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Increasing hydro rates a problem for Brockville General Hospital

Increasing hydro rates a problem for Brockville General Hospital
Numbers obtained from the Canadian Tax Payers Federation show that Brockville General Hospital's annual hydro costs have risen nearly $370,000 over the past 5 years.

As families across the province of Ontario struggle to pay hydro bills, a hospital in Eastern Ontario is finding itself in a similar position.

“There are a lot of cost pressures in hospitals,” Brockville General Hospital CEO, Nick Vlacholias said. “Energy is one versus drugs and med-surge supplies but that is one cost measure we’re having to deal with each year.”

Numbers obtained from the Canadian Tax Payers Federation show that Brockville General Hospital’s annual hydro costs have risen nearly $370,000 over the past five years despite efforts to reduce usage by more than 30,000 kilowatt hours.

READ MORE: Ontario electricity companies billed $12.4 million last year to tell customers their power could be cut off

Hospital officials are actively finding ways to reduce energy costs, but for an organization that is already under the microscope for its finances, spending money to save money just isn’t feasible.

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What they have been able to do is install energy-efficient lights, or equipment as older items need to be replaced. As well as a system in the north wing, which turns lights on and off automatically when a room is empty but even those savings are minimal.

“For this particular area, you could probably assume because of lighting, it would reduce our lighting costs by about five per cent,” Brockville General Hospital’s Facilities manager, Kevin Gordon said.

READ MORE: Hydro One seeking rate hike to keep system stable, CEO says

“The government’s disastrous energy policies are making life harder for Ontarians,” Leeds-Grenville MPP and Conservative Energy critic, Steve Clark said in a statement to CKWS TV.

“They have hurt families, businesses and, as the hydro bills at Brockville General Hospital show, our health-care system is not immune,” the statement added.

The hospital’s hydro costs aren’t the only bills due to rise, as a new $162-million hospital expansion is in the works, however, plans call for the new wing to be energy-efficient.