Curling clubs feeling the pinch of rising hydro costs

Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)

Rising hydro costs continue to impact residential customers, but its effects are also being felt in the sporting realm. As Greg Davis reports, curling clubs are struggling to keep their doors open.

Membership at the Omemee Curling Club is up this season. But so too are costs…namely hydro…

Robert Curtin, club president: We are struggling to be really frank….

120 members help tackle an average monthly hydro bill of $6,000. Last summer the club dipped into its funds to purchase a computerized thermostat to try to lower hydro costs….

It’s helping… but not much

Curtin: We are using less kilowatts per hour than we did less year. but we are spending the same money on hydro or even a tiny bit more. had we not put in the system, our bill would have been astronomical, i don’t know how we would have done it.

Hydro also sweeps up the expenses for the Peterborough Curling Club.

Monthly bills during the season are $11,000 to $13,000 dollars; $2,500 during the offseason.

But membership is up to 500 with 100 new members this winter.

Rose Tallevi, PPC president: So it’s very difficult to keep our membership expenses under control and try to cover our hydro.

The club’s hydro usage is actually down but debt reduction and delivery fees rock the bottom line.

Tallevi: We got a Trillium Grant four years to re-insulate the building and improve lighting so that did help us but with the way the bills are structured it hasn’t really made a difference in our bills going down.

The Ontario Curling Association has said 40 of its 200 member clubs could face closure in the next few years if hydro rates continue to rise.

The club in Omemee could be one of them…

Curtin: We are sustaining – if hydro rates were to stay as they are right now, we could probably be OK. But we all know rates are going to fluctuate some more. We have a real concern for next year. Can we get enough membership to keep things going?

Greg Davis CHEX News Peterborough

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