As Hydro Bills Continue to Climb, Welland Community Groups are Suffering

WELLAND – Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was joined by MPP Cindy Forster (Welland), as they visited the Welland Curling Club to discuss the impact of skyrocketing hydro rates on the club’s finances and future viability.

“Hydro rates are out of control in this province because of bad decisions made by the Liberal government to privatize more and more of our electricity system,” said Horwath. “Instead of looking after her friends on Bay Street, the Premier should take real steps to help businesses here on King Street, households across Welland, and families throughout the Niagara Region by making hydro affordable.”

Matt Botden, President of the Welland Curling Club, said that the club has already taken advantage of government grants to retrofit the facility with energy-efficient lighting and other initiatives designed to reduce electricity usage, but the cost of electricity bills is still climbing substantially.  “We’ve actually seen our usage go down while our costs keep going up,” said Botden. “We’re trying to keep the ice frozen, there is no way to work that into ‘off-peak’ hours.”

The Curling Club’s bills range from $5300 to $7300 per month during the 7 months of operation, with a total annual bill of over $45000 and increases of 30%. “The increasing electrical bill forces us to take other fiscal measures that impact the our ability to spend in the community,” said Botden. “We continue to do the things needed to keep the club open and available for our community.  Community hubs like the club need to be protected, they are such important pieces of what makes a community like Welland a great place to live. As curlers we think this is the greatest sport for everyone from ages 6 to 96 and we want to be there to offer the opportunity for everyone to try the sport.” added Botden.

“I hear stories like Matt’s regularly from people all over the riding,” said Welland MPP Cindy Forster.  “Hydro rates are too high, they have been for a long time and Kathleen Wynne isn’t doing much about it.  In fact, she is making it worse by continuing to sell-off Hydro One which will drive rates even further up.”

The NDP Leader has been strongly urging the Liberal government and Premier to do the right thing and cancel their plan to sell-off Hydro One because it will only make electricity more expensive for families and put community institutions like the Welland Curling Club out of business.