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McGuinty Raises Hydro Rates Yet Again

Hydro Hiker(Queen's Park Report - May 3, 2011) I had a message waiting for me at my Collingwood office recently.  Harold Marshall, a farmer in Singhampton, had called to let me know that Hydro One had just told him they were turning his smart meter on.  Harold had a simple request.  "Would you ask McGuinty how I'm going to get the cows to read time?"

Calls like Harold's aren't uncommon.  In fact, phone calls and emails to my offices on hydro are so frequent it's hard to keep up with all of them.  But it's understandable, because the cost of energy is one of the biggest expenses for homeowners and businesses, including those in the agricultural sector.

When Dalton McGuinty came to office in 2003, residential hydro rates were 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.  Today, they have reached 7.9 cents if you're on a flat rate.  That's an 84% increase.  It's worse if you're on time-of-use metering, like Mr. Marshall.  The peak price has reached 10.7 cents per kilowatt hour, representing a 150% increase.

These hydro hikes are a direct result of Dalton McGuinty's expensive energy experiments, like his so-called Green Energy Act.  He once promised that this legislation would only cause rates to rise by 1%, but later he conceded that he now expects bills to go up a further 46%.

What do these increases mean for you?  According to the well regarded Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the average family hydro bill will increase $732 per year by 2015.

While we struggle to pay those inflated rates, consider this:  Dalton McGuinty is using our money to simultaneously subsidize power to Quebec, New York, and New Jersey, who are all paying less for Ontario power than what we are being charged.  Hard to swallow, isn't it?

I don't like it anymore than those who call my office, and that's why I'm fighting back.  Since January, I've been to nearly 50 towns and cities in Ontario to push back against these rate hikes on my hydro awareness tour.

It started in January when I took to the road to talk about the 150% increase in rates.  It continued in February when I talked about the need to get the Debt Retirement Charge off of our hydro bills, and it has continued each and every time McGuinty blows more of our money out the door on expensive energy experiments and rate hikes, like the one that took effect on May 1st.

My commitment is to keep fighting against Dalton McGuinty's assaults on the family budget.  We cannot let him get away with constant tax increases and constant hydro hikes.  I will go from town to city across Ontario until the government puts consumers first, and respects that they pay the bills.

Under the leadership of Tim Hudak, the PC Party will put an end to signing massive subsidies to energy developers that receive upwards of 80 cents a kilowatt hour for power, when the market price is just five cents.

We'll put a consumer advocate on the Ontario Energy Board and develop a transparent plan to get the Debt Retirement Charge off of our hydro bills as quickly as possible.  We will also pull the plug on Dalton McGuinty's mandatory smart meter tax machine scheme and make time-of-use pricing optional.  That way, Harold Marshall won't have to teach his cows to read time.

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