A Sudbury man is worried his whopping electricity bill could make it impossible to sell his property.
When Pierre Bonin bought his Sudbury area cottage five years ago, he knew hydro bills for the property were on the high side — in the range of $800 per quarter.
But he never expected what came in the mail recently.
The first shock was a bill for nearly $4,000.
“I lost my mind,” Bonin recalled. “I said, 'there has to be a mistake'.”
That bill was followed by another for about $2,000.”
Bonin complained to Hydro One, but the only remedy offered so far has been a payment plan.
“I'm at a loss. I'm literally at a loss,” he said.
'I can't even give it away'
Hydro One has been under fire in recent months for problems with smart metres and billing.
Besides facing the reality of paying the bills, Bonin said he's worried about what it's doing to the value of his cottage in the Walden area of Sudbury.
“I can't even give it away. I can't sell my property, even if I wanted to,” he said.
“It's a huge concern for me. You couldn't imagine a prospective buyer going to the bank and the bank saying, 'Congratulations you have been approved on your $750 [a month] mortgage. But how do you intend on paying $2,200 a month in hydro?'”
Since smart metres were installed, Hydro One has been dealing with billing problems and upset customers. The Ontario Ombudsman is investigating nearly 8,000 complaints about Hydro One bills and is expected to provide an update in the coming weeks.
Bonin claims his hydro bills have skyrocketed since his smart metre was installed.
Hydro One claims the installation of smart metres coincided with the implementation of time-of-use pricing, which has increased some people's bills. The utility points to the exceptionally cold winter as a factor as well.
People who have concerns about their hydro bill can ask to have their metre checked by Measurement Canada. The federal agency has received complaints about seven smart metres in the Sudbury area so far this year. All that have been tested so far have been accurate.