North Bay Hydro’s current rate application includes an increase in revenue of 20% over the last delivery charge set in 2015. Inflation in Ontario amounted to 9.2% over the same period.
In 2004, NB Hydro was operated by 35 employees. Today NB Hydro officials have indicated they require 53 employees. This is in spite of the fact that the number of customers has remained virtually the same, the service provided is unchanged and power consumption is down.
The budget includes an average wage package for each of the 13 management personnel of $160,708 per year. This is evidence of what happens when our elected officials fail in their job to protect the financial interests of consumers.
Here are a few of the plain language comments made by intervenors on the evidence presented in the application:
“(We have) been a party to if not every, almost every electricity distribution application over the past 10 years. In that time, it would be hard to recall a more substantive ask with such little evidence in its support.”
“The Applicant is proposing an admittedly large increase in OM&A without any improvement in outcomes for customers.”
“The inaccuracy of this estimate as compared to the actual amounts speaks either to the credibility or competency of management of this Utility.
“And this large ask is not associated with any equally startling incremental responsibility. This Utility is not growing. There are no new significant activities being undertaken.”
“What there is a 100% increase in administrative FTEs (full-time employees) from the four approved for funding in 2015 to eight in the test year.”
“The question for low-income consumers is not whether they will pay their electricity bill. Their question is what will have to be given up to make that payment.”
“Frankly in our view, North Bay Hydro’s new executive management has presented a case of shooting for the stars in the hope the Board will grant it the moon.”
The 2016 Mayor’s Plan obligated ratepayers to pay $20 million to repurchase former Hydro Commission assets they already owned. Hydro customers have been charged over $2 million in interest and still have over $15 million remaining to pay that loan.
During the past few years, the Mayor and council have plundered NB Hydro by changing the shareholder agreement from a sustainable profit basis to a return on equity system costing taxpayers millions of dollars in taxation.
While we await the decision of the OEB in this matter North Bay consumers not only remain at the mercy of city officials treating NB Hydro like an ATM machine but the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of NB Hydro officials.(with apologies to Robin Leach)