Power down, or pay up

Herr McGuinty

Hydro hikes are coming at us fast and furious

By KALVIN REID  St. Catherine Standard

This is the price we are paying for an illconceived McGuinty election promise to close the province’s coal-fired hydro plants (illconceived in that it was made without a feasible, cost-effective plan to make it a reality). This is the price we are paying for a government that has jacked up spending over its seven years in power and is now desperately short of cash — hence the HST. This is price we are paying for a system that is heavy with bureaucracy, with the top executive receiving a seven-figure salary, vice-presidents (and there are many of them) pulling in more than half-a-million dollars and shift supervisors being paid about double what they would get in the private sector.

Nickels and dimes add up, and we are on the verge of being buried by the venerable beaver and Bluenose.

Horizon Utilities, serving customers in St. Catharines and Hamilton, has announced it is seeking permission for a 12% hike in its fees in January, with plans for further increases in the future so it can embark on an aggressive renewal of its aging infrastructure.

In dollars and cents, it doesn’t amount to a crippling amount of money, only about $3.77 on the average monthly bill.

But consider what has been happening in Ontario’s hydro sector over the past several months, and it puts this latest request for an increase in a whole new perspective.

In May, the Ontario Energy Board levied a $5.78 increase to pay for renewable energy and conservation projects.

And Smart Meters were introduced, adding time-of-use charges to Ontario households. In other words, it costs nearly twice as much to do your laundry or watch TV between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. than it does from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Then Premier Dalton McGuinty implemented the HST, which tacked an additional 8% on household energy bills.

And then came the request from Ontario Power Generation for $2.75 from each household to pay for the refurbishment of Canada’s nuclear power stations.

Now Horizon Utilities is entering the fray, and many industry watchers are predicting this is just the beginning. Forecasts are annual hydro increases between now and 2015 will drive a bill that was $100 a month up to $191 per month within five years.

McGuinty has responded to the growing storm with an extension of relief programs for seniors, and they certainly deserve it.

But the rest of us? We are left to tighten the belt some more, sacrifice some more and suffer.

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It’s not very encouraging.

This is the price we are paying for an illconceived McGuinty election promise to close the province’s coal-fired hydro plants (illconceived in that it was made without a feasible, cost-effective plan to make it a reality). This is the price we are paying for a government that has jacked up spending over its seven years in power and is now desperately short of cash — hence the HST. This is price we are paying for a system that is heavy with bureaucracy, with the top executive receiving a seven-figure salary, vice-presidents (and there are many of them) pulling in more than half-a-million dollars and shift supervisors being paid about double what they would get in the private sector.

And our choice, as hydro consumers? Power down, or pay up.

5 thoughts on “Power down, or pay up

  1. Everybody says it’s only a little bit of money, $5 or $10 dollars a month, but if you haven’t had a raise in 3 years or your new job pays $10 an hour less than your old one all those little bits can bankrupt you. Our gov’t is blind to these facts.

  2. “Power down and still pay more” should be the headline as that is the reality here……no matter how energy efficient your appliances, how low your light bulbs glare, no matter how you wash your laundry (cold water is in)…….you still pay more!

    Conservation doesn’t make a “tinkers dam” of difference in your bills anymore.

  3. The real irony of the ‘conservation plan’
    is that if it were possible for everyone to
    reduce consumption by say 10%, next
    year the utility co.’s would be seeking
    a 10% price hike to make up for their
    revenue shortfall.

  4. Sir ADAM BECK,must be rolling over in his grave.This is what he put an end to,many,many years ago.And,now it is back.GREED_GREED_GREED.It just turns your stomach.

  5. BC wants to be smart — just like Ontario

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-launches-power-program-to-take-on-ontario/article1742590/

    Power Smart. Pretty Good! eh?

    “In addition to the B.C. version of FIT, investors are expecting larger projects to qualify for long-term contracts – at higher rates – under B.C.’s standing-offer program. Under that program, BC Hydro agrees to purchase energy from small energy projects at long-term, fixed rates.”

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