ST THOMAS – In what has become something of a routine that Ontarians have come to expect, hydro rates in the province will rise again on May 1. Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek says this is what we get with the continuation of the failed Liberal energy policies of the past 10 years.
Rates for peak-hours usage is set to rise 4.7 per cent to 13.5 cents per kWh, rates for mid-peak usage will go up 2.8 per cent to 11.2 cents per kWh, and off-peak rates will rise 4.2 per cent to 7.5 cents per kWh.
“The energy sector is certainly complex and decisions made have consequences that some wouldn’t expect,” said Yurek. “For instance, this Liberal government’s implementation of the Green Energy Act means Ontarians pay 34.7 cents to 44.5 cents per kWh for solar energy which, when we have an excess of powers, is sold to other jurisdictions for a fraction of that price.
“It just doesn’t make any economic sense and the taxpayer ends up losing.”
The Auditor General noted in his 2011 report that the loss on power sold to other jurisdictions along with the amounts the OPG is contractually obligated to pay to nuclear and hydro-electric generators to not produce power at times when renewable sources are generating too much power gets factored into electricity prices. These are the key reasons Ontarian’s are paying over 60 per cent more on their hydro bills than they paid in 2006.
“Essentially, on sunny and windy days, we have to pay our nuclear facility to vent their steam and Niagara Falls to let water flow over the falls without capturing the energy,” said Yurek. “This costs hundreds of millions of dollars every year.”
Yurek went on to note that the Liberals Long-Term Energy Plan released last Fall projects rates to rise by almost 50% in the next few years. While they have promised to remove the Debt Retirement Charge by 2017, farmers will still have to pay this fee until 2019.
The PC Party released a policy paper two years ago outlining ways in which to restructure Ontario’s energy sector to achieve efficiencies and deliver savings. Some of the ideas outlined included monetizing Hydro One and the OPG to achieve cost savings, ending large taxpayer-funded subsidies for green energy developments, and encouraging cost saving consolidations among energy distribution companies.
“These reforms would reduce the overall cost of producing and delivering energy to consumers,” said Yurek. “These cost savings would be passed on to Ontarians in the form of lower rates.”
Yurek also noted that in the PC Party’s Million Jobs Act, cost-effective energy policy is treated as a cornerstone of economic development and job creation.
“Only the PCs understand that affordable energy is not only good for residents in this province, it also entices businesses to invest here and create jobs,” concluded Yurek.
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