Editorial — 31 August 2016

In my mail this week I got an interesting little notice in the mail from Hydro One — the letter was reminding me of how much more electricity I use than my neighbours and that I ought to perhaps consider using less.

Well who could argue against that?

There are some things to consider and perhaps ask yourself before you rush out to buy some pricey LED light bulbs.

I have to be careful here because crafting an argument against conservation seems cold, nihilistic and overly embittered.

Still, it hasn’t been that long since Hydro One’s last very successful province-wide conservation campaign. Do you remember? It was the one where they used their slumping profits resulting from conservation as a justification to appeal to the Ontario Energy Board to raise electricity rates. And it worked.

This monopoly masterstroke forever undermined the validity of appeals to ‘conservation’ in my mind. They took a fragile, increasingly important moral concept that appeals to people’s sense of responsibility to the planet and society — and they used it to screw everybody.

Was this their evil plan from the outset? Likely not, but that’s how it played out. As far as I’m concerned, you only get to make that play once in a generation.

From a far less passionate perspective, consider the question of whether the part of your Hydro One bill over which you have some control is significant enough to justify changing your habits.

Overshadowed by delivery charges, regulatory charges, debt retirement charges and taxes — it becomes clear that for my household, and I expect many others, that trying to be smart about your usage isn’t really benefitting anyone in a substantive way but Hydro One.

I know I won’t be doing them any favours.

— Chris Marchand

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MichaelChristianson

(1) Reader Comment

  1. Chris: Excellent editorial. I was about to write Hydro to ask for someone to check my meter for accuracy. Apparently the only time I am in synch with my neighbours and conserving neighbours is when I am not home in the winter and the thermostat is set at 65 F. The rest of the time I am apparently single-handedly supporting Hydro ONE. Having been a Hydro/Water/Garbage recycler conservationist for almost 50 years, I am constantly astounded by my Hydro bill. As a gardener, I am not happy about my summer water bill, I think there should be some sort of credit system for those of us putting oxygen back into the air, but it is manageable. I can control it. Despite trying to do my heavy Hydro usage on off peak hours, yes, this is how I wanted to spend retirement, doing laundry on weekends again, the monthly bill seems to be getting higher and higher. I expect this month, with the flood to hit an all time high. All those pumps and fans going, I am surprised the meter didn’t spin off the wall.

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