It perks to work at Hydro Ottawa


By Rose Simpson

Let’s say it’s not your day today.

The commute home was unbearable. Your hopes for an early round of golf were dashed by the continuing unseasonable temperatures. You just got your Hydro bill and it’s $648 dollars.

Say what?

If the last item made your blood boil, please, continue reading.

There is word today that the clowns at Hydro Ottawa spent nearly $30,000 on NHL tickets for themselves and their buddies during the 2010-2011 season.

That’s right, friends, they spent what many Ottawans make on bad hockey and flat beer. Not money out of their own pockets, like the rest of us stiffs. Nope, money out of your hard-earned paycheques.

Sorry, let me correct that. Hydro employees had to fork over $25 a piece, which is about what it costs for parking at the Bank.

According to a Freedom of Information request, the  agency used the tickets to host key customers, discuss retrofit programs, and to treat employees to a night out.

Hydro Ottawa’s bill included $18,579.40 for 16 club-level suite tickets to four Ottawa Senators games; and $8,637.72 to rent a box suite on Oct. 26, 2010. The utility company said it used the tickets to host key customers who use the largest amounts of electricity.

My son Nick uses loads of electricity headbanging in the basement. But I guess our invite was lost in the mail. 

 The agency says those tickets are part of a program to recognize employees and create a positive work environment.

What a crock.

The head of Hydro makes $400,000 a year. Do you think the head of Hydro needs subsidized recreation?

Canada Revenue Agency tells business they can’t write off their golf or private club memberships anymore. In fact, those of us in small business can only write off 50 percent of our bills to take clients out and we can’t write off a breadstick we ourselves have ingested.

 But apparently, the people at Hydro, who have jacked up your electric bill in the last two years, don’t mind flashing their AmEx card at rate payers’ expense. (They probably get Aeroplan points, too.)

I wonder what their bill is for beer and ballet at the NuDen?

I think the people who took those tickets and freebies should pay them back.

Maybe into a fund for poor people who can’t afford their Hydro bills and have their electricity shut off.

What do you say, Mr. McGuinty?

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