News

Frustration with Hydro One bill 'insanity'

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Etobicoke man Walter Szwez has been zapped by Hydro One for his Georgian Bay cottage. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Etobicoke man Walter Szwez has been zapped by Hydro One for his Georgian Bay cottage. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

An Etobicoke senior whose annual hydro bill on his Georgian Bay island cottage has hit $7,000 says something needs to be done about Hydro One and smart meters.

“It’s getting to the point where I’m probably going to have to sell the cottage,” Walter Szwez, 70, said Tuesday. “It’s insanity.”

Sun Media readers from across the province have been sending in their Hydro One horror stories following Tuesday’s announcement by Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin that his investigators would probe the utility’s billing practices and customer service.

One Hydro One customer in Brampton said she was afraid to get February’s bill.

Clients complained of “staggering” increases in their bills, faulty readings, high delivery charges for cottages, missing bills, and polite but unhelpful customer service.

Szwez said his cottage is fully insulated to an R-2000 standard, has no air conditioning and is unoccupied for half the year.

He installed electric baseboard heaters — something he now regrets — but they’re kept at 8C to 10C throughout the winter.

His initial annual bills from Hydro One were in the $3,600 to $4,000 range but they pretty much doubled after a smart meter was installed.

Hydro One began sending him letters warning him to expect large bills.

“Can you image $7,000 to heat a cottage that nobody goes there for six months of the year?” Szwez said, adding he contacted his local MPP but never got an answer to his complaint.

“I made a little bit of money in my lifetime because I worked three jobs at one time … I raised three sons and I’ve got six grandchildren and we go up there in the summertime to enjoy the fruits of my labour and the fruits of this wonderful country,” he said.

“This cannot continue. There is something wrong with these (smart) meters. And nobody’s going to admit to it.”


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