Blizzard

Smart meter removal just latest of Liberals' hydro disasters

By Christina Blizzard, Special to the Sun

(File photo)

(File photo)

TORONTO - 

Another day, another smart meter problem.

On Thursday we heard from the Electrical Safety Authority that they’ve ordered 5,400 smart meters removed from homes in a number of communities across the province for safety reasons.

Some remote-disconnect meters manufactured by Sensus have caught fire on homes in Saskatchewan and the safety watchdog has detected a design flaw which could cause arcing when water gets into the meter.

Trouble is if you live in Sarnia, Sudbury, Waterloo, Kitchener, Brant or Cobourg, where those meters were installed, you have no way of identifying if your meter is one of those at risk of catching fire. Distribution companies have until March 31 to remove them, so homeowners are left worrying for two months about whether theirs is a meter at risk.

They may be smart meters, but this was a really dumb program.

Everything this Liberal government has done to the electricity system in the 12 years since they came to power has turned to crap.

Expensive crap. Stupid mistakes. And it ends up on your hydro bill.

When the government foisted smart meters on us, we were told they’d be good for us. We’d be able to manage our bills by knowing when we were using the most electricity.

Then the Liberals brought in time-of-use billing, so we had to do our dishes at 2 a.m. to save money.

And the price of electricity skyrocketed.

A year ago, the province’s crusading ombudsman Andre Marin launched a probe into Hydro One’s smart meter program. He’s received thousands of complaints.

The most shocking story was about someone whose house had burned down — but they were still getting hydro bills.

That’s one smart meter to figure out a way to charge a house that isn’t even there.

It wasn’t an isolated case.

Several people whose homes had been destroyed complained Hydro One was still gouging them for electricity.

In December, it was auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s turn.

Her investigation found the Liberals projected smart meters would have a net benefit of $600 million over 15 years.

Turns out they were more than half a billion dollars wrong. The benefit was just $88 million.

Then there’s the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC). Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced last year the DRC will be dropped from your hydro bill Dec. 31, 2015.

Introduced in 2002, the DRC was intended to collect $7.8 billion toward the stranded debt left behind by the old Ontario Hydro.

In 2011, the auditor general reported that as of March of that year, $8.7 billion had been collected. So you’d think we’d paid it off.

Not at all. The Liberals continued to collect 0.7 cents a kilowatt hour on your hydro bill — only they slipped another $4 billion onto that, which they claim is “interest.”

What nonsense. They turned the DRC into a slush fund to pay for government boondoggles like smart meters, Ornge, eHealth and the gas plants.

So the Liberals collect $1.5 billion more than we owe — then drop the charge.

And there’s another wrinkle. They’re also going to scrap the so-called Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB). That’s the 10% rebate you get on the first 3,000 kilowatts of electricity you use.

It’s a shell game — and you’re paying for appalling mismanagement on your hydro bill.

And don’t even get me started on the Global Adjustment.

New Democrat critic Peter Tabuns says the government got it wrong from the start.

“Here in Ontario, we didn’t do the business case, the Liberals didn’t do the business case. We spent billions and what we got were headaches, not savings.”

And heartaches. I can’t tell you how many seniors I’ve heard from who tell me they cry when they open their bills.

Just when you think there’s a spark of hope on electricity, it turns out to be a faulty meter that could catch fire and destroy your home.

christina.blizzard@sunmedia.ca

Poll

Have you saved money on your hydro bill since getting a smart meter?


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »