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Hydro rate hike plan gets thumbs-down response


become part of the rate increase plan later on. Starting next year Hydro One wants to increase the residential power rate by $2.79 each month, using 750kWh a month as the average residential user amount. Following years until 2022 would see further residential rate increases of $2.47, $2.31, $1.95, and $2.23 a month. The company also plans to lower its delivery charge for electricity during that same period. Rockland was one of nine sites for the series of public hearings that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) requiredHydro One to hold as part of its application for approval of the rate hikes plan. The dates and locations for the hearings were listed through the OEB website and ads about it were placed in se- lect newspapers. Media were informed about the hearings through the CanadaNewsWire service, if they were subscribers. Danielle Mantha was one of about two dozen people who knew about the Rock- land public hearing and attended. During a phone interview following themeeting, she expressed disappointment that the turnout was not larger but she also noted that all of the comments directed at Hydro One of- ficials present were complaints about both the proposed rate hike and the company’s past history of customer service. “There was nothing positive,” she said. “They (people attending) were all saying how stupid it was (rate hike) and that Hydro One deserved an audit by an independent board.” Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjar- dins expressed skepticism during a phone interview about the real value of Hydro One’s rates and delivery charge proposal to the OEB. He agreed that the delivery charge reduction during the five years would be greater than the rate increases that Hydro One proposed.The question, themayor ob- served, is what happens after the five years have passed if Hydro One decides to restore the delivery charges to their original levels. “Our (hydro) bills could look smaller for a few years,” he said. “But one day we’re going to pay the piper.”

The turnout was not as big as some might have liked for a public hearing session in Rockland about Hydro One’s plans for a five-year plan for rate increases. But the response so far seems very negative for the power outfit’s proposal. “Tome, it’s too high for the rural section,” said Jean-Marc Lalonde, who attended the hearing as a private citizen. While he is now back on Clarence-Rock- land city council as the Ward 1 councillor, Lalonde spent years, when he was the Liberal MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, in a continuing battle with Ontario Hydro in its various personas concerning the electricity rates in the province. He also was a constant critic of the provincial power corporation planning, or lack of planning, on the priority needs for Ontario’s power market. SFX student honoured Aimée Headland of St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Hammond was singled out for special recognition at the June 20 session of the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. Trustees approved a Certificate of Appreciation for Headland for her achievement as a part of the Great Britain U18Women’s Hockey Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Poland, earlier this year. Headland played as a forward in all of the team’s games and on the team’s first line and its power-play and penalty-killing lines. She scored the first goal for Great Britain during the tournament and earned five international caps. – Gregg Chamberlain Le CEPEO adopte son budget Le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’est de l’Ontario (CEPEO) a adopté un budget équilibré de 244 M$ pour la prochaine année scolaire. Le budget comprend une augmentation des effec- tifs de 2,2 %, soit l’embauche de 33 employés supplémentaires afin de soutenir la croissance des élèves et mieux appuyer les écoles. De plus, le budget comprend le financement de 1,9 M$ pour les priorités locales, afin d’appuyer les régions dans la dotation en personnel et pour les élèves ayant des besoins particuliers, un appui ponctuel de 770 000 $ en matière de développement professionnel du personnel ainsi qu’un investissement de 1,5 M$ pour l’achat d’outils technologiques au service de l’apprentissage. Par ailleurs, le CEPEO prévoit l’ouverture d’une nouvelle école dès septembre. – Vicky Charbonneau

HydroOne souhaite obtenir l’approbation d’un plan quinquennal afin d’augmenter les tarifs des collectivités qu’elle dessert. Cette proposition ne s’est pas révélée populaire lors de l’audience publique du 20 juin, tenue à Rockland. -photo archive

Lalonde noted, during an interview after the meeting, that when his turn came to pose questions to Hydro One officials, he attacked the power corporation for its con- tinuing failure to ensure an adequate hydro supply capacity situation for municipalities like Clarence-Rockland, so that they do not lose out on possible economic development opportunities. “There isn’t enough (capacity) at the pres- ent time,” Lalonde said, adding that the city has lost out in the past on some potential major development projects because it could not guarantee an adequate power supply for the ventures. Lalonde noted that two recent develop- ments in Rockland—the SmartCentre com- mercial plaza at the west end of town and the Canadian International Hockey Academy at the east end—became reality only because the city was able to arrange for extension of hydro supply lines from the provincial grid Correction The June 22 edition of the Vision included a sum- mary of Rockland District High School awards of merit for the 2016-2017 term. Arts student Hazor Koragul was omitted by mistake. We regret the error. – Gregg Chamberlain

to the sites for those projects. One possible solution to the situation, Lalonde observed, would be to allow devel- opers, where possible, to include erection of solar power arrays as part of their develop- ment plan. The arrays could then provide an extra independent source of energy to development. Lalonde noted that he had to pose that solution twice during the June 20 public hearing before Hydro One officials present agreed that it could be a possibility. While Lalonde and others raised ques- tions and criticisms about Hydro One’s supply guarantees for electricity, the main focus of the hearing in Rockland was on the company’s proposed five-year plan for raising power rates. Residential customers are the main target of the proposal though commercial and industrial customers could

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The Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena was the scene for an indoor barbecue party June 22 which the City of Clarence-Rockland hosted to show its appreciation to both city staff and all of the volunteers who turned out to help deal with the recent flooding of the Ottawa River crisis. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

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