(WINDSOR, ON) – Spending at EnWin is out of control. Since 2011, the energy distributor, owned by the City of Windsor, has increased revenues, increased net income, and increased the cost to residential customers, all the while decreasing services to an eroding customer base.
When compared to a select group of Ontario distributors, the wildly spending administrators at EnWin becomes even more apparent.
In 2011, EnWin had a captive audience of 76,915 residential customers. Over the intervening three years to 2014, the number of residential customers rose to 78,144, or an increase of just 1.6%. Over that same period, however, revenues from distribution rocketed upward by 21.4%, indicating a corresponding increase in rates charged to users.
Even more dire is the fact that net income, the amount left over from revenue after expenses are paid out, saw a jaw dropping increase of 45.9%. Are consumers being charged exorbitantly by EnWin?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
To the distributor’s credit, the level of service in Windsor is relatively constant with EnWin reporting just 1.85 times, on average, per year that power is lost to Windsorites. And, on average, each time there is an outage, power is restored within 0.81 hours, or around 47 minutes.
There is no issue with the service level even though 60 other distributors in the province experience fewer yearly outages than EnWin.
Windsor’s energy distributor spends a lot of money on operating their distribution system. In 2011, the total spent on Operations was $1,612,602 while another $2,096,927 was spent on Maintenance. Together, O&M came in at $3,709,529.
By 2014, O&M increased to $4,164,019, however the maintenance component dropped 5% while operations increased by 35%. A larger portion of revenues was directed away from the nuts and bolts and toward the soft expenses.
Operations expenses include supervision, labour, supplies, and rents, to name a few.
More egregiously, the real spending at EnWin is in the area of Administration. Money spent on EnWin’s administration has increased $1.6 million between 2011 and 2014, or 8.2%. However, administration costs account are a whopping 396% more than O&M costs. In 2014, EnWin spent $4.16 million on operations and maintenance combined. In the same year, EnWin spent $20.6 million on administration.
Looking at it another way, for every dollar spent by EnWin on O&M, they spent $4.96 on administration.
For every residential customer in Windsor, EnWin spends $264 on administration.
For every kilometre of power line, EnWin spends $17,833 on administration while spending just $1,720 on maintenance.
But how does EnWin stack up against other distributors? For comparison, we looked at four other Ontario distributors.
Typically, the traditional comparator for EnWin is London Hydro. Other comparators were Burlington, Kitchener-Wilmot, and Oakville.
London has, and maintains, over twice as many kilometres of power line as EnWin does. And while none of Windsor’s lines are classified as rural, London has a great many km of rural lines, which adds to the cost of upkeep.
London spent $16.9 million on administration in 2014 while EnWin spent $20.6 million. EnWin had 190 fulltime employees in 2014. London had 312. London spent $1.10 on administration for every dollar spent on O&M. London spent $15.4 million on O&M.
Burlington spent dollar-for-dollar on administration as they did on O&M. Oakville was 83 cents. Kitchener was 68 cents.
EnWin has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for a rate increase in 2016. The OEB has indicated that they will make a decision without a public hearing.
In almost every case, large energy consumers will receive a reduction on their EnWin bill. For residential customers, there will be an increased invoice from EnWin of between 7.6% and 13.4%, depending on energy consumption. However, counter-intuitively, the more energy you use, the lower the increase will be.
How much of this increase is designated to feed the administration black hole at EnWin?
In a letter to EnWin from the OEB, dated 22 October 2015, and addressed to Laura Rauch, the distributor was directed to display their application for a rate increase on their website. They had three days in which to do so.
As of 27 November, EnWin had failed to comply with the directive.
Your application is available on the 2016 EDR webpage of the OEB’s website. You are also directed to make a copy of the application available in a prominent place on your company’s website within 3 business days.
The directors of Windsor Canada Utilities, the umbrella organization that controls EnWin Utilities and EnWin Energy, are Drew Dilkens, John Elliott, Freddie Francis, Jo-Anne Gignac, Marty Komsa, and Garnet Fenn.
The directors of EnWin Utilities are Drew Dilkens, Garnet Fenn, Jo-Anne Gignac, Marty Komsa, Abe Taqtaq, and Vic Neufeld.
The directors of EnWin Energy are Drew Dilkens, Nancy Creighton, Eddie Francis, Jo-Anne Gignac, Keith Andrews, and Kulveer Virk.
Make your thoughts on this issue known by commenting below or by sending a letter to your councilor. Copy The Square on the email, if you write to them.
- Mayor Drew Dilkens
- Ward 1 Freddie Francis
- Ward 2 John Elliott
- Ward 3 Rino Bortolin
- Ward 4 Chris Holt
- Ward 5 Ed Sleiman
- Ward 6 Jo-Anne Gignac
- Ward 7 Irek Kusmeirczyk
- Ward 8 Bill Marra
- Ward 9 Hilary Payne
- Ward 10 Paul Borrelli
You may also call 311 to register a complaint. Don’t forget to obtain a tracking number when you call.
Or call customer service for EnWin at 519-255-2727 or contact them by email.
Ian Shalapata can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.