Don’t make hasty decisions on THI, Rolph St.
After reading the Christina Blizzard column entitled “Bill-bungling Hydro One must scrap arrogance” in The Tillsonburg News, Feb. 5/2014, I wish to share my frustration with such issues with Hydro One. It is very apparent upon receiving bills that do not make sense you are going to get very little help calling Hydro One. You will get passed onto several individuals that cannot respond to your inquiry.
When utilizing cost-efficient methods to reduce consumption, Hydro One implements a flat rate for those that did not use enough hydro. That doesn’t make sense to me but I guess that’s business. On top of the flat rate imposed you still pay for the hydro you did use which is insulting to me. The property in question is seasonal and for that reason subject to higher rates than permanent residence sharing the same hydro line since the early 1960s. It appears the province is prepared to have another monopoly business set to dictate rates with no consequences. Do recall we are still paying for the ‘debt’ from Ontario Hydro.
The reason I am sharing my experience is to comment on the article written by Jeff Tribe entitled ‘Sell hydro, buy Rolph Street: Lessif’ in the Jan. 15/2014 Tillsonburg News. The article basically identifies the direction our mayor wishes to take regarding the future of hydro delivery. The mayor identifies a fear that by ‘not selling now, we risk not receiving the value we should be receiving and possibly a premium on top of that.’ The result, a risk of ‘being told who we have to sell to.’
It seems to me Tillsonburg Hydro Inc. serves this community well and can continue to do so. I personally have always been able to get answers to my questions easily and in a courteous fashion. The cost of hydro is competitive in comparison. In fact, if I recall correctly, THI requested a proposed reduction for distribution costs.
To the idea of buying Rolph Street (funding helped by the sale of THI?) in order to eliminate fragmentation, my immediate question is ‘what fragmentation?’ The use of multiple communication methods through a computer or Blackberry eliminates fragmentation issues. there are private individuals and companies that complete all business transactions throughout the world efficiently and effectively without being in the same building.
I personally question the economics behind selling Tillsonburg Hydro if only to fund the purchasing and renovations of Rolph Street School to create municipal offices to house all town staff. Just consider the mall’s central location and the empty store space that already exists. One reason for the municipal offices being in the mall is because it is centrally located and people go there to conduct their daily business.
Les us consider the two articles mentioned previously:
A) The known aggravation experienced by many people dealing with Hydro One. Do the residents in this town, if or when THI is sold to Hydro One, wish to deal with such aggravation and pay more for hydro services?
B) B) I do not believe we need to be reminded of the cost and ongoing burden on the tax levy associated with the Tillsonburg Special Event Centre. Does this municipality really need to purchase another building to renovate simply to house all town employees?
Council should not allow for a hasty decision to be made on the two subjects. Whoever is elected onto council this fall should seriously investigate the short and long-term benefit versus the negative impacts this will have on the tax levy and hdyro cost to the residents of Tillsonburg. Perhaps common sense will enter the conversations and prevail. Congratulations to council for deferring a hydro disposition recommendation and for implementing common sense to this subject by providing for public input.
Regardless, any decision on the two subjects, selling Tillsonburg Hydro and buying Rolph Street School should be considered important enough not to be made prior to the upcoming election. For that matter, obtaining each candidate’s thoughts on the two subjects would be beneficial when it comes time to vote in the fall for council. Perhaps a simple question related to this subject could be implemented on the ballot.
Peter Bryan-Pulham, C.E.T.
Re: “dining table” discussion on THI
Most of us have been listening to reports about the missing Malaysian Flight 370. The number of “experts” who have weighed in with opinions and theories has been a little overwhelming. Most of them are listed as “former” something or other. This apparently gives them a boost on the credibility ladder.
In Tillsonburg we are graced with a dining table discussion by a group of “experts” who are “former” something or others.
My questions are these. Are these the same “experts” who purchased a special events centre for $1 million with no specific plan? Are they the same ones who let our library get to such a condition that it has taken $1.5 million to bring it up to snuff? Are they the same “former” something or others who renovated our community centre and went over budget by $2 million? Are they the same “experts” who led our community into $16 million in debt? (Check it out. It’s all in past council minutes and budgets.)
No, our illustrious former mayors and former CAO didn’t outright claim to be “experts,” but it seems to me they intimated that their collective wisdom is greater than our current council. They expressed “concern council didn’t have access to all pertinent information.” Isn’t that why issues are deferred back to staff? They’re smart enough to know when they need more information and when they don’t.
One of the “former” somethings suggested that having our own hydro company is a bonus in attracting business and industry. Anything I have read says that it’s lower rates that attract business and industry.
But my favourite comment was the one about town debt, that it is “less than 50% of the limit approved by the Ontario government, and therefore at an appropriate level.”
Does that mean we should borrow more? Or that we shouldn’t strive aggressively to pay off what we owe? My personal credit rating may be high, but does that give me reason to borrow or not continue to diligently work at paying off my mortgage or other debt? Most households don’t operate like that, so why should the town?
The participants of the “dining table discussion” said they saw themselves as “vehicles to help bring their understanding of THI to the community “table.” Thank you, gentlemen, but I think I’ll seek my information and understanding from sources other than “former.”
Re: proposed sale of Tillsonburg Hydro.
Tillsonburg hydro users, uncertain how this sale would work out for them, may consider my recent experience as a customer of Hydro One in the Cornwall area.
In August, after the sale of my wife's home near Cornwall, we moved back to my house in Tillsonburg.
In January 2013, my wife's bill from Hydro One totaled $258.72.
In January 2014, for almost exactly the same amount of electrical consumption, our Tillsonburg Hydro electrical bill totalled $103.81.
Based on that experience, Tillsonburg hydro users can expect a measure of sticker shock if their money-making utility is sold.