larceny was intentional. As you can see here, in the Detailed Breakdown of Residential Electricity Rates & Prices section, there was no error, only a cackle of vicious laughter.
In my outrage, I decided to take advantage of the Free Market, and switch to an electricity provider that’s not quite so avaricious. A problem quickly began to present itself; there’s not much of a Market. We’re currently being bled by Horizon Utilities, which after exhaustive research turns out to be the only provider for our area.
$57.11/month for electricity, 46% of which is a delivery charge. My heart races every time I think about it…and I don’t think there’s anything I can do. The injustice.
P.S. I apologize for my numerous acts of italicization; the words were being shouted in my head as I typed them, and I try to avoid all-caps whenever possible. But the emphasis needed to be…emphasized.
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention by the lovely Sonjia Veltri that “The delivery charge is actually not charged by your Utilities company, it’s a flow through charge from the people who hung wires in you[r] community.” So now my rage is directed at those people, who are in all likelihood the Ontario government. They built the original infrastructure, though I’m not 100% sure who’s maintaining it now. Whoever it is, they’ll rue the day…