The other day, my electricity bill arrived. It totalled $117.93, which on one hand, isn’t too bad, but on the other hand it seemed a wee bit steep given that during the time frame for this bill, neither the heat nor the air conditioning was running on a single day.
So it was that I began to look at my bill a little more closely. It soon resembled a horror story worthy of the Stephen King treatment.
For starters, I noticed I was dinged $4.36 for a so-called “regulatory charge.” I assume Alectra is regulated by some government entity… that I’m already paying taxes to support… so why am I getting double-dinged here by paying a regulatory charge that is Alectra’s responsibility?
But that fee pales in comparison to another line item, namely, a “delivery charge” of $48.26!
Delivery? Doesn’t electricity get to one’s household via electrical wires? Shockers! I had absolutely no idea some guy in a van was showing up in the middle of the night to physically deliver all that electricity to my household. I’ll have to remember to tip him at Christmastime.
And then of course there’s the HST of $15.19. There’s no way the taxman is staying away from this gravy train.
So, to recap: $67.81 of my electricity bill is for non-electrical charges, fees and taxes. That’s more than 50% of the actual bill!
Granted, one can argue that such gouging ’twas ever thus when it came to the electric company. But wait! Recently, there was an insert in my bill. And wow, did it really rub me the wrong way.
The insert read: “Turn your paper bill into nutritious food for a child in need.”
You see, if I go paperless, Alectra is going to act like Santa Claus and feed some hungry children somewhere.
Oh, the altruism!
But as they say down at the carny, let’s not kid the kidders here.
Because the real reason Alectra is doing this so-called act of charity is to further enrich its coffers by saving on postage.
And yet this utility has the audacity to pitch it thusly: “Hey Menzoid – what kind of a sick fat bastard are you? Thanks to you, kids are starving in Africa! All because you insist on us spending 92 cents to mail your bill to you!”
Well, nice try, you energy shysters. I’m not falling for it. I’ll continue to receive my bills old school, via the postman. You want to feed starving children? Take that donation out of your electricity costs. Or the delivery fee. Or the regulatory fee. Or the HST.
By the way, I reached out to the so-called media relations team of Alectra via email. No response. I phoned the hotline a few times, but on each occasion I was met with elevator music; there was no option to speak to an Alectra humanoid or leave a voicemail. I even visited their office in Vaughan, Ont., but a security guard told me that no Alectra employees can leave the safety of their offices due to COVID or something…
You see, the devil is in the details.
I wanted to know how long Alectra planned on feeding the starving kids. A week? A month? A year? And then when the program is over, Alectra will no doubt pocket the saved postage for itself. So, nice try. I’ll continue to receive my bills via snail mail. After all, if this e-billing really catches on, pretty soon we’ll need a campaign to help feed starving letter carriers…