Keeping the ice from melting in your local arena is a lot more expensive in Ontario than across the border in the state of New York. Thousands of dollars a month more expensive.
Scott McFadden, mayor of the Township of Cavan-Monaghan, Ont., is frustrated over the rising cost of energy and the impact it’s having on his community.
Following a Global News story looking at the effect of skyrocketing electricity costs on local arenas and curling clubs across Ontario, McFadden asked his town clerk to contact arenas in Michigan and New York to see how much they’re paying in hydro costs.
McFadden received a copy of a bill from a similar sized arena in Canton, N.Y. that uses similar amounts of electricity as the arena in his community. The bill shows the cost of providing electricity to the arena in New York is roughly two-thirds of what McFadden’s community pays to operate its local facility. In Cavan-Monaghan, this cost is $11,300 a month while in New York, it’s roughly $7,150 (after conversion from U.S. to Canadian dollars) for the same number of days.
“If you take a look at our bill, of that $11,000 bill, we only have about $850 of actual electricity usage,” McFadden said. “Which comes in at about 1.6 cent per kilowatt-hour.
In fact, when you add the Global Adjustment fee, delivery charges, regulatory fees and taxes, the amount McFadden’s community actually pays for $848 in electricity usage is more than $11,300.
A comparison of the two bills shows that the Needlers Lane Arena in Cavan-Monaghan paid roughly 23.8 cents per KWh in December, whereas the Village of Canton Arena in New York paid 16.2 cents per KWh.
In total, the two arenas used 47,880 and 44,160 KWh of electricity respectively – meaning the Ontario arena used roughly 10 per cent more electricity than the New York arena – but their bills were more than $4,000 apart.
“The problem is, because it’s all hidden and because it’s all not transparent,” McFadden said. “You’ve got the school board, you got the municipality, you got the county, all increasing taxes. So citizens are upset with the local government. But when you actually take a look at the breakdown of these bills, that’s where the money is going.”
In addition to being frustrated over the Global Adjustment fee – a charge that appears on commercial bills in Ontario, but is hidden or built into the per KWh charge for residential customers in the province – McFadden says he and members of his community feel the government has not adequately responded to their concerns.
WATCH: Ontario hydro rates affecting curling rinks
On Monday, McFadden met with Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault in Toronto at the annual meeting of the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association. He says the minister did nothing to assure him prices would decline or that the government will provide badly needed relief to rural communities other than to say an announcement will be coming on delivery fees in the near future.
While McFadden says the minister was certainly listening to the questions brought forward by he and other mayors, he feels the answers they received were unsatisfactory and do nothing to ease the pressure rural Ontarians face over rising energy costs.
“When it comes to electricity it has nothing to do with your ability to pay and more so whereabouts in the province you live,” McFadden said. “If you live in rural Ontario you’re just dinged with massive delivery charges. It’s not a fair and equitable way and it should be divided among all citizens in the province – instead of specifically picking on rural Ontario.”
See for yourself: