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Thresholds, Schedules and Hidden Fees – Stay educated to stay ahead

Do you fully read all of your bills each and every month? You would be surprised how many people don't and if you are one of those people that don't, it's time you started! Have you ever looked at all of those little charges here and there on your bills that eventually add up? Do you know what all of them mean? Are they optional or are they mandatory? If you don't know this, it's time to start finding out! Again, you might be surprised how many people pay bills with charges that they do not understand or even have an idea as to what they are.

Let's look at a typical internet bill, you will likely be charged your base rate for your plan, you might be charged for going over your data cap, you might be charged for a model rental, you might be charged some regulatory fees. Have you ever looked? Have you ever asked about them? This is where you need to be an educated consumer, if you don't understand what something is, either look it up online or call the customer service department of the company. Make sure you also understand all of the regulatory fees, rental charges and caps/thresholds. Even ask if the company can waive them. I for one own my own modem so I do not need to pay for the modem rental fee since I bought it out right, would you believe me even after I purchased the modem from the internet provider and called and updated all the information - they still charged me the next month for a modem rental? It's a small fee at less then $5, but why pay for something that you shouldn't be charged for?

The bottom line is be aware of all of your charges, make sure you understand them and why you are being charged. Also make sure if you have caps or thresholds that you know this in advance to ensure you do not go over them.

 

Did you know many Hydro companies charge different prices for electricity depending on the time of day you use it?

hydro-time-of-use

Here is the descriptions of the above picture from my local Hydro website:

  • Off-peak, when demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use the majority of their electricity – nearly two thirds of it – during off-peak hours.
  • Mid-peak, when demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day.
  • On-peak, when demand is highest. The busiest times of day. Generally when people are cooking, firing up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.

This means for winter months, if I use electricity from 7am-11am or 5pm-7pm I will be charged the most. If I use electricity from 7pm-7am I will be charged the least. And of course if I use it between 11am-5pm it will be the medium charge.

Now the cheapest charge (between 7pm-7am) is nearly half the cost compared to if I used it between 7am-11am or 5pm-7pm.

Now right now most people will be asking "yeah, so what?". So what you say? Why don't I plan my main usage between the off hours to save money? For example, running my washer, dryer or dishwasher - typically there is no immediate need to do this, so if I can schedule to do this at the cheapest time, why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't you?

 

The bottom line is be an educated consumer. Also know that most companies know that they can make more money from companies and corporations so they will set certain rules and restrictions around this, make sure you know this and get educated so you can get the most bang for your buck.

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