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Still unclear if hydro bills will rise because of ice storm

Toronto Hydro doesn't want to raise rates, but offered no guarantees

The holiday ice storm cost Toronto Hydro close to $13 million and it's still unclear whether or not hydro bills will go up as a result.

CEO Anthony Haines said Thursday that the storm will cost the utility about $12.9 million dollars and the hit comes mainly from labour costs, paying employees from Toronto Hydro and 9 other utilities to work around the clock to get the lights back on.

The utility has been in contact with the city about the increase and on Friday city council will meet to ask the province for financial assistance.

Haines said Toronto Hydro will look at finding a way to keep rates where they are, but couldn't guarantee they won't rise.

"It's my desire that there be no rate increase associated with the restoration program."

Haines announced Thursday that Toronto Hydro has formed an independent panel (including industry experts and city manager Joe Pennachetti) to examine the utility's response to the storm and could come back with recommendations as early as a few months from now.

There have also been questions about whether or not Toronto's hydro wires should be buried underground in order to prevent the situation created during the ice storm.

Haines said burying all of Toronto's 15,000 km of electrical wires would cost about $15 billion dollars and still wouldn't be a perfect system.

"It wasn't that long ago of course last summer when we had floods and we had people asking why electrical equipment is found underground."

At the peak of the storm more than 300, 000 hydro customers were without power, 800 traffic lights were out and 500 wires were down.

Toronto Hydro received more than 374,000 calls during the storm, 100 times the normal call volume and the equivalent of about 6 months worth of customer calls.

75% of customers in the dark got their power back within two days.

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  1. Karl Burgin posted on 01/10/2014 12:51 PM
    Why not make sure that 95% of the people who live in Ontario get a 25% pay hike from their job before we talk about raising rates/taxes/fees for anything?

    All these people are trying to squeeze more money out of us, and yet the majority of people do not have additional income in any form, to be able to afford these.

    First you have Bob Chairelli saying that the first wave of increase rates would be about the price of a double-double (over the next 50 years mind you), for the power-plant screw-up....
    I still haven't heard how much again it's going to increase to cover the OPG insane pension plan blow-outs- let's just play coy, and say its about the price of a BLT bagel combo....
    Now with this next Hydro increase seemingly looming- I'm beginning to run out of Tim Horton's references to compare the rate increases to. Maybe I should move on to the Starbucks menu....
  2. john posted on 01/14/2014 12:03 PM
    of course thay are going to rise the price . thay rise the price if the moon was turned the wrong way . there to stupid to realize that people dont have the money like we used to to pay the bills . this province wil go bankrupted in 2 years the way this is going .
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