Power bills go up, despite blackouts

James McLeod
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If you thought that all the power outages meant that you’ll be a getting a bit of a break on your electricity bill this month, then you might be in for a nasty shock.

That’s what happened to Dan O’Rourke, who opened his bill to find that it had jumped by 56 per cent from the month before.

He thought it must be wrong, because he’d kept the thermostat steady, and tried to conserve power during the rolling blackouts. Just like nearly everyone else, he said he got hit with multiple blackouts in the past few weeks.

“This is nuts,” he said.

He called Newfoundland Power, but he was told that the number on the bill is what he had to pay.

“I spoke (to them) twice, and the two of them have got the same excuse: It’s cold out, and your Christmas lights are running up your light bill,” O’Rourke said.

He said when the utilities were asking people to conserve, he had one night light on in the bedroom because he uses a walker, and a light on in the living room, and that’s about it.

His neighbour in Pouch Cove, Pauline Lavoie, said her power bill jumped from $295 last month to $544 this month.

She said she wants answers from Newfoundland Power, too.

“I was expecting it to be more, but not that much,” she said. “We have two heat pumps in, right? And they say they’re supposed to be efficient.”

Newfoundland Power spokeswoman Michele Coughlan said the outages were a relatively small part of the past month, but the bitterly cold temperatures have a much bigger impact on power bills.

“Particularly with the rotating outages, you know, the power was off for an hour at a time,” she said. “It’s not going to have a big impact on your overall monthly bill.”

On the other hand, Coughlan said, the wind and the cold temperatures really cause houses on electric heat to draw a lot more juice from the system.

“When people are experiencing outages, obviously they’re not using energy. Really, the impact on the December bills that we’re seeing are resulting from that extremely cold temperatures,” she said. “We really, basically, had winter in December this year. You know, we had several early December storms.”


Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Newfoundland Power

Geographic location: Pouch Cove

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Recent comments

  • Geough
    February 21, 2014 - 16:55

    Just did some research on this and found this article. My bill in January went to $517 (from $260 in December) and now in February it's $458. The highest bill I paid last winter (in March) was $310. Not happy.

  • Brian
    February 02, 2014 - 21:35

    I say the folks In Ontario that lost power for weeks must have the same problems with there power bills...??.?

  • Mike spike
    February 01, 2014 - 15:15

    My bill doubled from November to December but I was expecting that but people burning wood or oil and still have their bill doubled!!!! Give me a break, the fridge don't care if it's 10 degrees or minus 100. If I were in that situation I would refuse to pay until I got a explanation instead of all these stupid excuses

  • Elms
    January 17, 2014 - 06:43

    I too was faced with an alarming extra $260 from my last bill, I was shocked to open my NL Power bill to see an amount if $935 due!! My power was gone for 36 hours straight during the outage not counting the rotating outages and for 24 days out of the 30 I was here alone as opposed to 2 other ppl being here showering and using electricity the month before. I have. Wood fireplace AND a propane fireplace that I used all month not to mention our cooktop stove is also propane! Last month I also turned down all the heat in any rooms that were not being used and closed the doors, I turned the thermostats down and used propane and wood for heating and made sure to turn off all the lights to conserve energy, I can not understand how after doing all if this my power bill went up over $250!!

  • sharon
    January 16, 2014 - 21:03

    my bill also went up but I was told that for the safety of their workers due to the srorm they did estimated my bill.

  • Peggy
    January 16, 2014 - 16:32

    Well I got my bill and it increased by $225 from my December bill to my January bill...I only use wood heat so there is definitely something wrong

  • wtf
    January 16, 2014 - 13:38

    The recent power bill also includes the time from before Christmas and the deep freeze that hit us and maybe the black out period. Of course it went up in comparison to the Nov/Dec period. It's been doing that every year.

  • James
    January 16, 2014 - 13:07

    1-3 days without power or efforts to conserve over the same period will make no difference at all in your overall bill. Your heaters work that much harder on the rebound to reheat. Unlike the traditional +10c to minus 2c range for a normal December we were subject to unusual late January temperatures - thus reflected in your light bill. As Amy says - I too have a wood burning stove as a primary source of heat - I doubled my wood burning amounts this past December.

  • Mitch
    January 16, 2014 - 12:53

    Our electricity bill went from $90 in November to almost $400 in December. Our house has a downstairs apartment with a separate electricity meter. So our $400 bill was to heat and light only half the house for one month.... Doesn't seem right if you ask me. Suspicious...

  • Mitch
    January 16, 2014 - 12:52

    Our electricity bill went from $90 in November to almost $400 in December. Our house has a downstairs apartment with a separate electricity meter. So our $400 bill was to heat and light only half the house for one month.... Doesn't seem right if you ask me. Suspicious...

  • Guy Incognito
    January 16, 2014 - 12:51

    Why would anyone expect their bill to be lower? December was record breaking cold. People were cranking their heat all month. Any saving through power outages would have been more than cancelled out. That being said, - NL power and hydro are incompetenet - electric heaters are horribly inefficient.

    • really
      January 16, 2014 - 18:31

      But very PROFITABLE

  • Mitch
    January 16, 2014 - 12:48

    Our electricity bill went from $90 in November to almost $400 in December. Our house has a downstairs apartment with a separate electricity meter. So our $400 bill was to heat and light only half the house for one month.... Doesn't seem right if you ask me. Suspicious...

  • Peggy
    January 16, 2014 - 11:28

    My bill went up to $580., thats $225 more than last month and I use wood as my source of heat so there is definitely something wrong

  • Amy
    January 16, 2014 - 10:54

    My main source of heat is a wood furnace, and the amount of wood we went through for the month of December was unreal, which does make sense that people with electric heat would in fact use so much more power.....my meter was read and my bill date was for 35 days, in this period my Christmas lights were lit maybe 90% of the time and one day with the power gone, and my bill went up only $45....to me, this sounds about right...but I am very happy right now that I'm not faced with a $500+ light bill for December either!!!

  • fogNL
    January 16, 2014 - 10:03

    I really wish I owned a business where I can charge people whatever I want after the service has been provided. Or better yet, "estimate" what they owe me. What a joke. I went on vacation for almost all of November, had everything turned off in my house, heaters off, the only thing left on was my fridge. Guess what? Power bill was over doubled from October. You tell me that they charge by actual energy usage? No frackin way. They charge what they think you should pay.

  • Bursey
    January 16, 2014 - 10:01

    So basically we give NL power a break and conserved energy use during their difficult time, however when it comes to giving the end user a break.........its basically screw you does that seem right????

  • Anne Hoskins
    January 16, 2014 - 09:35

    I think the extra money from the hike in the power bill will go to the workers who had to work long hours in very unpleasant weather conditions.

  • Churchill
    January 16, 2014 - 08:24

    Of course the bills are going to be higher, it was much much colder than usual this December. The power was gone for less than 24 hours for most poeple, about 3% of the month. Even when the power came back on, your heaters had to work much more than usual to warm everything back up.

    • scott
      January 16, 2014 - 09:35

      Mine almost Doubled =I use OIl for heat--no xmas lights or even a tree this year ### so Rip off somewhere

  • Anon
    January 16, 2014 - 07:40

    Shouldn't be long before the tinfoil hat crowd come in now blaming muskrat falls.

    • judy
      January 30, 2014 - 20:32

      Same thing happen to me--it doubled and i use Oil as main source ---I email them--they got right back to me With Excuses -must been xmas lights --which i told him in email -i had no xmas lights or a tree this yr //First yr without my mom --so theres something going on here ---Should have called the Media