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Energy

The Liberals Continue Collection of Debt Retirement Charge

(February 3, 2014) I read with interest a recent letter to the editor about the Debt Retirement Charge on hydro bills. As MPP, it’s a common issue that I get asked about so I thought I would provide some information and share what I know about this by all accounts paid off fee.

For those that don’t know, Ontarians began paying the debt retirement charge back in 2002 in order to pay down the $7.8 billion residual stranded debt that was left over from the former Ontario Hydro. At the time, this was thought to be the fairest way to repay this expense.

 

In accordance with the Electricity Act, the debt retirement charge was set to expire once the residual stranded debt was paid off. This was estimated to be 2012.  In actuality, the Annual Report of the Electricity Financial Corporation shows that by 2010 the Liberal Government had collected the $7.8 billion owed and then some.

 

The Auditor General of Ontario at the time, Jim McCarter, confirmed this finding in his 2011 annual report when he noted that, “as of March 2011, $8.7 billion of the $7.8 billion residual stranded debt had been collected.” Despite this clear finding and without explanation the Liberal government continues to collect the debt retirement charge and refuses to open the books to show where the money is going.

 

To raise awareness on this issue, I launched a province wide tour in 2011 to ring alarm bells far and wide. The tour was a success, but the government refuses to listen and actually extended the collection of this fee on our monthly hydro bills to 2018.

 

In the 2013 Fall Economic Statement, the Finance Minister claims the debt still owing is $3.9 billion despite the fact that he notes $11.6 billion will have been collected by the end of this March. It begs the question, where has all of this money gone?

 

Enough is enough.

 

The loophole that allows the government to use the debt retirement charge as a bank must be closed. For more information or to make a formal complaint, I encourage you to write to the Premier and Finance Minister directly. I have listed their contact information below.

 

To read PC Finance Critic MPP Vic Fedeli full analysis on the Debt Retirement Charge  click here

 

Hon Kathleen O. Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

Phone: 416-325-1941

Fax: 416-325-9895

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Hon Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

7th Floor, Frost Building South
7 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Y7

Phone: 416-325-0400

Fax: 416-325-0374

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