Ont. man suing over electricity charges for cottage without power
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, September 7, 2016 11:19AM EDT
Last October, a tree fell on a power line leading to Kip Van Kempen’s cottage on Mazinaw Lake, north of Kingston, Ont. Hydro One crews came and cut the tree and disconnected the line but they were unable to repair the power line because of red tape and logistical issues. It took eight months for Hydro One to restore the electricity to the Ajax resident’s all-season cottage. When Van Kempen later received his electricity bill, he said he was stunned.
“At that point the smoke was coming out my ears,” he told CTV Toronto. “If you’re not providing it (electricity) to the building, because you snipped the wires to the building, then you’re not delivering it. How can you charge a delivery charge?”
Hydro One charged Van Kempen hundreds of dollars in delivery fees for the months his cottage was without electricity. The bill even shows his electricity usage per day during those months as zero. The delays in restoring power to the cottage were due in part to the lack of accessibility. Van Kempen’s cottage is only accessible by ATV or boat. He said he tried repeatedly, for months, to make repairs and secure the inspections needed to reconnect the power.
According to Van Kempen, Hydro One is arguing that they provided the electricity and if the customer didn't use it, that’s the customer's problem. Van kempen says the delivery charge is “deceptive and unfair.”
“The arrogance was unbelievable,” he said.
Now, he is suing the utility company for $7,500. He describes his small claims court fight against Hydro One as a David and Goliath type battle.
“Finally, I said, ‘I’m not going to argue with you guys anymore, tell it to the judge,” Van Kempen said.
Hydro One would not discuss Van Kempen’s case because it is currently before the courts. However, in a statement issued to CTV Toronto, Hydro One said that customers always receive a monthly flat-rate delivery charge if the utility company’s equipment, including the smart meter, is still on the customer’s property. Van Kempen should have cancelled his service and returned Hydro One’s equipment if he wanted to avoid paying the automatic delivery charges.
“The fixed charge is not payable if the customer requests electricity service to be cancelled,” the statement said.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Paul Bliss