Hydro Delivery Fees = Head Explosion.

Ye be warned…rant ahead.

If you were to look back at my twitter feed at around the 19th of the last couple months, you’ll likely find an angry tweet regarding my hydro bill. Of all the bills I get, the hydro bill is the best at making my blood boil. It’s like instant high blood pressure in an envelope. It’s not the actual cost of electricity that bothers me. I use the power, I should pay for it, that only seems fair. What drives me coo-coo bananas are the fees that get tacked onto that bill.

For example, my December hydro bill was $220. Ouch. Good thing I’m a grinch and didn’t put up Christmas lights. My bill was higher because my baseboard heaters were going a little more and I was home during peak hours (yes, we have those smart meters and time of use billing in these parts) during my time off. Fair enough. The cost of the hydro I used: $111.53. The rest of my bill: $84.70 for delivery, $9.96 for regulatory charges, and $9.64 for debt retirement. Add those extra fees up and it’s almost 50% of the bill. What really makes me see red is the delivery charge. You want to know why? I live close enough to a nuclear reactor that I can see it, yet I’m paying a higher delivery charge than someone say, in London, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, or the GTA who live much further away from the sources of power (the people of Pickering excluded of course).

The Hydro One delivery charge is calculated based on population and the number of customers per kilometer, so higher density areas get a cheaper delivery rate than those of us who live in medium or low density areas. There is no consideration of the spatial distance between the power source and user to whom the electricity is delivered, which seems just a little odd for a freaking delivery charge. Hydro One says the delivery charge covers things like: replacing and maintaining equipment, build and upgrade facilities to keep up with customer growth, fund smart meter installation, connect renewable generation projects (I am not touching that issue with a 30 foot creosote soaked pole), and pay for capital costs for physical infrastructure and systems.

Ok, given that it seems like the delivery charge covers infrastructure, but I still can’t figure out why I’m charged more than someone in an urban setting. You could argue that in a higher density area the cost is spread out over a larger number of people, but let me point this out. It’s not just cheap wooden poles bringing the power to the GTA – it’s miles and miles of high voltage steel towers. The Bruce to Milton project, which will bring electricity generated at the Bruce Nuclear site to the GTA is 180 km of 500 kV lines (so about 730 steel towers) at a cost of $695 million dollars. This is in addition to the existing line of high voltage towers. The municipality I live has approximately 4000 people all serviced by wooden poles. A wooden hydro pole costs approximately $2500 (transformer, wire, installed, the works I’m told) and I’m a lot closer than 180 km to the nearest power plant. Yet, I pay more for delivery through cheaper infrastructure and over a shorter distance than someone who lives further away serviced by more expensive infrastructure.

Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about the delivery charge or any of those other fees, aside from rant. Well, no, I think I might go light some candles and hang out in near darkness. Take that Hydro One!

Are there any fees that make you see red?

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Categories: Unavoidable Costs | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Hydro Delivery Fees = Head Explosion.

  1. Jordann

    Ugh that would drive me bonkers too. I’m extremely lucky that where I rent I have internet/electricity bundled in, so I only have the one bill to worry about, and it’s always the same.

    My big pet peeve lately is bank fees. I’ve been slowly in the process of switching most of my financial activity to ING Direct because I just can’t stand getting dinged with $30 in fees every month (it’s down now to $20/month and dropping). I just can’t get over the fact that I’m being charged to access my OWN money.

  2. Fees in general make me see red, but bank fees can make me froth at the mouth in anger. I hate them! Why should I pay to be able to access my money? So, I don’t. But one day I might have to (when i’m not a student anymore to take advantage of student accounts). Drives me crazy.

  3. I hear you on the Hydro bills!!! Just got mine and the delivery charges were more than what I used! Add that debt retirement charge (which is the one that makes me want to scream!!!) and the regulatory charges and the add ons are over $10 more than what I used. Keep in mind winter is when my hydro is the cheapest since I have gas heating. There is no way the debt isn’t paid off. If they are charging the approx 1/4 of the population of Ontario the same $3.00 they have been charging me since I moved to this province they are making a mint! That’s about 3 million a month. Give or take a million, COME ON!!!! How much debt are we paying back for them to buy their wives the luxuries they did??!!

    • Oh yeah, that debt retirement charge is garbage. It’s wild to think how much money they pull in every month to cover this ‘debt’. Unfortunately, I don’t expect the province is going to give up that source of income anytime soon.

  4. HI there, I too have smacked my head on wall looking at the delivery charge. Just out of curiosity, do you have year round home or a seasonal cottage? IS the delivery charge different? Here is my situation. My cottage which is on sturgeon lake in kawartha lakes, i pay a delivery charge for my last bill of $165 on a 280$ bill for 3 months not inlcuding the 14$ fees that get tacked on.
    Thats a cottage and now its rented

    I got another a secondary residential place up therein the rural area and the bill i got today for 1 month is 154$ (its a huge house) and 88$ delivery fee. They consider this as a seasonal not sure If i should submit the form for full residential since im there more than the city, it that will make a diff.

    but isnt that crazy

    • Ugh, I hear ya. I have a year-round home in a community that’s made up of both seasonal and year-round homes. It’s my understanding that there is a different rate for seasonal homes, no matter where they are. It seems like they charge a higher distribution volume charge (the seasonal rate is 8.205 c/kWh) for seasonal homes compared to full-time residential.

      For your second place, I suggest using the rates from here and calculating what the delivery charge would be if you were full time.

  5. Derek Dudley

    Hydro One certainly should get out of the hydro business. My camp hydro bill for a 3 month period was $1,100 ! That is insane! If they cannot give hydro at a reasonable rate than they should give up their domain and let someone else take the reins! In my case it would be Thunder Bay Hydro! I can’t see the justification for a $500 delivery fee! A security deposit of $250 and HST of $140 and debt reduction fee $25, followed by an actual usage fee of $140 ! I actually use my camp a few months in the year. Consequently, I have left the grid and will use a gas generator and install solar collectors! That is the way to go without a doubt! Probably a wood pellet stove and propane range. Hydro One reliance is just insanity!

  6. Chad

    I too am on Hydro One and live close to the power supply. I just don’t understand why Hydro One delivery, be it, Urban, Medium, Low or Seasonal is higher than every other Hydro supplier in the province. How can someone be paying 40-50 dollars for the delivery of their hydro in a more rural area than me and I end up getting tagged for 90-110 dollars for delivery. My parents live outside Peterborough in a rural area and pay half of what I pay living right near the 401. I can handle switching my high usage to low peak periods, it’s not a huge deal to do laundry on weekends or after 7pm, but delivery is insane. Before you even turn a light on at the beginning of the month you are charged 25 bucks for delivery. I have had months where the cost of my electricity usage is less than the delivery…seems crazy, like paying for something your not even using. I also love how the Ontario Energy Board always seems to sympathize with Hydro One and approve their requests to raise delivery charges every year. I guess I too will have to dig out all my candles.

    • I hear you. I don’t have a problem with the time of use system either, but the seemingly arbitrary delivery fees drives me bonkers. I too am amazed that they keep getting their rate increases approved too. I can’t wait for summer, when I can turn everything but the essentials.

  7. Jack

    Late addition here but I recently took over the hydro bill in the house. $60/month delivery fee??!! Checking the previous bills that rate went up to $113/month. Checking the hydro one site it mentions it is all based on population density. I asked the call-taker if I have any other electrical provider choices and she was a little dumbfounded. Its a scam in my books. A couple of years ago we had our underground line replaced due to a lightening strike. Hydro one had to pay the bill. I’m thinking it’s their way of recouping the cost. 😦

  8. Jordan

    Delivery charges on my toronto hydro bill are a joke. One month I paid MORE in delivery than the amount of the actual electricity I used. What a joke.

  9. Bob Hiland

    It is cheaper to simply get off the grid. Solar panels, propane and a generator work well at my cottage.
    It would surprise you how much you don’t need to deal with the kind folks at Hydro One. In the city I look forward to the time they have the billing done by their finance people and not creative services.

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