NORTH YORK HYDRO HOPES TO SPARK GIFTS, DONATIONS
MAY BE THE FIRST PLAN LIKE IT IN CANADA
by David Isrealson
Looking for an
electrifying way to say "I care?" How about paying
that special someone's hydro bill?
Yes, instead of
perfume or flowers, you can now say it with
kilowatt hours. North York Hydro is offering gift certificates which
recipients can apply to their monthly accounts.
"It's a great
idea, particularly for people with that hard-to-
buy-for person on their shopping list," says North York Hydro
Commission Chairman Carl Anderson. "If Eaton's and The Bay can do it,
why not North York Hydro?"
Why not indeed?
Think of the jolt of joy your special friend will
feel when you lean across the dinner table to pass over that
attractive hydro bill gift certificate. Think of the charge you'll get
notion shouldn't be all that shocking, Anderson
says. He came up with it after being zapped with requests from people
who wanted to help those with trouble meeting the electricity bills.
A typical householder's
cost in North York is only about $75 a
month, but bills can quickly jump to the $350 range for those who have
electric heating or air conditioning.
About 70 per cent
of North York's 150,000 hydro customers are
commercial or industrial, but that includes many charity organizations
that depend on donations for other bills, Anderson points out.
"We didn't want
to get into the charity business," he says,
because by law, local utilities are not allowed to provide charity
But the utility
did want to help. He says he borrowed the idea
from the electric company in Nashville, tenn., but as far as he knows
North York is the first to try it out in Canada.
The gift certificates
can be issued in any denomination, like
cheques or money orders. North York Hydro could actually make money on
the gift certificates, because the utility gets to hold on to the cash
-- and collect bank interest -- between the time the gifts are paid
for and the certificates are used.
CARL ANDERSON SAYS HE HANDED OUT $25 WORTH
OF ENERGY TO THE SALVATION
ARMY WITH HIS FIRST GIFT CERTIFICATE
The only thing
they didn't think of was paying Hydro employees a
part of their salaries with Hydrodollars.
a comment to John Turmel