Enough is Enough petition gains Island support across Manitoulin
ONTARIO—When Jacques Ouellette of Marathon started the Hydro One Enough is Enough Facebook group three years ago he never dreamed it would grow into a movement gaining 18,565 members (as of Monday) and reaching customers across Ontario, including many on Manitoulin.
“I started the group because I kept hearing all kinds of stories from people about their rising hydro costs,” Mr. Ouellette told The Expositor. “Now we are holding rallies and standing up. I hope that through the petition, which we plan on presenting at Queen’s Park in Toronto at noon on Wednesday, May 13, people can finally start to get a fair shake. We have members from the Manitoba border to the Quebec border and everyone is standing together.”
Locally, Patti McKenzie and Greg Young are two Island members of Hydro One Enough is Enough who are distributing the petition and working with the group to promote change.
“My husband and I built a new home in Tehkummah with all energy efficient appliances, windows etc., but we noticed that instead of our bills going down compared to our old house, our hydro bills were increasing,” shared Ms. McKenzie. “Hydro One couldn’t give us an explanation. We were calling every month and eventually they admitted that the Smart Meter wasn’t communicating with them and that they were basing our usage on the previous year. We contacted the Ombudsman and a week later Hydro called and sent a service technician to check our meter. Since then, everything has been better, but we write down our usage every day.”
After her year-long battle with Hydro One, Ms. McKenzie came across the Facebook page for Hydro One Enough is Enough and joined.
“Reading people’s stories, I learned we were far from being the only ones,” said Ms. McKenzie. “Everyone is having the same problems across the province—hidden costs, over charging on delivery, Smart Meters not working—and everyone is struggling to pay their hydro bills.”
“We are collecting signatures for the petition which we will present to the government at Queen’s Park at a rally on May 13,”
“We are collecting signatures for the petition which we will present to the government at Queen’s Park at a rally on May 13,” continued Ms. MacKenzie. “I am also drafting a letter asking for support from each of the 4,400 municipalities across the province. Ontarians deserve more than what they are getting.”
“A lot of Island people have learned about the group and joined,” said Greg Young. “The testimonies and horror stories all have a different spin, but the bottom line is that Hydro One isn’t working for them. The billing is a disaster, as everyone knows, and the Smart Meters aren’t working. I keep hearing story after story from people who can’t pay their bills—this has to stop.”
The Hydro One Enough is Enough petition reads: To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Whereas Hydro One rates continue to rise causing undue hardship for Ontario residents, families and business we the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows: by far the major cost associated with our hydro bills is the delivery charge, which is exceeding the price of hydro itself. We demand the removal of all the hidden charges that make up the delivery charge to be replaced with a standard charge, the same for all customers in Ontario that reflects the actual costs of hydroelectric delivery. Regulatory charges are inexcusable and need to be removed. We demand the immediate removal of the HST on hydro bills. No other province in Canada charges HST on what is, and always has been, a necessity. We demand the immediate removal of the debt retirement charge for all customers. The time of use smart metering system is also causing serious problems with everyday life. Faulty meters continue to create over billing issues for thousands of residents. Instead of resolving these over charges Hydro One continues to force payment through harassment and threats of disconnection. Therefore, we demand the removal of all Smart Meters to be replaced with analog meters. We want to be billed a fair and accurate rate for hydro for all customers. And we demand action on this matter immediately.”
Mr. Young said that the petition is quickly gaining support across the Island and is available in Wikwemikong at Petro Zip-Thru Gas Bar, First Tel – Office, Andy’s, Hillside Variety, Lewis Variety, the Wikwemikong Development Commission, Ed’s Restaurant, Karen’s Coffee Mat; Manitowaning at Nack’s; Little Current at Buddy’s Liquidation, Turners of Little Current and K & T Variety; Birch Island at the home of Candace Robin Bowerman (Candy Cakes) and The General Store on Highway 6; M’Chigeeng First Nation at Paul’s Corner Store and Finn’s Gas Bar; Sheguiandah at the Manitoulin Soap Factory and Manitoulin Trading Post; Gore Bay at Central Pharmacy and H&M Mini Mart; Spring Bay at Buie’s; and Mindemoya at Wilson’s Corner Store, Williamson’s Hardware, Island Foodland and Mum’s Restaurant.
As of press time on Monday, Mr. Young reported that Island signatures had already reached over 500.