Westario Power looks to raise rates



By Barb McKay


Westario Power customers could see their rates increase.


The Bruce County-based hydro company has applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to raise its distribution rates, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Last week, the OEB posted a notice in local newspapers, including The Independent, and on Westario’s website, indicating that the average residential customer could expect to see an additional $2.78 on their monthly hydro bill. It noted that other customers, including businesses, could also be affected.


In its notice, the OEB stated that it plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed rate increase. A date and location will be posted in a mail-out to Westario customers. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to apply to the OEB by Jan. 22 if they want to speak at the meeting. Members of the public can also comment by sending a letter to the OEB.


David Leonce, vice-president of operations at Westario, told The Independent last week that the proposed distribution rate increase is directly tied to the Westario’s 2018 capital budget in order to complete necessary infrastructure projects, including replacing aging hydro poles and wiring, upgrading substations and replacing transformers. The capital budget for this year is roughly $4.9 million.


“We want to ensure that we have a system that is safe and reliable, and we try to do it in the most cost effective manner,” he said.


Leonce said there will not be a lot of work happening in Kincardine last year because upgrades were completed last year, including upgrades to substations.