Man sues over cottage electricity bills after months without power

Power line

An Ontario man is suing Hydro One after receiving an electrical bill for hundreds of dollars—after spending months without power.

Kip Van Kempen lost power to his cottage on Mazinaw Lake last October when a tree fell on a nearby power line. Hydro One sent technicians to disconnect the line, but power was never restored to Van Kempen’s cottage. Yet when Van Kempen received his bill, he saw hundreds of dollars’ worth of charges for delivery fees. Van Kempen expressed his outrage to CTV News: “If you’re not providing [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?”

Van Kempen says that Hydro One told him that he was being charged for delivery because they provided electricity, even though he was not actually using it. The power line was never repaired, Van Kempen says, in part because his cottage is remote and can only be reached using an ATV or a boat. Nevertheless, he says he tried to have the repairs made to the power line and get the necessary inspections done, to no avail.

Electric bill
Photo by Kip Van Kempen/CTV News
A portion of Van Kempen’s electric bill, showing his electricity usage as zero.

After trying to get Hydro One to cancel the charges, Van Kempen gave up and decided to sue. “Finally, I said, ‘I’m not going to argue with you guys anymore, tell it to the judge,” Van Kempen said.

According to CTV, Hydro One says that customers who do not want to be charged a delivery charge need to cancel their service. Otherwise, customers always receive a flat-rate delivery charge.