Freedom of Information Data Shows Skyrocketing Electricity Bills for Hamilton and Burlington
We have been doing rolling releases for hospitals across Ontario, and the rising costs of electricity that these hospitals face. We received responses to our freedom of information requests for the Hamilton and Burlington area that show the trend continues in that region.
Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington has seen their bills go from $172,923 in 2012/13 to $255,204 in 2016/17. That’s a 47 per cent increase of $82,281.
St Joseph’s and Hamilton Health Sciences had previously released their figures to the NDP through a freedom of information request, although that primary source data does not appear to have been published. We have only been provided with the data for St Josephs.
St Joseph’s saw a 105 per cent increase from six years ago, according to the NDP. We found that since 2012, the bills had gone from $4,826,061.88 to $8,146,757.11 in 2016, which is a 68.82 per cent increase. While part of that dramatic increase was because of a new building, the hospital did see their average kilowatt-hour price jump from 10.2 cents in 2010 to 10.8 cents in 2012, to 16.4 cents in 2016.
We were not provided with data for Hamilton Health Sciences, but the NDP has said that from 2010 to 2016, electricity costs have increased by more than 50 per cent, even though consumption fell by more than a third. Electricity costs for HHS went from $2.6 million in 2010 to $4 million in 2016, while consumption dropped from 35 million kilowatt-hours to 23 million kilowatt hours.
Since our campaign on electricity bills for hospitals began, the government has responded by announcing $64 million in funding for electricity conservation programs at hospitals. Unfortunately, the announcement doubled down on the bad policies that are causing the high rates, like cap and trade and the Green Energy Act.
The government has missed the point, that conservation is not helping hospitals. The data is showing us that even as hospitals use less electricity, their bills continue to climb. Conservation will help hospitals to be more efficient and to reduce their bills, but it won’t get their bills to 2012 levels. Only structural change of the electricity sector can achieve that.