Sault Area Hospital hydro bill up nearly $1M, forcing layoffs

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The hydro bill at the Sault Area Hospital has jumped nearly $1 million at the same time as the Wynne government has frozen hospital funding – and that pressure is leading to front-line health care cuts.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP candidate in the upcoming by-election City Councillor Joe Krmpotich were in Sault Ste. Marie Monday to address the concern, which was revealed in documents the NDP obtained via access to information laws.

“The pressure from skyrocketing hydro bills and frozen hospital budgets has already led to frontline workers being laid off, and longer wait times for diagnostic tests like MRIs or CT scans,” said Horwath. “It’s clear that hydro costs are hurting families in more ways than one – it’s hurting people every month when the bill comes, but it’s also hurting the services we count on, like hospitals, schools and city services like community centres.”

Over four years, from 2011 to 2015, the hospital’s total annual electricity consumption has stayed the same, yet the total billed amount for hydro has risen to $2.7 million from $1.8 million – an increase of 45 per cent.

“The hospital staff and administrators are doing the best they can, but what they are being forced to deal with is just mind boggling,” said Krmpotich. “How can the hospital be expected to provide the best quality of care when Premier Wynne is squeezing them like this?”

Horwath and Krmpotich were joined by frontline health care workers from the hospital who say they are very concerned about patient care being put in jeopardy.

“We have already lost nursing hours in the imaging diagnostics unit,” said Glenda Hubbley, a Registered Nurse at the hospital and president of the Ontario Nurses Association local in Sault Ste. Marie. “We just want to provide the best care possible, but it’s getting harder and harder to do that.”

Horwath recently released an NDP plan to cut hydro bills by as much as 30 per cent, which includes returning Hydro One to public hands – a move that will provide Ontario with an additional $7 billion that can be invested in Ontario services like hospitals. The NDP plan is in stark contrast to the Wynne government’s band-aid fix – a borrowing scheme that will force people to pay $40 billion more in interest to bankers.

Horwath has also said an NDP government would stop the Wynne hospital cuts – she’s committed to meeting the unique needs and pressures that northern hospitals like the facility in the Sault face.

“By focusing on herself and her party, Premier Wynne has driven the Sault to its breaking point,” said Horwath. “That’s why it’s time for a strong voice at Queen’s Park, fighting for the Sault. That’s why Joe Krmpotich is our choice in the by-election.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. Horvath you aren’t innocent in all this, you pushed for the early election that put the liberals in power, you and liberals are to blame

  2. The hospital should just stop paying the hydro bill. HydroOne/Liberals can’t cut off the electricity to a hospital because it would mean the entire hospital is shutdown and 1) that would not be safe 2) that will look horrible politically for the Liberals (not that they deserve to look good ever). Save the money for the healthcare workers to do their job taking care of its citizens.

  3. The NDP voted with the Liberals for the Green Energy Act, which is at the root of much of this high power bill problem.The out-of-sync with demand nature of wind power along with its low capacity factor of about 28% leads to huge expenses. When all factors are considered, it cost about 25 cents/kWh.

    • Because It has nothing to do with Mike Harris splitting hydro into 5 corporations. He’s the one that started it. So that his cronies could get jobs.

  4. Put solar panels on roof to generate power to operate hospital can also pout solar panels along roa between road an hub trail and field by police station to generate power. Split lights in parking lot. Not an engineer but just a few ways to cut cost in long run. Which should have been done when building the hospital.

  5. it don’t seem to really matter who you vote for…..government will never cut their pay checks or take care of Canadians first……

  6. If you vote for NDP you will have the same issues still there for hydro. The way to turn this around is no more wind turbines, no more solar panels, no more subsidies for either. No more green energy plan and no more carbon tax. That is the only way this will turn around and it won’t happen fast either. There is a FB group called Hydro One Enough is Enough EIE .

  7. Really not impressed with the Liberal Party right now, and I am one of their voters. I think I may start voting for the NDP instead if they don’t solve this, which I’m not holding out much hope for.

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