Hydro One – Turning Electricity Into A Luxury One Bill At A Time

A fictional conversation with a Hydro One representative.

(Recording): Your call may be recorded for quality purposes.

HO Rep: Hydro One how may I help you?

Me: Hi. Yeah, I’m just phoning about my hydro bill.

HO Rep: That’s great. Is there a problem?

Me: Yes. I’m just wondering why my bill is so high this month.

HO Rep: Well sir due to the market and the cost of producing hydro in Ontario we were forced to raise our rates to compensate.

Me: But you just raised the rates a few months ago.

HO Rep: I know sir but in order to supply Ontarians with dependable electricity we have to raise prices in line with costs. Sir, I hear your frustration and I understand your concern so I’m going to mail you some helpful information on things you can do to lower your energy costs.

Me: Ok. Because this is ridiculous.

HO Rep: I’m sorry you are so frustrated. I’m sure the brochures will help. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Me: No. Thank you.

HO Rep: Your welcome sir. Thank you for calling Hydro One.

(4 months later)

(Recording): Your call may be recorded for quality purposes.

HO Rep: Hydro One how may I help you?

Me: Yes. I called about my hydro bill a few months ago and you sent me some brochures on how to lower my costs.

HO Rep: And did it help?

Me: Well at first it did and even though it was a little inconvenient I was happy that we could lower our bills.

HO Rep: That’s great. So what can I do for you today?

Me: Well the problem is that you raised the hydro rates again and I’m paying more now after cutting back than I was before!

HO Rep: I’m terribly sorry sir but as a result of many people in the Province cutting back on their usage we experienced a drop in revenues and we were forced to raise the rates in order to remain commercially viable.

Me: But you told me to use less of your product! How can you tell me to use less and then charge me more for doing what you told me to do?

HO Rep: Well sir we do have to make money.

Me: But you told me . . . (sigh) 

HO Rep: It’s not all bad sir. Because so many people were conserving we had a surplus of energy last month that we were able to sell to some other customers that needed it.

Me: You had a surplus? So if you had a surplus then you should have been able to offset your costs and given a discount to Ontarians. 

HO Rep: Well not exactly sir. We sold the surplus energy to other out of Province power generators at a loss. 

Me: (silence)

HO Rep: Sir? Are you still there?

Me: So let me get this straight. You as a for profit company tell your customers to use less of the product you are selling. Because they need money for trivial things like food and shelter they comply and do so in such large numbers that you end up with a surplus which according to the laws of supply and demand should result in a cost reduction to your customers, but instead of rewarding your customers you decide to raise the rates because your revenue stream has dropped and they have no where else to go for electricity. Then you take the surplus and sell it for less than cost to hydro generators elsewhere so they can pass off the savings to their customers. Is that about right?

HO Rep: Yes sir. (last thing Rep hears is a loud noise as the phone, now airborne, suddenly decelerates from hitting the wall on the far side of the room.)

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” P.T. Barnum