hydro smart meter with RIP OFF! text over top, used as a header image

Ontario’s Hydro Services Ripping You Off?

Hydro One is NOT the only guilty party when it comes to a lack of proper customer service. Oshawa PUC Networks Inc. (referred to henceforth as Oshawa PUC), is every bit as guilty. Makes me wonder just how many MORE residents of Oshawa are being ripped off as I have been.

When my hydro bills started increasing beyond what I deemed to be my proper usage, I telephoned 905-723-4623, asking for help, only to reach a customer service reps that, I learned later, were instructed to humour hydro customers (me) by assuring me there was no problem with the meter.

The same thing happened each and every time I telephoned Oshawa PUC, asking to have my “budget plan” increase well beyond what I had been paying. My complaints were met with the same thing every time and if truly frustrated me. There have been NO changes in my household appliances… in fact, all during the summer of 2013, for the first time EVER using my A/C, I turned it OFF between the hot spells hoping to see a major drop in hydro usage… but, that was NOT the case.

Late in July 2013, after receiving another smart meter for measuring hydro consumption in Ontario, Canadamonthly hydro bill, I got a customer service rep who actually listened and reviewed my previous years of usage …AND… he agreed with me. He said something like, “yeah, if I were you, I’d suspect a neighbour was stealing hydro from me. Your usage is well beyond what it should be.”

However, all he could suggest was for me to turn off one breaker at a time for several hours to see what was causing the drain on hydro. Oshawa PUC no longer tests to see exactly what might be causing the over usage.

In speaking with a neighbour, he suggested that if I have several years of hydro bills in my possession, perhaps I should put them on a spreadsheet to see just how bad things really are.

Once I did this, the same neighbour was horrified to see just how ridiculous my charges had become, and, he suggested taking all of this… my 10 years worth of previous hydro bills …AND… the spreadsheet showing the extreme monthly increases, down to the Oshawa PUC office at 100 Simcoe Street South. Perhaps then, he had said, someone might be more willing to help me.

Boy! Was he EVER wrong.

A lady who introduced herself as Dawn came out to the front counter, when I asked the lady at the wicket for help. After quickly scanning my information and listening to me begging her for help, she informed me that maaaaybe there was something she could do …but, she’d have to ask her boss.

When I ask what that might be, she said she’d like to send a fella out to test the meter, to make sure the GSP (Global Positioning System) is reading the proper meter. I was SHOCKED to think that might be the case and agreed to her suggestion of providing her with my email address so she could let me know the decision.

Here’s what she had to say in her email shortly after I left their office [click on image to see larger view]:
Is-Ontario's-Hydro-Services-Ripped-Off-image01

I called my neighbour and read out the email to him. Again, he was shocked as he said that had found Oshawa PUC to have been VERY helpful in years past. When I asked him if he’d had to deal with them since the Smart Meters were installed, he said, “No.”. I suggested that perhaps they’ve been instructed to give this “cookie-cutter” type of response no matter WHO complained with whatever information, as this is nearly word of word what several other service reps had said to me when I telephoned for help… except the rep I spoke with in late July.

My neighbour recommended that I contact the Mayor to see if he could do something to help.

Thankfully, after many emails back and forth, and many telephone calls made by Mayor Henry to Oshawa PUC on my behalf, he had them come out and replace the meter.

Oshawa PUC informed me that they would be sending the meter in to be check over and if it was proven to be faulty they consider reimbursing me any moneys over charged.

After the meter was changed, my next month’s hydro bill drop right back down to what it had been in previous months before the Smart Meter started acting up and charging me nearly THREE times the real usage.

You can well imagine, I was anxious to hear back from Measurements Canada, “certain” I would receive a reimbursement… I mean, come on, wasn’t it OBVIOUS.

But… that was not the case.

Am offering you a PDF copy of the letter I received from Enforcement Officer Steven Roy who works for Measurements Canada. Needless to say, I was SHOCKED to learn his claim that there was NOTHING wrong with the meter. What?

Back I went to Mayor Henry in hope of receiving his help once again, only to be deflected to a CEO of Oshawa PUC Atul, who promptly informed me that I would NOT be receiving a refund because Measurements Canada deemed the meter to be okay.

After reviewing Steven Roy’s letter again, I noticed the letter was written to me on EXACTLY the same day as he claimed the testing of the meter was conducted. Thus, I had questions for him.

In my letter (of which I offer you a PDF copy of here to read), I politely asked him for more information… “Example: length of time the testing took place, and the load put on the meter for the different peak hours (off-peak, mid-peak, on-peak).”

…and, to date, my letter has been totally ignored.

I have had family members and friends make several different suggestions as to whom to contact for help. Recently, among the suggestions was The Ontario Ombudsman …whom suggested I contact my Member of Parliament (MP) because Measurements Canada is an agency of the Federal Government.

I have been in touch with my MP’s office and one of his support staff is having someone looking into my issues now. Time will tell as to whether anything will come of this or not.

Now, to get to the reason I am posting this

…my reason is this… to save YOU a LOT of hassles AND money!

My recommendation to you: Do NOT wait to get help from ANYONE.

Have your hydro service provider change your meter as soon as you suspect any problems… though you will be charged $85 if YOU request it changed. However that charge is substantially less than I have paid in over charges. Note in the screen print below:

Is-Ontario's-Hydro-Services-Ripped-Off-image02

If you would like to be able to track your hydro usage as I have, here is a FREE BLANK Excel 2007 file in a zip file, for your ease of downloading. It’s ready for your use, and instructions are offered inside the file.

UPDATE: April 8, 2014 – after dancing with several different media sources AND Ontario Ombudsman, I was advised to reach out to my local MP whom is Colin Carrie. After doing so, Greg Howard contacted me on Mr. Carrie’s behalf and Greg was able to nudge someone into nudging Steven Roy into contacting me via email. Mr. Roy claimed he never received my letter, and here is a PDF form of Steven Roy’s response to my original letter.

Mr. Roy’s email looks very much like the technical letter I received by post …and to his credit, he contacted me when he did not hear back from me. Here’s Mr. Roy’s question to me… along with my responsewhich to date remains unanswered.

Given the recent discovery of spiders affecting Mazda’s sedans, it makes me wonder if the elements or “Mother Nature” is causing the “Smart Meters” to malfunction in reporting actual hydro usage. What’s your take on this issue?

UPDATE: May 1, 2014 – after lengthily periods of silence followed by many emails back and forth, Mr. Roy sent me a Statement of Complaint form in PDF format. Today, I filled it in, printed it, signed it, scanned it, and sent it along with scanned copies of ALL the monthly bills in dispute. Time will tell if this truly gets resolved, or if I’m pushed aside with even more legal jargon or not.

No matter the results, I will be back here sharing the outcome with everyone. Please do keep sharing this post as the more people get involved with these faulty smart meters the better.

UPDATE: June 25, 2014 – The Statement of Complaint form that Mr. Roy had me fill in, apparently he decided to have it cover the replacement Smart Meter… the one that is reporting the proper usage as this point in time… even though the form clearly states the dates of the original Smart Meter. Mr. Roy had a worker from Oshawa PUC come out to remove the replacement Smart Meter… and, of course, I refused to allow him to do this. This gentleman explained that apparently I had filed a dispute regarding the replacement meter. I told him that was not true, I filed a complaint on the over charges from the original meter. I immediately emailed Mr. Roy, who was quick to inform me that my dispute was filed on the replacement meter. REALLY? I filled in the form according to his suggestion, and used all dates detailing my complaint of the over charges from the original Smart Meter.

Now, I’m back to Colin Carrie’s office waiting to find out what to do next, as the replacement meter CLEARLY shows how the previous Smart Meter was NOT working correctly. What a joke this whole Smart Meter “stuff” is; Is it any wonder that Smart Meter Removal has begun in California! California is WAY ahead of Ontario when it comes to being fair to the public that’s for sure.

UPDATE: To date, NO POLITICAL PARTY will touch my issue regarding hydro’s overcharges. The province government is in charge of hydro rates and the federal government are in charge of monitoring the meters.

Added 04 Nov 2015

UPDATE: Had to call in my electrician as my house was acting though it is possessed. Late in the day on the 13th of December 2018, he discovered the issues I was experiencing was being caused by something BEFORE my panel. Then, on the 14th of December 2018, my electrician called in the Oshawa PUC in order to discover what was causing these issues.

Once in the cherry-picker, the Oshawa PUC technician was able to determine that the connectors at the roof of my house were badly oxidized… though all looked okay until he took off the protective covers. He then proceeded to change the connectors and restore electricity to my house, and all was fixed. Yeaaaah!

The BONUS of this incident is that the Oshawa PUC had to pay my electrician’s bill due to it being THEIR issue, not mine.

NOW, here’s my thoughts… were THESE connections responsible for the steady increase in my electric bills when my actual usage dropped back in 2014? I must admit, I am highly suspicious they were the real cause.

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About the Author Trish

Given my passion for genealogy, is it any wonder that I eventually wanted to publish my work? Learning to use a personal computer was a natural step once I was introduced it in the 1990s. Then the internet offered a second means to "publish" and now, here I am with a personal blog.

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24 comments
Kevin says March 20, 2018

In the year of 2018, it’s just happening to me. OPUC insisted on we are running utility fans all the time every day. But it is impossible to cost $140 a month. No one tries to help. I’m very upset.

Reply
    Trish says March 20, 2018

    Sorry to hear you’re having this issue four years after I experienced this attitude from OPUC Kevin. I’m STILL using my Excel spreadsheet to keep a constant watch on my alleged/real power consumption.

    All I can suggest to you is to repeat what I’ve already stated above, “My recommendation to you: Do NOT wait to get help from ANYONE. Have your hydro service provider change your meter as soon as you suspect any problems… though you will be charged $85 if YOU request it changed.” This COULD save YOU the loss of the well over $500 that I lost.

    Reply
Ann Bissett-Strahl says November 18, 2017

Ok, so my old smart meter has not been tested yet, and I did get a very informative and honestly complex letter from the individual at Measurements Canada who provided detail of how they are tested and the standards for approval by Measurements Canada dated 2005.

It would appear that they do not test the meters on circuits with variable rapidly changing EM fields (which is the problem with the Rogowski coils) and also he suggested I would have to contact the manufacturer of the original meter to find out if that technology was used in my old Smart meter, which might be interpreted as a “Hint” in any case Smart meters employed Rogowski coils in some Smart meters from 2004 until 2014.

The original data suggesting they had a problem came out around 2010-11 and was repeated in new tests in 2016. It is likely newer Smart meters do not have that technology, but I would really like to figure out if the old one did, especially if the reading on Monday suggests that my old smart meter “passed all tests’, especially since tests don’t include this testing. You can see why they are in no hurry to update the measurements testing format.

Reply
    Trish says November 18, 2017

    Oh wow Ann, you certainly have unleashed a whole new “can of worms”, proving to the “testers” that the working class ‘ain’t’ stupid! We dig and dig until we find out for sure.

    That being said, I don’t think you will EVER learn the truth, as that seems to be the way out government has come to be.

    I am ever SO thankful for your sharing this information here for all of us to share in. For that alone, I truly hope you will receive a resolve in whatever further investigating you may undertake.

    Reply
Ann Bissett-Strahl says November 15, 2017

Hi, back again. My last 3 bills have continued the pattern of having 33% lower consumption than the same period the prior year as monitored by my old smart meter which was installed back in 2012.

Measurements Canada has assessed the accuracy of my new Smart meter and is planning to assess my old one November 20th 2017.

In my original letter of complaint to Hydro, I pointed out the research done in the Netherlands showing that 5 of 9 types (brands) of Smart meters tested posted greatly inflated readings when attached to circuits with Dimmer switches and were further confounded when attached to LED lights (now required in ON).

Since I have been using both of these I proposed that they check the brand of Smart meter originally installed against those which were listed as having this fault. They have not responded, but I suspect that this is the most likely scenario, since these faulty meters are not tested against circuits containing dimmers and LED’s, and would test as normal.

Can you imagine the state of affairs should it be found that all the originally installed meters were of these types, all had to be replaced and all customers had to be compensated. It would bankrupt the already overspent Hydro system and the Ontario government. So I don’t think you will see the powers that be ever acknowledge the problem.

Sorry I forgot to mention that the Smart meters with the problem all employed Rogowski coil technology in their manufacture. Do you suppose there is anyway to find out if any or all of the original Smart meters employed this technology? If we could prove this is what was used, I think there are probably grounds for a Class action Law suit

Reply
    Trish says November 15, 2017

    Oh WOW Ann, I am impressed with the new information YOU have discovered about these smart meters. Good stuff indeed!

    Sad to say but I truly believe that when it comes to ANY governmental office EVER admitting they were (or are) wrong about ANYTHING the earth may stop revolving … or hell will freeze over, LOL!

    I don’t think our government will EVER admit the meters were never a necessity from the get-go never mind admitting the meters they forced upon us don’t work properly more times than they do. So, as for bankrupting Ontario … lol … in my opinion we will never see that happen from any government refunding wrongly charged hydro customers. That’s why you will always get back a report claiming there is nothing wrong with the meter they have tested.

    Apparently, the same smart meters were NOT used across Ontario as some of us had thought in the beginning, so finding your which homes have the Rogowsik coil would be asking a lot from our government … but … you could try asking. See what answer you would get.

    Reply
Ann Bissett-Strahl says July 30, 2017

I didn’t pay much attention after the Smart meter was installed 5 + years ago. The bills went up, but I thought it was my fault, not paying much attention to usage. Over the years I tried everything I could do to reduce consumption to no avail. I sent letters to Hydro one asking for them to check the meter, which they originally refused. I considered putting in solar tracking feed in, which based on my prior year consumption was going to cost 105K. I finally had a look at my meter, and it was reading nonsense, and I phoned hydro again and they finally sent someone to look at it. He tested meter and said it was fine but agreed to install a new one. That was March 15. I have received 4 bills since. Each of them has been 30% or more in lower consumption than the same time period last year. I can only assume that there was something wrong with my meter, and I want a refund for the 5 years I was being overcharged. I have sent a letter to the ombudsman of Ontario.

Reply
    Trish says July 30, 2017

    I truly hope they’ll refund you Ann, as the refused to refund me. Even had the meter tested and the lab claimed that a 5 minute test proved there was nothing wrong with my meter, yet the more I cut back using hydro the higher my hydro bills got.

    With this “new” method of reducing our hydro bills for the next, what, 5 years … wait until THAT time is up and our rates will more than double. Nothing like pushing debts forward to make the province gov’t look grand so voters will elect them once again. I pray they don’t!

    Reply
Garrett says February 3, 2017

We live in sault ste marie Ontario and we have been paying over $600/month and we heat our house with WOOD ONLY. We have been away for 2 or 3 months at a time and still paid $300-$400 for the months we weren’t even there. We had an electrician come out and checked every braker one at a time and nothing was found. Our neighbors pay roughly $400 LESS then us…..how can that be?

Reply
    Trish says February 5, 2017

    Hey Garrett, this sounds EXACTLY like the issue I suffered. You’ve read my suggestion in the post above, right? Then please, don’t hesitate any longer because I’m SURE they will tell you that the meter removed will have tested out without any issues. Am guessing you too will not be offered a refund, but … at least you can get this issue resolved.

    Reply
Sylvia says January 1, 2017

I’m not in Oshawa. I’m in Ontario. My meter has been changed twice. No change I live in a small 1200 home. Houses beside me all around me are much larger and pay less. I have been told over the years from hydro that it’s my responsibility to hire a electrician. Done that and they could not find the problem. I’m fed up as now my bills are raised to 328.00 again. There is no policing on hydro one. Im so frustrated with getting no where and everyone I talk to tell me they agree I’m paying to much. Hydro one has a different excuse every time. It’s my appliances. It’s my furnace. All have been replaced We use wood stove and propane to heat. I feel very defeated.

Reply
    Trish says January 2, 2017

    Yikes Sylvia, I agree with you … YOU ARE PAYING WAY TOO MUCH … ‘specially if you’re there alone!

    When I called the Mayor of Oshawa regarding my problem with hydro, Oshawa PUC sent out a fella’ with a special equipment to make sure that they were actually getting readings from MY meter and NOT my neighbours. I was shocked that this could happen and was told that happens more often than most people realize as the readings are captured from the Smart Meters by equipment as they drive-by our houses. HUH?!

    So, now my question to you is have you had them check to make sure their equipment is actually reading YOUR meter?

    Please, come back and let me know what you find out so others might benefit from your discovery … and, Thank YOU for taking the time to comment.

    Reply
Lynn Rahn says October 28, 2016

I have had the same problem even though I went from a family of 5 with all appliance running all day to just myself with nothing running my meter did not go down. In fact some months it went up.

How I resolved my problem when I was being charged in excess of 30 kWh per day, I called my provider and told them I was installing an analog meter behind their smart meter and before my panel. I will from now on be policing their meter. Low and behold my meter went down to 3-5 kwh per day

Imagine that???

The meters are programmed to steal Kwh.

Make the call, tell them for $300.00 you will be having an electrician install an analog meter behind their dmart meter. It did wonders for me.

Reply
    Trish says October 28, 2016

    WOW Thank YOU Lynn, for sharing this awesome idea.

    Heck, if I threat them with the installation of an analog meter being installed next to their “smart meter”, I will promise to follow through with my threat. That is VERY interesting …

    Reply
Tails says May 11, 2016

What astounds me is that people don’t realize that with the new meters they can measure small drains like cell phone chargers, and the radio that is inside every meter that is used to phone home the data also draws power. More than what you would think. And the homeowner pays for it.

Reply
    Trish says May 14, 2016

    Now that I did NOT know Tails, so thank YOU for disclosing this tidbit of good info. So, now we’re paying for the meter reader to be able to simply sit in a vehicle, point the reader and glean the usage from our Smart Meter.

    Though I’m not sure why you mentioned cell phone chargers… ANYthing drawing hydro will be metered and charged for. Wireless hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, etc., have batteries that need recharging, and yes, of course we pay for hydro used to recharge batteries. If I have misunderstood your comment on cell phone chargers… please explain further?

    Reply
Shelly Tilford says April 11, 2016

Trish…I was so relieved to see your blog. I have been fighting with Whitby Hydro for the past few year. We live in a 1200 Sq home and our monthly equal billing is $523.00. Scary!!!! We are not home with things running during the day either. They did send a kid out last year to look at our meter…and that is all he did…look at it and said it was working properly. I have done comparisons with others who have way bigger homes…who are home everyday running every light and tv etc all day long and even have a big pool..but their bill is no where near mine. I recently had an electrician out..paid him to check the usage at my panel. He could barley pick up any usage…even when the furnace kicked in…he said oh….that is so minimal..it only uses 15amps and I thought that it was one of the things that used the most electricity in the winter. Thanks to your advice, I am going to call then tomorrow and get them to replace my meter ASAP. This has got to stop….it is actually making me sick to my stomach to think that it could be something as simple a the meter it self!!! Why could they not have offered that way back when my complaints started. Then like you….I will try to chase down a refund. Please let me know if you have any luck or if you need me to sign a petition.

Reply
    Trish says April 12, 2016

    I’m sooooo glad my post helped you Shelly. the run around was all I got when it come to a refund for my costly over charges. Seems the meters are checked by our federal government while the hydro rates are set by our provincial government. In my opinion that is how they get out of offering solutions to any of us. That’s why I recommend to ANYONE being gouged by their hydro like this to simply change the meter. Go after the refund for sure… and please, do let me know if they gave you a resolve or not. This way others will know from your experience. You’ve made me VERY happy for having shared my dilemma if this saves you the losses I suffered. Thanks for commenting!

    Reply
Frank Bryan says March 8, 2015

Hi, I have same problem, some people in this three story building only pays most 52. 00 a month for hydro, I pay 130.00 dollars a month, I didnt even pay that much when I ran air conditioner in the summer, its funny I use the same thing every day and all my lights are out after 10 pm and my bill is that high. Its funny because some months I only get charged 60 dollars a month for using the same thing I use when its at 130 dollars a month. someone has to look into PUC, they are ripping people off.

Reply
    Trish says March 8, 2015

    Hi Frank,

    I highly recommend you pay the charge noted on the back of your hydro bill to have your meter changed NOW. Do NOT wait, thinking they’ll reimburse you any overcharges. They will NOT.

    Hydro suppliers are NEVER wrong, just ask them (sarcasm intended here).

    It is my belief that the federal department that check meters that are changed for this sort of reason, will always claim there is NOTHING wrong with them. It really is up to the consumer to order (and pay for) a meter change. Believe me, it’s worth the cost just to be free of, not only the overcharges, but the hassles of having to present your case to your hydro supplier. It is my opinion that they do NOT care.

    Reply
Norm Hutton says April 15, 2014

These smart meters may be pre programmed to record usage at a higher rate. Yes they are reading right, but at the wrong settings.

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    Trish says April 21, 2014

    It certainly makes one wonder, doesn't it Norm. The government's lack of care in cleaning this mess up is not very comforting either. Thank you for expressing your opinion. Mucho' appreciated!

    Reply
Arlene says March 27, 2014

I am also outraged at how high my bills have been 3 months in a row! We don't even use all our heaters and we unplug appliances when not in use. I just got off the phone with them. At this point I really do not know what to do. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you can suggest anything in detail.

Reply
    Trish says April 5, 2014

    Hi Arlene,

    Get the meter changed NOW; Do NOT wait!

    Your hydro provider should be able to tell you what your cost will be. I think it was only $85 for Oshawa, but that price may differ between hydro providers.

    If you wait, your costs will definitely be amplified and you will be stuck, like me, trying to prove the metering of your usage as faulty. Save yourself a MAJOR fight for reimbursement of unfair charges and get the meter changed now.

    Have you downloaded my free spreadsheet and entered ALL of your information from all your past hydro bills so you can see for yourself, how high your provider claims your usage is? If not, do yourself a favour and do that a.s.a.p.

    Reply
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