“I submit I am not going out on much of a limb when I say there is a direct correlation between Hydro’s rates and our rate of unemployment in Ontario. As the rates go up, so will the rate of unemployment.” – Dalton McGuinty, Hansard, September 23, 1991
QUEEN’S PARK – Continuing to table a series of pro-growth ideas, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak today proposed a plan for dealing with a mounting problem for job creation and the province’s competitiveness: industrial power rates which are among the highest in North America and projected to go even higher.
“The main drivers of future increases are expensive subsidies paid to renewable energy developers – whether we need the power or not,” Hudak said. “So today I am tabling a Private Member’s Bill to replace them with an approach that treats energy policy as a key economic policy.”
Hudak’s Bill would end the Liberals’ Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and microFIT schemes – which pay unsustainable subsidies to developers through 20-year contracts.
“There’s plenty of evidence that ending these subsidies is the right thing to do,” Hudak said. “For example, the Auditor General found that under the FIT program, ratepayers may have to pay energy generators up to $225 million a year not to generate electricity, given that renewable energy is being added to the system much faster than the growth in the economy’s demand.”
Also under Hudak’s Bill, industrial wind and solar farms not yet connected to the power grid would require Ministerial consultation with the affected communities, prior to a final decision by the Minister on whether a project should proceed, be renegotiated, or in some cases ended before they really get going, Hudak explained. Value-for-money and supply-and-demand issues would also be considered.
“Ontario urgently needs to kick-start job creation and attract new investment,” Hudak said. “The Liberals have relied on massive spending and costly subsidies for wind and solar that drive up hydro rates – undercutting job creation and competitiveness.
“With job losses mounting since well before the last recession, this approach has been a clear failure. The Bill I am introducing today is another expression of the new approach I’ll bring to Ontario’s jobs and economic crises.”