09/25/2014 05:00 EDT | Updated 11/24/2014 05:59 EST

Montreal man’s Hydro bills soar after installation of smart meters

A man from Lachine says that after smart meters were installed in his building, Hydro-Québec tried to charge him five times what he normally pays for electricity.

Bob Aubertin uses Hydro-Quebec's equalized payment plan, paying the same amount each month based on estimated consumption.

When it came time to renew his payment plan, he got a shock.

"Our existing budget was $132.99.  The new one was going to be $534.65,” said Aubertin, who lives on the second floor of a duplex in Lachine.

Aubertin says he was even more shocked by Hydro-Québec's response when he called to complain.

"They said ‘These are the numbers — that's what you have to pay. If you object, go out and hire a master electrician at your cost. Then we will judge whether we send someone,’" Aubertin said.

He hired his own master electrician, who discovered that Hydro-Québec had made a big mistake.

"What they were doing is reading my landlord's meter and charging it to us," Aubertin said.

Hydro-Québec has since acknowledged the problem and reimbursed Aubertin for the cost of the electrician.

Aubertin told CBC News that he’s still upset because he had to take the initiative to find the problem and also wonders how many other Hydro-Québec clients might be having the same problem and not even realize it.

Hydro-Québec told CBC News it will respond later this morning.