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Hydro Ottawa gives city $19M, will explore new businesses

City coffers are $19 million richer.

The top brass at Hydro Ottawa was at city hall on Wednesday presenting its 2013 Annual Report to councillors.

In total, the company reported a net income of $32 million. The city gets a chunk of that because it is the sole shareholder, and this dividend is the largest to date.

Councillor Allan Hubley mused some people might balk that Hydro Ottawa is handing back millions when some people are struggling to keep up with ever-rising rates.

"The dividend is unrelated to the rates. The rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board on the basis of a formulaic model. Amount of invested capital, how much we depreciate, all that good stuff," he told reporters.

While the Ontario Energy Board does set the rates, Hydro Ottawa asks for rate increases. The latest one took effect in January.

As for the ongoing saga between Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One over approximately 40,000 customers, it looks like the stalemate continues.

Hydro Ottawa wants to "buy up" those customers or switch them over, but Hydro One has not agreed to the undisclosed price being proposed.

Conrad said it's "appalling" that different sides of a street or even different parts of a shopping mall have different providers and the divide will only continue to grow.

"It's unfortunately a growing part of our city too, right? It's the suburbs where we're seeing that growth and densification so it's a problem that will get worse too as you go on."

Hydro Ottawa is also going to explore new energy-related businesses. Some councillors raised red flags that they would be left in the dark, but Conrad said there are already regulations governing those new avenues and then quipped he can't use hydro trucks "to deliver pizza."

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