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
Hon Charles Sousa
Minister of Finance
7th Floor, Frost Building South
7 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Y7
Industrial Wind and Solar Farms
Nobody knows what’s best for a community better than the people, small businesses and local councillors who live there. That's one of the reasons why Jim has been strongly opposed to Dalton McGuinty's Green Energy Act that takes away local decision making when it comes to the development of industrial wind and solar farms.