Moving to the country? Useful tips Part 2 (Garbage Pick up/Hydro/Propane)

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve bought a property in the country and am having to get up to speed on how to get utilities hooked up, among other things. It’s been a challenge!

Hydro. Ottawa Hydro doesn’t extend to my new area, so I had to contact Hydro One. They encourage you to use their website, but it’s confusing. Their online form didn’t recognize my new address so I called, not once, but three times.Each time, I was encouraged to use the online form to avoid a $ 25 service fee.

The first customer service person was annoying, in all honesty. She told me that my address appeared in their database but when she spelled it out, it was spelled incorrectly. I asked her if she couldn’t correct the spelling and she said no, I had to use the incorrect spelling. Sigh.

So I did that and once again, it didn’t recognize my address because (as it turned out) they had the address listed to the township of Beckwith instead of to Ashton, something she hadn’t mentioned.

Once again, I called Hydro One. The second agent couldn’t find my address and suggested I try Ontario Hydro, but I knew it was Hydro One, so I tried again.
The third agent was great. She told me the solution was to hit “update” when the form didn’t recognize my address and then input my new address and save it. So, I set up my move and thought it was all done. I did not want to have paperless billing because I wasn’t sure what my new email address would be and de-selected that option. A few days later, I got a “congratulations!” email from Hydro One telling me they had, by default, switched me back to paperless billing.

I emailed them back at CustomerCommunications@HydroOne.comexplaining why a paper bill would make more sense for the next while but  didn’t hear anything. So once again I called, and was told I could make the change by creating an account and changing my settings, so after much lost time, I did that, and changed my preferences.

A few days later, I got an email from Hydro One telling me that *they* had switched me to paper billing. Anyway, all done now, but it took much longer than it should have, and they really need to fix their website to make it easier to navigate.

Propane. My new heating source will be propane. This is a new one for me, so I called Levac Propane, which handles that area. They have two offices, one in Quebec and one in Perth, but I ended up dealing with the Quebec office, and they were terrific. Crystal Potvin responded first thing the morning after I emailed.

She told me they would switch the account over and to let them know when the levels were down to 25%. I had no idea how to do that so Crystal explained that there is a gauge on the tank under the lid, but that I could pay $ 4/month  to have one installed that lets them see how low my tank is and refill it automatically. There would be a $ 150 installation fee, which they offered to waive. I decided to go with that option because the last thing I want to do in winter is climb through the snowdrifts to read a gauge, and I think it’s well worth it for peace of mind.

Nothing but good things to say about Crystal Potvin  — she was prompt to respond to emails, courteous and patient!

Garbage. I’m used to garbage pick up in the city that takes away the blue box one week, black the next, and green bins every week, but bagged garbage alternate weeks. The nice thing about the country pick up is that they take away bagged garbage every week (the way Ottawa once did). They also handle recycling, but there will be no green bin or composting, which I will miss for sure.

Garbage bags have to be tagged, and these are sent out with your tax bill. If you run out of tags, it costs $ 2/tag to get more from the township. I chatted with one of the folks on the street the last time I was out there and he said they’ve never run out of tags with a family of three, so I think I should be fine.

The current owners said they will leave me their tags. They were also kind enough to request a new blue bin from the township for me because they said theirs was pretty beaten up, but that I will have to call and arrange to pick it up. Apparently, there’s some kind of welcome basket as well for new residents!

Next:  Part 3: all about wells, septic and water treatment systems!

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