-4.8 C
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Hydro rate hike adds 5% to bills


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...

Historical Society Annual General Meeting

The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society of St. Boniface and Maryhill Community was held...


overcast clouds
-4.8 ° C
-3 °
-6.7 °
85 %
90 %
-2 °
-3 °
2 °
4 °
3 °

Waterloo North Hydro is seeking to raise its fee for delivering electricity by 18.5 per cent next May, which would add $69 a year to the average residential bill in Woolwich and Wellesley townships, bringing it to $1,345.

If the 1,100-page proposal is approved by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), it would equal a five per cent increase over the entire bill. It is the first time since 2004 that any major changes have been made to the rates.

“We froze our rates for a while a few years back, now we’re trying to put in a rate increase to play catch-up,” said  Mayor Bill Strauss, Woolwich’s representative on the utility’s board.

Officials at Waterloo North Hydro, which was a non-profit venture that delivered electricity at-cost prior to 2000, echoed the mayor’s comments. They say that the increase in rates would generate $5 million a year, which is necessary to maintain a reliable system of distributing electricity and promoting conservation, and to help pay for a new $26-million head office, slated to open in Dec. 2011 in Woolwich Township.

“[The money is going] back into the business; back in to replacing old assets such as poles, transformers, and lines,” says Albert Singh, vice-president of finance.

He stressed that only a small portion of the revenues would be used to pay for the new building, saying it will be amortized over a 50-year period.

The utility say that the OEB has regulations against making incremental increases in costs each year, which the hydro company would prefer rather than dumping such a large increase at one time on customers.

Under the proposed increase, a bill this time next year will be 12.2 per cent higher than a bill from 2004, which works out to less than a two per cent increase each year, says Rene Gatien, president and CEO of Waterloo North Hydro. But under current regulations, the OEB has determined that companies can only  submit a new cost-of-service study every few years, and in 2011 it will be Waterloo North Hydro’s turn.

“We don’t like the process where we have to catch up all of a sudden, and we have said to our regulator that this isn’t a good way to treat the customer,” said Gatien.

“Folks can understand if we say to them ‘our rate increase is going to be two per cent this year and next year it’s 1.5 per cent.’ They can understand that. When you come along and say 18 per cent, to try and understand the mechanics of how we reached 18 per cent, they don’t care. ‘Why are you hitting me
with 18 per cent?’

“We are the size of Toronto Hydro in terms of the area we cover, and we’re replacing stuff that’s 50 years old. And that’s what we’ve got to continue to do. We’ve got to continue to raise the money and continue to ensure we have a good reliable system.”

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


Strong demand for traditional real Christmas trees can exceed supply

With Christmas just a few weeks away there’s only a short time left to pick out the perfect tree, but what will you choose: real or fake? Many retailers are facing dilemmas that...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Putting the cold on ice with the annual hat and mitten toss at Saturday’s Sugar Kings game

There’ll be no need to wait until somebody scores three goals to toss hats out onto the ice, as the Elmira Sugar...

Answering the childhood question that rolls around at the holidays

Get into the Christmas spirit with a fresh retelling of a classic tale inspired by real events in Elora Community Theatre’s lastest offering.

Jacks fall to second after losing twice over the weekend

Sunday’s lousy weather may not have been to everyone’s liking, but the Wellesley Applejacks might have been the only ones happy...

Kings win another pair, solidify hold on first place

Seven is considered a lucky number. The Sugar Kings likely agree after putting up seven goals twice on route to a pair...

Even those with jobs are increasingly reliant on food banks

An increasing number of full- and part-time workers across Ontario are accessing food bank services, a trend that can be seen in...

Getting drivers to slow down a slow process in Woolwich Township

Traffic issues, particularly speeding, are a frequent source of public complaints received by Woolwich officials. Often more perception than reality, the topic is...
- Advertisement -