Peter Epp, Chatham Daily News
There hasn’t been this much angst about energy costs in Ontario for quite some time. Natural gas prices are rising, hydro-electricity prices are rising, and gasoline and diesel fuel prices are rising. It’s a perfect storm – and you can run but you can’t hide. If you own a home, or a business, or an automobile, these price increases are going to impact your life and your wallet in some way.
The latest jolt comes from the Ontario Energy Board, which has approved an increase in time-of-use prices, effective May 1. The energy board estimates that increase will mean an extra $2.83 a month for the average hydro customer in Ontario, or $33.96 annually. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s still an increase, and part of a pattern that we’re going to see unfold in this province in the coming years. Last December, the Ontario government announced that electricity rates in this province will probably be rising by 42% over the next five years. That’s an enormous increase, but its impact likely won’t be fully comprehended by most customers until they open their bill.
Part of the reason for the increases can be laid at the feet of Ontario’s Liberal government, which five years ago introduced the Green Energy Act. The cost to carry this program was never completely understood by dreamy-eyed bureaucrats at Queen’s Park. The legislation has required a major subsidization of wind and solar power projects. And while both of those forms of energy generation might someday be sustainable, they aren’t anywhere near that point yet. Indeed, it’s been estimated that Ontario’s green energy projects cost $1.2 billion more than the value of electricity they generated, according to a study done in 2012. Read article