By Ted Arnott.
As of the end of December, the Ontario Government phased out the “Ontario
Clean Energy Benefit,” which in recent years has reduced electricity bills by 10
To be fair, the “Debt Retirement Charge” is ending this month. A new program
for low-income households, the “Ontario Electricity Support Program,” is also
coming into effect. However, this program is application-based and means-
tested. Many low-income households will likely miss out.
I have written previously about the Liberals’ mismanagement of the electricity
sector in this space, as recently as last summer.
In that column, I explained some of the many factors are driving up the cost of
power in Ontario: the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts with wind and solar electricity
generation companies, the politically-motivated decisions to cancel planned
natural gas-fired generating stations in Oakville and Mississauga, new hydro
transmission infrastructure, a “Debt Retirement Charge” that should have been
paid off long ago, the practice of paying other jurisdictions to take our surplus
power, and so on.
Another factor is the $2 billion spent on “Smart Meters,” which have failed to
achieve their targets for conservation. Then there is the “Global Adjustment,” a
confusing name masking yet another charge, making our electricity rates
uncompetitive and costing us jobs.
Quantifying the long-term cost of the “Global Adjustment,” the Auditor General’s
most recent report stated electricity ratepayers paid out $37 billion more than
should have been necessary from 2006-14. We will be forced to pay an
additional $133 billion more by 2032.
One group that should not be blamed for the high cost of electricity is our local
hydro utilities. They are focused on efficient and effective community service, and
do an outstanding job.
This past fall, the Wynne Government began their ill-considered sale of majority
control of Hydro One, ignoring massive public opposition.
They refused to listen, and they actually boasted of the proceeds of the initial
public offering of shares.
Ironically, the same week the price of the Hydro One shares was announced,
Ontario’s new Financial Accountability Officer tabled a devastating report pointing
out what we had been saying for months: that it was a bad deal, and the Liberals
will be giving up hundreds of millions of dollars that Hydro One has transferred
annually to the Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund for many years.
This month, I am launching a petition to give electricity customers an easy way to
speak out against ever higher hydro bills.
I am asking people who are concerned to contact our Riding Office at 1-800-265-
2366 or [email protected]. We will send you the petition, and ask that you
circulate it to family, friends and co-workers. I will present the petitions which are
returned in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Help me make the point that the Government must reverse its current course on
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes your comments. He can be
reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website address is www.tedarnottmpp.com.