Hydro Protests Continue with Support from Landowners

On Friday, April 4, 2014 at noon, a large crowd of angry ratepayers gathered in the parking lot of MPP Bob Charielli’s office. They came from all walks of life but were tied together by a common thread. They all pay Hydro bills and they were all upset at the treatment many have received from this corporation. The crowd of between 200 and 300 spilled onto Carling Avenue and the police were there to keep everyone safe and make sure the drivers were aware of this public demonstration.

Standing on the back of a landowner cattle truck, a megaphone was used by the many speakers who addressed the crowd. Tom Black president of the OLA, Beth Trudeau and Kim McConnell, president of Canadians for Language Fairness as well as many other groups, waved their signs for all to see and gave great speeches. A steady stream of honking cars passing the crowd, gave a moral boost to everyone and a great acknowledgement that this was a problem shared by all.

Beth Trudeau and other upset Hydro customers have joined forces and have started comparing their hydro bills amongst each other. Although Trudeau is upset at her bill of $250 per month, she feels sorry for many of the farmers and other Hydro One customers who face huge increases with no explanation. Roger Touchette said his hydro bill for his Orleans townhouse was $920 which was more than his monthly disability pension and he is worried that his power will soon be cut off.

Although it was a very cool April with a mean wind, this did not dampen the spirits of anyone. People from Navan, Cumberland and Vars joined in along with residents of urban Ottawa, Goulbourn and West Carleton. People also came from Leeds and Grenville as well, to show their support for this rally and to voice their outrage at this out of control, company called Hydro One.

Ottawa was not alone in the protest. There were many communities across Ontario that took part in rallies for cheaper hydro rates. In Lindsay, a group of 80 or more people showed up at Victoria Park to show their anger at their growing hydro bills. There were many stories of impossibly high hydro bills. One senior used insulated board to block off parts of the house so they can keep warm and save money and many were upset with the delivery charge rates, explaining that these rates were often as high as their usage charges. The debt retirement charge is also a sore point. Lower income seniors on a fixed income are very concerned about whether the choice will be to eat or heat? Like the demonstrations across the province, the peaceful protesters waved their signs at the passing motorists who showed their support by honking their horns. Perhaps the views of Hydro One can be summed up by what one Hydro representative told a customer when he complained about the high cost, well “that’s the price you pay for living in a rural area.”