TORONTO — Ontario residents can brace for another hike in electricity bills on Jan. 1. The increase comes on the heels of a jump just two months ago, and hydro bills will rise again after the Liberals introduce a cap-and-trade plan in the spring.
Under the Liberal government, electricity prices in Ontario soared from a flat 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour in 2004, to the Nov. 1, 2015 rate of 17.5 cents a kwh at peak times, increases that total almost 375 per cent. There are various changes taking effect in the new year that will have an impact on electricity bills.
Energy sector analyst Tom Adams calls it “a multi-dimensional, inter-temporal shell game” of power rates. There are few details known about the Liberal’s cap-and-trade plan to fight climate change, but it is expected to push up prices for many consumer goods, including electricity.
“In terms of cap and trade, the cost of doing nothing is huge,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press. “We don’t have a choice as a globe.”
The Liberals have started the process of selling up to 60 per cent of Hydro One, which the opposition parties warn will also drive up electricity rates, but the government says rates will still be set by the Ontario Energy Board. “There’s no doubt about it, that we think the sale is going to have a negative impact on the electricity bill,” said Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski. Read article