Rate hikes could double once green energy subsidies are rolled out

by Romina Maurino  The Canadian Press

TORONTO – A $350-a-year hike is in store for the average Ontario household’s hydro bill, critics said yesterday as they warned that figure could double once the province’s green energy subsidies are rolled out.

An 8 per cent increase in domestic electricity costs announced yesterday is the latest in a series of fees that will drive up costs, and that’s before the subsidies, the Opposition said.

“People in this province are seeing increases that are putting them at the point where they can no longer cope with the prices of energy, and we haven’t seen them all,” said Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski.

“It’s going to get worse.”

The Ontario Energy Board said the new prices, which amount to about $7.60 a month and take effect May 1, apply to homes that don’t have so-called smart meters, devices that record time-of-day usage.

Those with the meters will see a more modest increase of 5.8 per cent, or about $5.79 per month.

It’s the latest in a series of hikes that include an additional $5 per month on hydro bills by 2012 as part of an $8-billion plan to create more renewable energy in Ontario.

There is also a new charge to help cover $53 million of the Liberal government’s conservation and green-energy program.

That fee was quietly introduced three weeks ago, and is expected to add about $4 a year to the average electricity bill. That’s on top of the extra 8 per cent consumers will have to pay when the 13 per cent HST takes effect in July.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid said the price of electricity is going up everywhere and argued some increases are warranted as the province moves toward greener, cleaner power.

It’s still too early to say what the total increases will eventually amount to, Duguid said, since there are still too many green energy and nuclear projects being developed to nail down specific numbers.

“We’re modernizing our nuclear fleet, we’re in the process of negotiating two new nuclear units (and) we haven’t even arrived at a price or a cost yet, so it’s premature to be speculating on those kinds of costs,” Duguid said.

“Those cost estimates have been rolled out as best as possible.”

Yakabuski said the government’s energy plans are inflating electricity bills by $350 a year — a figure that could double as more green energy subsidies are doled out.

Taxpayers may be willing to pay more for cleaner energy, but they need to know what types of increases they’re being asked to agree to, Yakabuski said: “The problem is what’s going to come in the energy bills in the future that this government doesn’t want to talk about. They’re selling the effects of (green energy) as being huge but not talking about the effect on price, and they need to be honest about that.”

The New Democrats support the push toward green energy, but they argue it’s nuclear and gas-fired plants that are behind the cost increases.

“(Premier) Dalton McGuinty has decided to go with the highest cost he can: time-of-use meters that are not going to save energy and are going to drive up costs, nuclear power that’s very expensive … gas-fired power plants that are dependent on the price of gas,” said Peter Tabuns, the Ontario NDP’s energy critic.

“They have made huge mistakes on the electricity file, and people are going to have to pay for it.”

8 thoughts on “Rate hikes could double once green energy subsidies are rolled out

  1. Tabuns is so lost. He still thinks we can run the grid on renewables alone.

    As a member of the opposition, is he blind to the fact that all these natural gas plants are only needed to balance the whacky wind? Does he seriously think wind can replace nuclear?

    I find it hard to believe he is really that stupid. This is all about politics, folks.

  2. The REAL AGENDA of the Green Energy Act is to make it so expensive to use electricity that we will be forced to try and conserve…..or go without energy…because all GREEN ENERGY is FAKE ENERGY…

    It’s funny how they give us all Smart Meters and then jack up the rates so that we still end up paying more than ever for energy…

    Even when they announced a Conservation and rebate program a few years ago, it was so successful that they lost revenue…As a result,they had to increase rates…

    The Ontario Liberal Government has ZERO credibility…

    At least BullFrog is more honest…They ask you to pay more to FAKE Green Energy…

    Who needs Cap ‘N Trade (Cap ‘N Tax) when you have the FAKE Green Energy Act…??

    Hydro Rate Increases are only STEALTH Tax Increases….

    Do I need to mention that Dalton was initially elected and promised no NEW TAXES….What did he immediately do ?

    Guess he’s off the hook now because he has disguised ‘Tax Increases’ as ‘Rate Increases’….or “Hamonization”….to ensure that he can compound the tax increases…

  3. Based on some the ridiculous comments
    Taubun has made recently, it isn’t
    particularly difficult to believe that he
    really is that stupid.

  4. Lets not forget that about six months ago, Premier McGoofie and Smitherman vowed
    that the implementation of the GEA would only add 1% per annum to the average
    electricity bill. Maybe they should fire their number crunchers.

  5. If this continues we will not only see a hike in our residential electricity bills. For example retail stores including grocery stores with freezers and refrigerators will have to raise prices to cover their electricity bills. Higher electricity prices effects everyone.

  6. Like Spain we in Ontario will be a broken economy. We won’t be able to use electricity or buy food or gas. McGuinty is delusional and must be stopped at all cost. Pretty soon all of Ontario will rise up and OUST this mad man. In Europe, the first turbines were smaller and placed on hillsides near highway etc. When they produced little hydro, about 20% the exploiters decided that bigger is better but because our regs are so lax due to the Green Energy Act, we were ripe to be exploited for the Feed In Tariffs…
    I read today that Us thinks we are a joke! Over kill in the name of McGuinty’s EGO and race to make Ontario the winner of Green Energy initiatives. Because of the false claims of green jobs, he looks like he is solving unemployment!

    Glad we are bringing our soldiers home, we might need them to defend our lands!!!!

  7. Conservation starts with all our politicians. They need to support sensible energy usage and change their working hours to the “off peak” rate times….after 10pm. If they don’t like the midnight shift, then they need to be work Saturdays and Sundays. Why are they at work when energy rates are at their peak? These guys need to walk the talk and set the proper example for us all.

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