New Brunswickers dealing with costs of budget-breaking winter

New Brunswickers dealing with costs of budget-breaking winter

It’s shaping up to be a costly winter in New Brunswick and there’s still a month to go.

The province has already blown its road maintenance budget, power consumption peaked this week due to the cold, and snow removal contractors may not make much of a profit this year.

“It’s very challenging,” said Josh Cormier, a snow contractor in Moncton.

Cormier says his excess cash flow has been freezing up this winter.

“Having extra clients call wanting extra salt or sand put down, it is hard to keep up,” he said.

He says it’s also been harder to make a good profit.

The temperature and precipitation fluctuations have been so extreme this winter, Cormier has had pay out a lot more money on road salt to keep his customers’ properties clear of ice.  He says it’s also been hard on his equipment, which is in constant need of repairs.

“It is definitely hard on gear and salt expense is probably almost double from last year in the amount we use,” he said.

Like most contractors, his clients pay by the season no matter what the weather, so he has no choice but to absorb those added expenses, which are eating directly into his profits.

“It’s definitely taking a toll on the budget,” he said.

Cormier is not the only one feeling this winter’s financial chill.

According to New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation, the province is already more than $3.1 million dollars over budget for winter road maintenance.

That’s because it costs a lot more money to get rid of ice than it does snow, and the province has been plagued with it this season.

Then there’s the temperatures, which have been all over the map: it’s been mild one day, record cold the next.

“On extreme cold days, your heating system works much, much harder to keep your house comfortable,” said Marc Belliveau, with NB Power’s communications department.

He says customers concerned about higher bills should check the company’s website or call them for tips on how to save energy.

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