What a mess. Years of dreamy plans for renewable solar and wind energy, expensive conservation plans, unfulfilled promises to close coal-burning stations, and a belief that Ontarians can always reach deeper to pay for hydro rate increases have led to massive rate increases and knee-jerk rebate programs.
Creeping user fees and tax hikes have led to a 75 per cent increase in hydro rates under Premier Dalton McGuinty, and that is before the HST. Worse still, McGuinty’s insistence on smart meters and an outsourced Green Energy Plan for solar and wind power will hike hydro bills another 46 per cent, according to the government’s own estimates. And you know the track record of McGuinty government estimates.
Massive incentives up to 20 times the usual cost of power for those who build uneconomical solar and wind projects will cause your bill to skyrocket. In addition, the government is building large natural gas-fired generating plants for those times where there is no wind or sun.
Those who have created or benefitted financially from these plans will strongly defend them. They have a vested interest. However, businesses are voting with their feet. They are leaving Ontario, because it is too expensive to operate here, taking jobs and future prosperity with them.
The Liberals will tell you they provided a 10 per cent rebate. They will tell you their plan will create thousands of new jobs — and they may be right, except those jobs will be in Korea, thanks to a $7 billion contract with Samsung. They’ll also tell you that the PCs voted against their plans, and we did, because their approach is wrong — rebates and huge subsidies for wind and solar power aren’t a viable solution. We need clean and affordable power in Ontario to bring industry back and to remove the financial yoke from Ontario families.
I believe that we need to refurbish and expand Ontario’s nuclear generating capacity. It already produces about 50 per cent of our electricity and is an affordable and relatively clean source.
Unlike the Liberal’s plan, nuclear plants actually produce power even when there is no wind or sun, on calm days and at night. My colleagues and I have been pushing hard for a choice between time-of-use pricing arrangements or a fixed cost per-kilowatt-hour plan. Choice is important.
For too long the McGuinty Liberals have ignored Ontarians’ ability to pay. They have wrapped themselves in the flag of cleaner air — something we all want — and can attain without paying foreign companies billions to get it. We need to remember who pays the bills.
Ted Chudleigh is the Conservative MPP representing the provincial riding of Burlington.