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Fair Hydro for Ontario

Mar 13, 2017

                                                fair hydro

The Ontario government recently announced that individual and small business ratepayers will see a 25% reduction on their electricity bill, which includes the 8% HST cut that began in January 2017. SolarShare members can rest assured that this won't affect our power production contracts nor your Solar Bonds.

24 Hours Toronto reported:

“Wynne told reporters that she and her team explored a number of options to dramatically cut rates but none provided the kind of customer relief that her government wanted in the near-term. That includes renegotiating green energy contracts which pay high rates to generation companies,” she said. “We actually had some of our business officials look at whether we could do it,” she said. “There are hundreds of these things. They looked at some of the biggest ones. Even if we could have renegotiated them, it was going to be 53 cents off the bill here and 25 cents here. So, we weren’t seeing the kinds of returns that we needed. Wynne said she spoke with an academic who suggested the government simply legislate the deals away. He said you could just pass legislation and you could make them all null and void,” she said. “Well, we’d be in court forever.”

How is the government able to save us 25%? Expenses from the last decade or more related to transmission line updates, distribution costs, nuclear refurbishments and replacing coal with greener energy options will be paid over a longer period of time, which is more expensive (like a 30-year mortgage vs a 20-year mortgage) but reduces costs for Ontarians now.

This problem aside, the Fair Hydro Plan fails to tackle the more pressing issues concerning our electricity system. One such issue is the Ontario Power Generation's application to raise its price for nuclear power by 180% from now through 2026. Another is the costly rebuild of the old Pickering Nuclear Plant. Also, our natural gas peaker plants are relatively unused but still have to be staffed. Plus, the word is that the government is considering purchasing more hydro-electricity from Quebec.

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association's (OSEA) most recent blog post, There Is No Easy Fix, explores the complexities of Ontario's electricity system in the context of this new scheme. Mike Schreiner of the Ontario Green Party says that this plan is a $24 billion Band-Aid and suggests this 4-point plan instead.

Ontarians have to get a grasp on how our electricity system has been run and managed over time in order to figure out where they stand on options for improvement. Adrian Morrow, a US news correspondent, and Tom Cardoso, a graphics editor at the Globe & Mail, crafted a fulsome report that may shed some light on why we pay higher rates than any other province.

Tell the government what you think about electricity in Ontario, including the Fair Hydro Plan, by:

-Emailing the Government

-Contacting your MPP

-Setting Up a Petition