Ontario slaps new ‘green’ tax on electricity bills

Energy Minister Brad Duguid. Forcing Ontarians to pay for his "green" schemes

Robert Benzie  Queen’s Park Bureau Chief  Toronto Star

Ontario electricity customers will soon be slapped with an additional tax to cover $53 million of the Liberal government’s new conservation and green energy programs, the Star has learned.

The levy will appear on hydro bills just as the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax is about to be charged and as smart meters are being phased in, which one industry insider described as “a perfect storm” for consumers already rattled by rising energy costs.

A government document – innocuously entitled “Ontario Regulation Made Under The Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, Assessments For Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure Conservation and Renewable Energy Program Costs” – outlines the fee in great detail.

“The total amount to be assessed by the (Ontario Energy) Board … is $53,695,310,” the five-page regulation states.

It stipulates the assessment be issued by April 15 and the money paid by July 30, but utilities can spread the $4 annual increase to customers in bills over the course of a year. Industrial and commercial ratepayers will also pay the fee.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak warned Friday it is “nothing but a sneaky tax grab” by the Liberals.

“This is just the latest in a long series of tax and fee grabs hitting Ontario families through their hydro bill alone,” said Hudak, charging the proceeds “will be used to create another Liberal slush fund” for pet initiatives.

Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid said the government was aware of the potential for backlash, but that’s a small price to pay for cleaner air since conservation makes it easier to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2014.

“When costs go up there’s always the concern about consumer reaction,” Duguid said in an interview.

“I don’t think we ever sneeze at the amount of money because every little bit adds up. But at the same time, it’s about $4 for this year for consumers and it’s a one-year program. It gets reassessed every year,” the minister said.

“The alternative is either to keep polluting the lungs of our kids through coal, or not have a reliable supply of energy, which would be disastrous to our economy and to our quality of life,” said Duguid.

“This … gets us out of dirty coal, which is harming our health and the health of our kids and grandkids in the future, and it ensures that we have a reliable and sustainable supply of energy … for future generations,” he said.

“When consumers think it through, this is something consumers should be embracing as something that we all have to do together to create this `green revolution’ in Ontario.”

Duguid said the money would pay for home energy audits and a program that helps industrial and commercial firms switch to solar power.

Promoting conservation is part of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s push to transform Ontario into a leading jurisdiction for green energy, such as solar and wind power.

“Conservation is the most economical way for us to ensure that we have enough energy supply going forward into the future. So it’s more economical than producing more green energy, more economical than modernizing our nuclear fleet,” said Duguid.

“So it is the best bang for the buck for the consumer. But there’s a cost to it. It’s modest, but there’s a cost to it. Frankly, there’s no better alternative for consumers than improving our conservation efforts.”

Critics say the timing is lousy for ratepayers because as of July 1, when the provincial sales tax is harmonized with the federal goods and services tax, consumption levies on utility bills will be 13 per cent instead of 5 per cent. (Currently only the 5 per cent GST is charged on such bills, not the 8 per cent PST.)

“When you combine this new charge with HST and soaring costs due in part to smart meters, it’s the perfect storm for consumers,” said one industry official.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the pain never seems to subside for electricity ratepayers.

8 thoughts on “Ontario slaps new ‘green’ tax on electricity bills

  1. I guess this confirms again the Tyranny of the Ontario Liberal Government….

    Where’s my Mike Harris T-shirt…You know the one that says…”Do you miss me yet ?”

    If smart meters and the HST aren’t going to help us…I’m sure that the Green Energy Tax will help us… Ha Ha Ha

    Well at least our communities will look like Post-Industrial junkyards with all those 600 foot wind turbines…and Toronto will have 1 less coal-fired plant…..maybe….It will still be ugly…

    Maybe I can get a Home Energy Audit so that I can find out that I’m being hosed for my Energy costs by the Ontario Liberal Government….

    The Green Energy Act illustrates that Government doesn’t have a clue about which energy technologies are cost-effective….

    It’s just another Liberal Tax and Spend program…that will create more unionized jobs in the “Green” Energy industry…so I guess that it’s really an annuity for the Liberals if you look at it that way…

  2. Like the Libs who are completing this Greening of Ontario, the Cons started this “Green” horror show……..in other words “NO” Government involvement would be “GOOD” Government involvement. The Cons are really enjoying this Liberal stupidity and cash grabbing…..all they have to do is sit back, wait until they are elected and continue on as if nothing has changed.

    Could it be that no matter what colour the party displays, they indeed are all “buddies” in the same “old boys club” who’s main objective is to make a living off the backs of the hard working honest citizens they lie to in order to grab a fistful of dollars from the public trough?

    Someone ask Hudak if he will abolish the Green Energy Act the minute he takes power.

    Bet you he doesn’t answer!

  3. Looks like we don’t have to find a way to take down the turbines! The City folks will do it for us when they finally figure it out. “perfect Storm “… can’t wait!.

  4. “The alternative is either to keep polluting the lungs of our kids through coal”….oh if that was what it really was about! I know for certain that this government could care less about the health of my children here who will be surrounded by at least 40 wind turbines, or their school, or for that matter the children in Oakville who are supposed to be welcoming a gas plant next to their homes and schools. It has nothing to do with health, safety and environment and everything to do with some greedy and corrupt politicians turning the word ‘green’ into something that turns my stomach.

  5. The province burns as they’re off chasing green fantasies. Thinking that it never gets cold and the streets are paved with gold, while just around the corner awaits a Spanish green energy style economic suicide. Industries are folding up and the deficit is raging at $25. Will the people of this province ever wake up and vote them out of office?

  6. Is part of the Liberal’s plan to reduce energy consumption by making it too expensive for some to afford and getting them off the grid? How many people will be left in the dark, unable to pay their electricity bill? This is how we make the working poor. The more sent to the government will mean less money to spend in communities and local stores. The commercial “electricity or shelter” will ring more clearly in July. If we are trying to reduce electricity use we start with and the action to stop the industrial wind turbines from using electricity free of charge. Why should industrial wind turbines get free of charge electricity when we have to pay extra to cover for them.

  7. One more thing here we must emphasize:
    That $4.00/per year figure is absolutely bogus and just a way of appeasing disgruntled citizens making out like it will only cost 4 dollars a year for their folly.

    Why are we seeing $400 increases in Hydro Bills in one month?

    I have asked every single person at Hydro One why I got a $600 bill in January and still have NO answers………………many others around me have the same complaint………..and Duguid says it will only cost $4 a year?…………one word…BS!

  8. As a long time supporter of the Liberals and actually campaigned for him during his first term, I can only say, this is a kick in the teeth. Words can not describe my disappointments. I agree with an earlier comment, it doesn’t matter who gets in, nobody will remove this tax or remove the HST.

    All the parties have got to go, it is time for Independant candidates. Those that will actually represent their constituency and those that are accountable to their constituency.

    Anybody read the media release from The Council of Canadians? “McGuinty to sell out Ontario and put water at risk,”

    HST, Green Tax yea get angry, but selling our water?

Comments are closed.