Ontario Hydro Rates Make Retirement Planning Pointless

Sometimes I think there’s no point in planning for retirement. I think it would be better just to save everything humanly possible and hope for the best. Today’s announcement in Ontario of the new (increased of course!) hydro rates are just one example of why planning for retirement seems pointless.

My Cost of Living Increases Always Exceed “Their” Cost of Living Increases

Every time I read one of those articles in the Star, the Globe or the Post that review someone’s finances and their retirement readiness, I see them use “2 %” for inflation. When I look at the government of Canada’s monthly inflation updates (courtesy of the Big Cajun Man) I see numbers around 0.7-2%.

So why when I flip open the newspaper do I read that Ontario’s hydro rates for all 3 times of use are going to increase by 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour starting November 1?

According to the Toronto Star that’s about a 3% increase in the cost of hydro for that never-seen-like-Bigfoot “average” customer.

That’s 1% over the planned inflation for the *year.* And this is not the only increase we’ve had this year. The rate for off-peak went up 0.2 cents in May, mid-peak went up 0.5 cents, and on-peak went up 0.6 cents. Yes, that’s right: off-peak rates are up 14% since Nov 1 last year!

No problem, you are probably thinking. I’ll just move even more of my electricity usage to the “off peak” time period. That almost looks like the worst thing you could do.

According to that same article, the price of off-peak power is increasing 7.5%, versus 4 and 4.8% for on-peak and mid-peak. (OK, you’re right. On a total $$ paid basis, it’s still much better to use power during the off-peak times. Beware of percentages: they may not be telling you what you think they are saying.)

Hydro Increases are Not the Only Ones that are “Above Average”

It’s not just hydro that does this to me.

  • Property taxes are up 4 % this year.
  • Water is up 6.9% even though we’ve used the exact same number of m3. (We pay for waste water and infrastructure based on how much water we use.)

Since Planning for an Actual Cost of Living in the Future Is Almost Impossible, I’ll Save More

Given that I can’t predict or control the increases in cost for the things I more-or-less have to buy to survive, I won’t even try. I’ll just ramp up our savings a little bit higher and hope for the best.

Join In
What’s your strategy to deal with this kind of mis-match between actual inflation and the government’s published rate of inflation? Please share your views with a comment.

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5 thoughts on “Ontario Hydro Rates Make Retirement Planning Pointless

  1. Pingback: Canadian Personal Finance News | October 2013 | A Listly List

  2. My costs always seem to go up and my wage doesn’t.

    I do take advantage of electricity time of use. It is 10:00 am and I am on my laptop. I charged the battery yesterday, Sunday, when the rates were lower.

    I wanted to do laundry today but I past 7:00am so it will have to wait for another day.

    I wish there was an exact number that we would need to retire.

    • We try to watch the time of use rates, too. Although I find the whole idea rather offensive. Why is it ok to raise the rates for, say, air conditioning during the daytime for seniors who have trouble regulating their body heat, just because industries and offices are using so much electricity it’s straining the grid to deliver it? (Domestic use isn’t the problem; it’s all of those offices with a/c set at 65F so that people can/have to wear wool suits even in the summer!)

      I think if we knew the exact number we need to retire we might all have a heart attack! I keep reminding myself that most of my older relatives retired with much less than we will have, and somehow they managed. Most of them didn’t have any pensions at all because they were farmers and fishers (but not landowners or ship owners.)

  3. Pingback: Energy Costs Rise As The Temperature Drops, British Interest Rates And Money Quickies For October 23,2013 | Solving The Money Puzzle

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