KAWARTHA LAKES-The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says there has been a dramatic rise in electricity bills at Lindsay’s Ross Memorial Hospital.
The group says the bill has gone up by about 42% or $285,718 over five-year period.The documents show bills going from $680,314 in 2012-13 to $966,032 in 2016-17. “How is Ross Memorial Hospital expected to manage their budget when electricity bills have rising dramatically every year?” asked CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn. “The more the hospital has to spend keeping their lights on, the fewer resources they have for patients.”
Dr. Bert Lauwers, President & CEO of the Ross Memorial says the hospital has taken steps to become more energy efficient. “In developing our annual budget, our hospital considers all expenses including hydro. “In recent years, hydro costs have increased. RMH has implemented a number of green initiatives to be more energy efficient and to help offset rising costs and to reduce our carbon footprint.”
One of those initiatives is to replace some outdated machinery. “The recent announcement of the Hospital Energy Efficiency Program will help to make the Ross Memorial more energy efficient. We were grateful to receive $730,000 to replace an HVAC chiller and the south-facing curtain wall and windows on the East Wing, which was built in the 1960s. This investment will make us both greener, and increase our energy efficiency.” Lauwers told Kawartha 411.
The Ross Memorial Hospital documents are a part of a campaign CTF is running across Ontario in an attempt to show how high electricity costs are impacting health care. In many cases, the CTF has found that hospital electricity bills are up even though consumption is down.
For example they say electricity bills at William Osler Health in Brampton are up $4.3 million, nearly 126 per cent, over the past five years. North Bay Regional Health has seen an increase of 19 per cent since 2012, even though consumption has fallen, and similarly, Brockville General saw a 48 per cent increase over five years, even though their consumption also fell.
On Monday November 27, the government announced that it would be spending $64 million this year to improve energy efficiency in hospitals.
“It is obvious that the government is paying attention to our campaign about high electricity bills in hospitals, but spending more money on energy efficiency programs won’t solve the problem. We know from the data that many hospitals face increased bills even as they use less electricity. Hospitals are in the same situation that families across the province are in, where we are paying more to use less. Encouraging hospitals to save electricity is important, but we already know it won’t solve the problem. We need structural change,” concluded Van Geyn.