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Rising hydro rates hurting Ontario

(May 3, 2016) For many families across our great province, the cost of running a home is a constant concern.


While most people do their best to keep a watchful eye on expenses, there are always things that crop up. When this happens there is even greater pressure put on us to manage the family finances.


On May 1, unfortunately, another burden was placed on Ontario families. That's because another hydro rate increase took effect.


The annual energy costs for the average family are going up by $37.56.


PC Leader Patrick Brown talked about the latest rate hike during Question Period on Monday.


"On April 19, just over two weeks ago, the Finance Minister said hydro rates are going down. But yesterday, everyone else's hydro bills went up. It's clear from the Finance Minister's comments in the house that he must be getting a special deal on hydro," Brown said.


It certainly does make one scratch their head when the Liberals say one thing and yet the opposite happens.


Sadly, Ontario's energy costs are among the highest in North America and they are increasing at the fastest rate on the continent. Since November, hydro bills have increased by an average of $186.96 per year.


The Liberals are full of excuses for why the cost of hydro keeps going up but clearly this is a direct result of years of scandal, waste and mismanagement in the energy sector.


This bumbling on the part of Premier Wynne and her ministers hurts Ontario families. With such skyrocketing electricity rates, many families are forced to choose between paying their hydro bill and buying groceries.


And the rising cost of energy is also hurting our business community. Many businesses are struggling to pay their hydro bills and at the same time make investments in their infrastructure and employees. They simply can't afford to do it all.


Companies from outside Ontario are deterred from investing here because of our high hydro rates, and so this impacts job creation and tax revenue.


The Liberals don't like to talk about these problems but they are very serious and if something isn't done they are only going to get worse.


In Simcoe-Grey, our manufacturing sector, agricultural community, and tourism businesses are all struggling to deal with the high cost of energy. We need the Liberals to wake up and deal with this problem, instead of shrugging their shoulders every time the issue is raised during Question Period.


In other parts of the province the rising cost of electricity is just as troublesome.


For example, in Northern Ontario, the cost of hydro is crippling some communities. Our party leader heard about it firsthand while visiting with municipal officials in Thunder Bay last week.


He also met with business leaders in the region and some talked about how they are forced to shut down parts of their operation during peak-rate periods to keep costs sustainable.


It's time the Liberals stopped burying their heads in the sand and deal with the rising cost of electricity. Ontarians can't afford rate hikes every few months.

 

Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.


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