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March 14, 2022

How much has your hydro bill jumped lately?

Here in Ontario, there’s been a ton of posturing over the state of hydro bills.

Amid talk of ballooning rates, the Liberals were raked over the coals last summer for slapping the HST on the consumer cost of hydro. Then, in November, they were applauded for promising to cut bills by up to 10 per cent. The move was said to be a “jolt (to) the Liberals’ political fortunate with a provincial election set for Oct. 6, 2011.”

But really, who cares? Outside of election time, all Canadians care about is getting the cheapest hydro. Period. And a new report that says increased Ontario rates will raise electricity bills by only 30 cents a month prompts us to ask: has anyone else noticed their hydro bill jump by far more than the projected rate?

By the Ontario Energy Board’s figures, the average hydro bill should only rise by about 30 cents each month because of recent rate increases, yet I’m sure there’s a good amount of Canadians that might balk at such a forecast.

The HST, which applied a 13 per cent tax to monthly hydro usage rather than the 5 per cent levied before July 1, 2010, is nothing new to many Canadian provinces, but for those in Ontario and B.C. it’s been a nightmare in this regard.

Though, even when the HST is thrown out, pre-tax hydro costs seem to have spiked from this same time last year.

My own sky-high bill came in a few weeks ago: $499.43 for 3833 kWh of hydro use in December and January (I have electric heating in my apartment, so it’s always a little pricy in the winter months). Compare that with a $360.22 charge for the same bill the year before and, even though a slightly higher tally of 4116 kWh was used then, these numbers don’t appear to jive.

If we throw out tax, which jumped to 13 per cent on my most current bill from the 5 per cent charged on last year’s, I’ve still paid $434.50 for 3833 kWh of usage in 2011 (or 8.3 cents per kWh) and only $342.21 for 4116 kWh of usage in 2010 (or 11.3 cents per kWh). This is, as I like to call it, the “Fork over an extra $4 to see Drive Angry  ‘cause it’s in 3D” effect. Pay more for less.

And I can’t imagine I’m alone.

Even accounting for on-peak/mid-peak/off-peak usage times, customer plans and the like, have you noticed your hydro bill spike compared to a year earlier? If so, by how much?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...