Wednesday, May 14, 2014



A not-so-funny note from the Happy Hermit, Gary Dunford, one of the wittiest men ever to write for Toronto newspapers.
His commentary on my blogs about Hydro One's killer charges gently reminded me that I am lucky compared to some monthly bills larger than the mortgage payments hitting homes in communities like Barry's Bay that were silly enough to believe all that malarkey about the charms of electric heating.
Dunf says he keeps a very economical fire going all winter to stop the bloody baseboard heaters from coming all the time, yet his Hydro bill for December was $815. It was $736 in January and $810 in February.
Of course, he writes sarcastically, that is after the provincial "aren't we being good to you" discount.
 No wonder his section of the piney woods is so up in arms over thousand dollar a month Hydro bills that there have been 35 smaller communities that have had protest marches, meetings and angry campaigns against the fat cats of Hydro One.
There was a wonderful example of rude humour by two women in Killaloe who have got plenty of publicity for a billboard in their front yard reading: "Hydro One: You didn't even buy us dinner first."
Dunf suggests that I wasn't nearly tough enough on the half-apology half-promise-to-do-better letter that Hydro One head Carmine Marcello sent out in February, one that had no phone number or street address, just a post office box.
Of course Marcello has been around a very long time at Hydro One, surrounded by one of the largest and most expensive PR and ad crews in the country. Natually they would want to reduce irate response flowing right back into Marcello's teeth that if he had done a better job of planning and in his other botched fuse jobs over the years, Ontario wouldn't be in this mess today.
Marcello is paid so much, the Sunshine list of exorbitant public salaries only list him at half a million a year. But the NDP put it at over a million dollars once we include his perqs and the huge bonus he must get for stealing more from Ontarians that any electronic vampire in the history of this province since Sir Adam Beck started our once wonderful and praised system of public electrification.
Dunf writes: "Didn't this particularly big kitty help put Hydro in the catbird seat as Ontario's chief extortionist? Apology not accepted."
Amen, brother!
This is why I think that in a lot of humble polls come provincial election day, there will be plenty of people like me who when they mark their X will imagine they're actually pulling a big off switch on Hydro One and the Ontario Liberals.
The two outfits are bound to stand out in our histories as examples of how not to operate. There are few cabals since Upper Canada days that have so screwed the public. And like those good ladies in Killaloe, we didn't even get a bad dinner first. And with the spasmodic service Hydro offers, there are too many days when you don't even have power to cook your own.
The revolt against Hydro One's prices and attitude may be rooted in cottage country and in the smaller towns -  the big cities are maddest at the lousy service, especially in emergencies - but Big Business is mad too.
Magna is doing incredibly well, and it's doubling of its stock price in recent months almost makes up for us having to put up with the Stronachs. Magna's plants are all in Ontario but now the parts giant will build elsewhere. It is following other countries like Xstrata which shifted the processing of its ore from Timmins to Quebec.
A survey by the corporate giants in Ontario who consume a lot of power finds that Ontario's rates are higher than those in competing states and provinces.
Tragically, the reason there is a statue to Beck on University Ave. is because he made Ontario successful by founding the provincial power system when in the States, for example, private companies were getting fabulously rich by charging higher rates than in Ontario.
Hydro One may have adopted a new name but it can't hide from the fact that it's been screwing all of us and not just two ladies in the nicely-named Killaloe for decades.

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