The Mayor of Oshawa is keeping a close eye on streetlights.
John Henry says the cost of powering streetlights illustrates how out of control Global Adjustment Fees on hydro bills have become.
He compares a month in 2015, to a month in 2016.
In 2015 the streetlight bill showed the cost of actual power used was just under $3,700. The Global Adjustment on that was about $62,000.
By the time other fees were added in the bill came to just over $151,000.
About a year later, the power used in one month comes to just over $3,000, but Global Adjustment Fee has jumped to $91,000.
All in, the bill comes to more than $221,000.
“That’s a $70,000 increase,” pointed out Henry.
In response, the Minister of Energy said he’d be happy to help Oshawa reduce power consumption.
“There’s many programs out there they could be looking at,” said Glenn Thibeault.
According to Henry they’ve already reduced consumption through things like changing to LED bulbs.
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“We have gone out and done all the right things but our bills continue to go up,” said Henry.
Many things can’t be changed.
Keeping pumps going in the public pools, and the ice frozen at the rinks are a 24 hour drain on power. All in the city’s electricity costs are up by $3 million this year.
According to the mayor, power bills are also costing jobs. A year ago GM moved Camaro production from Oshawa to Michigan, where Henry says they get cheaper Ontario power.
“With the cost of energy we are forcing companies to move out,” said Henry.
But Thibeault said sometimes hydro customers outside Ontario do pay market rates, and that means profit for the province.
“At the end of the year our balance sheet shows that we actually make $230 million in revenue,” he said.
But it doesn’t add up for Henry.
“The tax payers have to pay their own bills, the municipal bills, the regional bills.”