Rising electricity prices shock plastics firm

Chuck Howitt, Guelph Mercury
WATERLOO REGION — Bill Mechar first noticed something was amiss when he received his electricity bill for December. The co-owner of Integrated Packaging Films near Ayr was looking forward to a lower charge than the previous month after the plant was shut down for a 10-day Christmas holiday. But when the bill arrived in January, Mechar couldn’t believe his eyes. “Our kilowatt hours were down considerably, but our bill went up from the previous month, which makes no sense.”

When he began digging into the issue further, he was alarmed to discover his hydro costs had been rising sharply since 2009. Integrated makes plastic sheeting out of used water bottles, pop bottles and other products made of PET plastic. Suppliers grind down the bottles into plastic flakes or pellets, and ship them to Integrated where they are melted in two giant extruders and shaped into large rolls of plastic film. The film is sold to customers in Canada and the U.S. who reshape it into plastic trays and containers for food products and plants.

Large and noisy, the 300 horsepower extruders are the main hydro users in the plant. In a recycling industry where margins are thin, they must run 24 hours a day seven days a week for the company to make a profit, says Mechar. Shutting them down for part of the day to save hydro costs is not an option, he says. Efforts to cut his bill through other means such as installing energy-efficient lighting resulted in minimal savings of about 10 per cent.

Mechar estimates his hydro costs have risen by 50 per cent since 2009. Last month, his electricity bill came to $53,000 and if rates don’t go down soon, his annual bill will top $600,000. read article

5 thoughts on “Rising electricity prices shock plastics firm

  1. Unless you are an extremely large consumer of electricity and can work out the cheaper rate you are SOL. Small business is the back bone of the Ontario economy. But it looks really, really bad when a large company shuts down,or moves their business to the USA. Media will cover a company who lays off 500 or 1000 people. Doesn’t look good politically. But how many mom and pop businesses have already shut down and are about to shut down because their electricity bills are sky high? You know 20 people here, 15 people there. One at a time won’t make the news, but collectively we are talking about thousands of jobs lost.

    But hey, maybe they can snap up one of the 50,000 green jobs!?

  2. McGuinty’s Liberal government is the #1 exporter of jobs out of Ontario. I wonder how long before the workforce (the unions) stop supporting him, even tho they get concessions to put up wind turbines.

  3. Even if the large companies are given low Hydro rates they still won’t come into places where the electricity supply is unreliable. Large manufacturers can’t afford to have thier production lines shut down even for a few seconds as this means starting up all their machinery again. If a company is running a continuous manufacturing process and their machines get shut down then all of the materials are spoiled and wasted. Neither can smaller companies afford to have their production lines halted.

  4. The plan is to de-instruialize all Western nations. Our way of life not sustainable – well, that’s what they’re trying to fool us into believing.

    So, welcome to the new post-industrial economy where only the ones in on the green scam can collect a decent pay cheque and rest of us serfs will have no choice but to eat each-other.

    It’s gonna get ugly…

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