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No rate hike after ice storm: Toronto Hydro CEO

Toronto Hydro will not be hiking its rates to cover the nearly $13-million cost of the December ice storm, CEO Anthony Haines said at city hall on Monday.

“We’re not going to ask our customers to pay for the costs associated with the storm,” he told reporters.

“Our customers, who suffered the ice storm and outages and their own financial hardship, we really didn’t feel right about asking them to pay for the costs associated with restoration.”

Haines also said the utility would not be looking for money elsewhere, such as other levels of government.

“We’ve been working on finding a way to absorb those dollars,” Haines said.

“Twenty thirteen was a good year for Toronto Hydro. We were successful in achieving our business objectives and our financial objectives. We’ve looked at our budget for this year and said OK, a little here, a little there, we’ll all work together.”

Earlier this month, Toronto Hydro officials said they hoped they could recoup the loss without delving into the pockets of customers or taxpayers. The ice storm damage has cost the utility precisely $12.9 million, Haines said on Jan. 9.

About $1 million of that was in lost revenue.

The Dec. 21, 2013, ice storm brought down hydro poles and tree limbs and left 300,000 customers without power for days.

Toronto city officials say the costs for the GTA could top $250 million for the region, with cleanup and restoration costs in Toronto alone estimated at $106 million.

The unprecedented ice storm wreaked havoc on many parts of the province, including Mississauga and Brampton, which estimate cleanup and recovery costs will be $25 million and $51 million, respectively.

City officials in Vaughan estimate the ice storm will cost $21 million.