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A spike in the cost of electricity at the Philadelphia Flower Show is shocking some vendors

A spike in the cost of electricity at the Philadelphia Flower Show is shocking some vendors

David Maialetti / File Photograph Vendors at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show are facing electrical bills that are more than double what they paid in 2019. The increase has sparked nearly 20 complaints, according to the show’s organizers. Small marketplace vendors, those with booths of about 100 square feet, paid $165 last year for 10 days of power. This year the cost for the same 500 watts is spiking to nearly $400. Sam Lemheney, the chief of shows and events for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said that many vendors actually will see a decrease in prices. Lemheney said that, in previous years, vendors were getting stuck with unexpected electricians’ bills for labor that were charged to their credit card accounts after the show. “Some vendors will save money because they’re not seeing any additional labor charges. However, some of the vendors we know have seen an increase that was more substantial and we’re working with the [Convention Center] to see if we can correct that.” Many of the small businesses contacted by The Inquirer did not want to go on the record because they feared possible retaliation from organizers or the IBEW Local 98, which represents electricians at the Convention Center. John McNichol, executive director of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, said there had been “no major change, no new focus, no added layer [of costs].” Vendors pay two fees, McNichol said. “A charge for an electrical drop and the power we provide; and labor involved in providing it, cost and materials.” The convention center sought to lower costs starting last summer by letting exhibitors erect and tear down their own booths at the big conferences. Union leaders said it was their idea. But one craft vendor, who asked to remain anonymous, said the cost to participate in the annual […]

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