On March 2, the Ontario Government announced a plan to lower hydro rates by 25% beginning this summer.
In order to finance the rate cuts, the Government has extended the costs of electricity generation contracts over a longer period.
“This means that we are going to be paying billions of dollars more over a longer period of time,” Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott said. “It’s like refinancing a mortgage on a house – your monthly payments may be smaller, but in the long run you end up paying much, much more. They’re pushing the bill off to our children and grandchildren.”
According to published reports, it is estimated that the rate cut will ultimately cost Ontario an additional $1.4 billion a year in interest.
“The Government boasts about cutting rates by 25%,” Mr. Arnott observed. “However, that 25% includes the 8% HST reduction that already went into effect on January 1, which they are essentially re-announcing.”
Mr. Arnott pointed out that these cuts would not have been necessary if not for the Liberals disastrous energy policies which sent Ontario hydro rates skyrocketing in the first place.
“They’re scrambling to fix a problem they’ve admitted to creating,” he said. “Our Ontario PC Caucus has consistently opposed the Liberals energy policies which have caused this mess, including voting against the Green Energy Act in 2009.”
Mr. Arnott also questioned why it took the Government so long to act.
“We’ve been raising this issue in the Legislature repeatedly. I launched a petition calling on the Government to stabilize hydro rates over a year ago,” Mr. Arnott said. “It shouldn’t have taken the Government so long to realize that hydro bills have risen to the point where they are increasingly unaffordable for many families. Also, skyrocketing rates are costing us jobs, as businesses have closed or relocated outside Ontario.”
Mr. Arnott believes that with an election looming on the horizon, the Liberals are desperate.
“We all know there’s an election coming next year,” he said. “With their diminishing support in Ontario, the Liberals are focused only on political survival.”