Ontario’s hydro utility is fighting back against a cottage owner who is suing over delivery charges assessed during the almost eight months his property’s power line was disconnected.

Hydro One has submitted a statement of defence in a Durham Region court in which it defends its practices. Delivery charges are “…based on the amount of electricity used by the customer and another component that is a fixed charge, NOT dependent on the customer’s electricity consumption,” reads the document.

But Kip Van Kempen says that’s not what his bill says.

“It was quite specific that it said delivery charge is for the cost of bringing the hydro to your home. And my point is they never brought it to my home. You can’t charge people for what was not delivered.”

He wants reimbursement for the $1,100 in delivery charges he says he was assessed between October 2015 and the end of June this year. The power was disconnected after a storm knocked a tree on to the power line to his Mazinaw Lake cottage, north of Kingston, Ont.

Hydro One was unable to fix the line at the time and it wasn’t until the following June that the cottage had hydro again.

The utility says delivery charges are laid out by the Ontario Energy Board and everyone must pay. Previously, it said a monthly flat-rate delivery charge is assessed if the utility company’s equipment, including the smart meter, is still on the customer’s property and that Van Kempen should have cancelled his service and returned Hydro One’s equipment if he wanted to avoid paying the automatic delivery charges.

“I can understand people’s concerns when it relates to the delivery charge because there’s not a lot of understanding that comes with that,” said Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault. But he says every hydro customer must pay for the wires, towers and smart meters that make up the system.

“If it wasn’t for the delivery charge, we wouldn’t be able to get that power to your home.”

Thibeault did concede that he is considering reworking the definition of delivery charge on hydro bills.

Hydro One is asking the court to force Van Kempen to pay its legal bills.