Nickels, dimes, Hydro crimes: Editorial

Toronto Sun

We’d ask whether anyone in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government is keeping track of the cumulative impact of electricity price increases on Ontarians, but the answer is obvious.

The answer is no.  Instead, McGuinty’s strategy seems to be to low ball each new hike as just a few more bucks and hope people don’t notice.

The latest is the recent decision by the Ontario Energy Board to permit utilities to boost their rate of return to 9.85% from 8.01%. That’s a potential $240 million increase in revenues benefitting public and private shareholders who invest in utilities.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says it will cost the average Ontario consumer $60 more a year — the OEB estimates just over $15, tops — tucked into the delivery charge on his or her hydro bill.

Whatever the increase, it’s just the latest in a series of electricity hikes that are pounding consumers’ wallets.

Ontario’s new “smart meter” system, based on time-of-use electricity rates and now being rolled out across the province, is raising hydro bills for most customers.

Then there’s the extra whack to rates caused by McGuinty’s imposition of the 13% Harmonized Sales Tax July 1. That added the 8% Ontario sales tax to the 5% federal GST people were already paying for electricity.

McGuinty’s Green Energy Act is beginning to hit hydro rates as electricity consumers pay more for wind and solar energy, which require huge, 20-year public subsidies to attract investors.

Given all these money grabs, even the small, special purpose charge of $4 per year the government charges to hydro consumers for conservation programs hurts.

None of the above increases factor in the eventual cost of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions through a cap-and-trade system, which McGuinty supports through Ontario’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative, with Quebec, B.C., Manitoba and several U.S. states.

Last spring, energy experts predicted the cost of electricity in Ontario will rise about 25% by the end of 2011 alone.

To be sure, rate hikes are needed to upgrade Ontario’s aging hydro infrastructure and both the government and consumers have inherited problems such as paying off the old Ontario Hydro stranded debt.

That said, how can seniors on fixed incomes possibly cope with a 25% increase on their electricity bills by the end of next year — just for starters?

For that matter, who in Ontario expects a 25% raise by then?

Finally, skyrocketing electricity rates are the last thing we need in the middle of a still-fragile economic recovery in a province especially hard hit by the recession.

Maybe McGuinty needs to get out of his office more and talk to real people about the financial impact of paying ever higher electricity rates, auto insurance premiums and 8% more for electricity, gasoline, home heating and hundreds of other goods and services through the HST.

Because he doesn’t seem to realize the suffering it’s causing.

15 thoughts on “Nickels, dimes, Hydro crimes: Editorial

  1. “To be sure, rate hikes are needed…”

    Wow, what a load of BS. Imagine financial incentives to the people for conserving power, rather than gigantic salaries for those who rob the poor to give to the rich, subsidies to perpetrators of the Big Wind Scam,, and financial rewards for dumping “surplus” power.

    Oh yes, and massive, debilitating fines for crimes against humans, our animal relations, and the land.

  2. You’re absolutely right Claire – and don’t forget restitution for everything the victims have lost – actually, how about saving the victims first & foremost?

  3. Katt, the massive fines would permanently cripple the scammers as well as fully compensate the injured.

  4. I just watched a television spot from the Ontario Power Authority. It is so slick and so inviting – lies, all lies.

    McGuinty and Duguid are such liars. Why do people put up with this? Is it just easier than making a fuss?

    What are people in B.C. doing about the harmful nature if wind development? There is sufficient outrage and clarity of vision about the HST.

  5. Fleecing the people requires using only small increments over time so they won’t become alarmed.

    The public would not tolerate being fleeced with just one huge increase in their electric bills. All politicians know how this scam of fleecing the people works.

  6. Every single homeowner who has just opened their Hydro Bill is asking …what the hell is going on here?………………

    We have the answers!

  7. You can’t get the publics attention until they get hit hard in their pocketbooks.

    The public needs a finiancial stake in an issue before they will act.

    Seems smart meters are too big a bite for the public to tolerate.

  8. A cap-and-trade provisions are included in the Green Energy Act to begin in 2012.

    IWTs can be assigned carbon credits,depending on their size,which can be sold and or traded probably on a yearly basis with 15% commissions on the trades. But IWTs have to be in place before trading can take place. So need to get them installed as soon as possible.

    Huge sums of money are involved in carbon trading markets. For all this to work new markets in Canada and the U.S. are needed. In other words new SUCKERS have to be brought in to keep the carbon trading game going and to pay for.

    It’s the ordinary people who will have to supply the money for this global scam through their electric bills. Only heaven knows how much this will cost the public.

  9. Was listening to the CBC radio yesterday and energy prices were being discussed. The increases are based on how much the U.S. LDC’s are receiving in revenues and Canadian LDC’s wanted to be on par with their U.S. counterparts. What will that do for the Canadian distribution system when many times it’s U.S. investors who are the stakeholders in Canadian LDC’s? These increases are stricktly to provide their shareholders with larger profits. A sad state of affairs to say the least.

  10. if we are going to be paying these stupid prices,lets get some of it back,by buying stock????

  11. Just another typical scam, Ontario Hydro (formerly known) is charging people for a debt retirement fee while the CEO is making millions!! WTF, don’t vote liberals, don’t vote conservative, there should be blood in the streets over the non-sense. When will people stop taking this????? HST is another money grab SCAM
    Remember the GST was suppose to reduce the debt!!?? WTF, wake up people. We need serious changes in our laws
    First change: any premier can be ousted within their term, no premier should be allowed to serve for 5 years without very tight scrutiny and a mandate or vote if people are dissatisfied
    2) Shut this country down like the French do, stike strike strike

  12. I agree with you, David – all but the blood in the streets part. God knows, we’ve got enough of that.

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