The Dryden Regional Health Centre is looking at ways to reduce their consumption. DRHC CEO Wade Petranik says that the hospital could save $300,000 per year through a co-generation program.
“We’ve been looking at a number of energy efficiency projects. Over the years, we’ve done quite a bit to improve our efficiency. We’ve been taking a look at an idea to co-generate our own electricity using natural gas and small generators. It’s not a program where we applied for government funding. We’re doing this with our own funds, and the project would pay itself back within a few years. We wouldn’t be totally disconnected from the grid, but we would use most of the power that would be generated on site. We would still have the traditional hydro system to use for backup when we have peak-demand,” he said.
Petranik says the natural gas powered generator would cost about $1.2 million to build, and it would be paid off within four years. He estimates that the savings could reach roughly $300,000 per year in hydro costs alone. The hospital is just waiting for permission from the province to go ahead.
According to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, electricity bills for the Dryden Regional Health Centre have seen a steep increase over the last five years. The documents show that bills are increasing from $310,290 in 2012-2013, to $446,464 in 2016-2017, an increase of close to 44 per cent. The Dryden hospital documents are a part of a campaign that CTF is running across Ontario showing how high electricity costs are hurting health care. In many cases, the CTF has found that hospital electricity bills are up even though consumption is down.
In November, the provincial government announced that it would be spending $64 million this year to improve energy efficiency in hospitals. In northwestern Ontario, the Lake of the Woods District Hospital received $125,000, and Red Lake’s Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital Corporation received $478,000.
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Patients paying the price
Hospital electricity bills rising