Cutting hydro bills by 25 per cent is a fair and...
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Mar 09, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Cutting hydro bills by 25 per cent is a fair and lasting plan, says premier Wynne

'We can afford to do this because of Ontario's strengthening economy'

City Centre Mirror

"How do we make Ontario electricity more affordable for residents and business owners?"

On March 2, I announced a plan that will lower every residential hydro bill by an average of 25 per cent starting this summer. No asterisks, no loop holes, no exceptions, and no increases above inflation for at least four years.

I don’t have to tell you why this is necessary. I have been speaking with families across the province and everyone is in the same situation, struggling to understand why rates have gone up so much and so quickly, and asking how it is possible that they’re paying more for delivery charges than for the power that’s been used.

What I want to share is exactly how we’re making the whole system fairer to deliver the biggest rate cut in Ontario history.

First, how did we get to this point? For a long time, Ontario enjoyed one of the best electricity systems in North America. But for decades, governments of all stripes stopped investing. By the turn of this century, those quick-fixes caught up with us. Brownouts, blackouts and dirty coal plants were a danger to our health, our environment and our economy.

So, we began to rebuild. We closed all of Ontario’s coal plants, built new transmission lines and invested in renewable energy. Today we have a clean, reliable system that is going to benefit us for decades. But that came at a price. And the terms we set to finance these necessary renovations weren’t fair.  

In effect, we put the cost of a $50 billion rebuild onto the hydro bills of just one generation. That was a mistake. It meant high bills because you were paying for the sins of the past and subsidizing future ratepayers who will benefit from these energy assets for years to come. So now, we’re lowering bills by stretching those costs out over a timeframe that better reflects the lifespan of the assets we’re paying for. That’s the fairer way forward.

We have also been asking ratepayers to pay for things that should really be part of the province’s budget. Our program to help low-income families afford hydro is one example.

But I want to highlight the Rural or Remote Rate Protection program. The RRRP helps subsidize the high cost of delivering electricity to 350,000 rural residential customers. We’re taking the cost of the program off bills and enhancing it so that now about 800,000 homes will qualify for lower delivery charges.

Hydro is a necessity. But for many living outside of large urban centres, high delivery charges were leading to impossible choices between groceries, rent or electricity. That’s not right. With this change, everyone in Ontario is going to be paying roughly the same in delivery charges. Again, it comes down to fairness.

Of course, these huge and lasting structural fixes come with a cost. We can afford to do this because of Ontario’s strengthening economy, which is the fastest growing in Canada. After a decade of running deficits, the provincial budget will be balanced this year. Our recovery is on track, but it hasn’t been evenly shared. Many families are not better off than they were before the recession.

It is why I am determined to make sure growth in our economy means more opportunity and security for people right across Ontario. And I can think of no better way to use the province’s newfound fiscal strength than by giving everyone the break they need on their hydro bills. It’s the right thing to do for Ontario and the fair thing to do for your family.

Kathleen Wynne is the Premier of Ontario's Liberal government.

READ MORE: Fixing hydro costs in Ontario starts with uncovering the details of government deals: PC Party

READ MORE: Ontario needs to stop the Hydro One sale and reduce our surplus power: NDP


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(4) Comment

By Rick | MARCH 11, 2017 12:25 PM
The same reason China has built all the artificial islands in the South China sea. They found a massive deposit of methane clathrates off Pearl island estimated to be able to supply China mainland and future growth for two hundred years. Than they found this deposit was much bigger and went much deeper so these islands now have missiles, radar systems, fighter jets and runways. Why its not for the sea food or the inter national sea fairing that runs millions of dollars a year through the South China sea its for the Liquefied Natural Gas produced from methane clathrates. Once again the drawback methane gas released into the air during refining 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
By Rick | MARCH 11, 2017 12:17 PM
It was last fall that Justin Trudeau approved the largest methane clathrate processing plant in British Columbia on LuLu island. If you would like to see a picture of what it will look like and its effects go to this link. Now methane clathrates can be turned into Liquid Natural Gas but there is a very large drawback the emission of Methane CH4 which is 30 times worse than carbon dioxide for creating a green house blanket which is released during the refining process. So why does every province need to pay carbon tax when the PM just blew us out of the water with this $$ decision. The gas is for Malaysia. :)
By Al | MARCH 09, 2017 07:41 PM
Clean reliable system we have now so therefore we do not need the million dollar salaried employees since it is the people on the front lines that keeps the system running. Also re:Sins of the pass compared to the Sins of today. Lucrative green energy contracts which cost and continues to cost more the the old sins. Drain the swamp come June 2018.
By Centennial67 | MARCH 09, 2017 06:51 AM
Why Premier Wynne, did we not have "delivery charges" on hydro bills back in the day, say the '60's? rural folks weren't charged more for getting hydro than anyone else in the urban areas. What happened was, greedy govt, decided to tap into the most essential "service" that everyone needed, to pick from consumers as a cash grab. govt created the mess, and now try to deflect by claiming "mismanagement" for decades. Were new transmission lines needed because the coal fired plants were closed? Big mistake. Remember, the biggest reduction in Ontario's history, maybe, but caused by biggest increases in north America also...spin it anyway you comes down to bad, very bad, management by govt.
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