How much can a renter expect to pay for electricity in Downtown Toronto?

Back in January 2016, my pregnant wife and I moved in to a new 2 bedroom apartment at 100 Wellesley St. East in Toronto. Soon after, we got our first full electrical bill: it was a $327 surprise.

This was very different from the $36/month bill at the 1-bedroom downtown apartment we just left.

This post is about sharing our real electrical bills with you. To show what an ordinary downtown renter could expect to pay.

We wish that we had known about the size of the electrical bill ahead of renting our apartment. As renters, we have zero choice in electricity providers – the company that set up a building’s original submeter wiring gets to set whatever renter fees it wants, and it is a “take it or move elsewhere” type of arrangement.

A Sample Bill

Here is an example of the type of charges that appear on a typical electrical bill (nubmers are from Jan 1, 2017 to Feb 1, 2017).
Hover over the “Charge” item with your mouse to see the explanation Wyse’s website gives for the charge.

Type of charge Amount
Delivery for 01/01/17-02/01/17 69.78
Electric Customer Charge for 01/01/17-02/01/17 0.06
Energy Charge for 01/01/17-02/01/17 51.59
Energy Charge 2 for 01/01/17-02/01/17 173.97
Regulatory Charges for 01/01/17-02/01/17 12.56
Service Delivery Fee for 01/01/17-02/01/17 21.66
HST # 832218960 RT0001 for 01/01/17-02/01/17 41.09
SSS Admin Charge for 01/01/17-02/01/17 0.26
Wyse HST for 01/01/17-02/01/17 3.96
Electric Meter for 01/01/17-02/01/17 4.37
Electric Meter 2 for 01/01/17-02/01/17 4.38
Line Loss Adjustment for 01/01/17-02/01/17 7.81
8% Provincial Rebate for 01/01/17-02/01/17 -25.27
8% Provincial Rebate – Wyse for 01/01/17-02/01/17 -2.43
Total $363.79

When signing the rental agreement, we paid a one-time $20 account setup fee and an energy deposit of $75.

Total Monthly Electricity Bill

Here is a graph that shows the total monthly electricity bill that we received in each month. Note that electrical charges for winter and spring are much higher than for summer and fall.

Late fees, and one-time setup charges were removed from the total.

It is great that Wyse provides an online portal that lets us download detailed billing and usage data. The raw bill data, as well as daily electricity consumption data is available in this Excel file for your reference:

2017-07-24 Wyse utility readings.xlsx

Note: we moved into the apartment on Jan. 20, 2016. Before that, there was some work being done by contractors. Because of that, the first “normal” month of usage will be February – the bill for that usage will appear in the chart above under “March”.

Daily Electricity Usage

Below is a graph showing daily electricity consumption for our apartment. The data goes back only as far as part of July 2016.

Attempts at Reducing the Electrical Bill

In attempt to reduce our whopping winter bills, we tried the following:

  • Up to about April 2016, we left our heat on even when we were away from the apartment. After that time, we started turning off the heat when we left.
  • Acquiring 2 oil-based space heaters, and using them instead of the AC units connected to the thermostats.
  • On Sept. 11, 2016, we bought heat insulating curtains for the large windows in the living room. The idea was to prevent heat leakage through the glass.
  • Sometime around January 2017, I taped any cracks in all windows using insulating tape. I also taped the edges of the balcony door with insulating foam tape.

Unfortunately, despite all the extra expense and work we put into saving energy, our electrical bills were even higher in 2017 than they were in 2016.

The 2017 bills for May, June and July were higher than in the previous year. This might be due to the fact that the 2016 and 2017 bills cover different date ranges (April 15-May 16 in 2016, April 1-April 20 in 2017). It is possible to get weather data for that timespan from the government of Canada and compare downtown temperatures. A quick look at the May data shows that, indeed, days in the 2017 billing span were colder than in the one in the billing span for the previous year.

Basic Information About Our Unit

The company serving this apartment building is Wyse Meter Solutions.

Our unit is electrically heated, is submetered, and is hooked up to 2 meters. That means that we have 2 thermostats that we can use to heat/cool the unit as much as we wish. We are billed directly for our own electricity consumption.

We do not have any unusually electricity hungry appliances. Just the standard fridge, microwave and oven. The fridge is old and may be less efficient than average.

The unit is a 2 bedroom corner unit. That means that 2 sides of the unit have walls that are exposed directly to the outside, and an additional wall of the Master Bedroom is shared with the emergency stairwell – which is colder than the corridor. This kind of unit would have higher heating costs than a unit in the middle of the building. That kind of unit would have only 1 wall facing the outdoors.

Proof – electrical bill pictures

For reference, here are pictures of the electrical bills who’s data I analyzed in this post:

Now share your story…

How does your electrical bill compare to what you’ve seen above?

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