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Hydro Rates Set to Skyrocket, Again

(April 15, 2013) If the Liberals new tire tax, trades tax, eco fees, increased WSIB premiums, and the latest proposal for highway tolls are not enough new taxes and fee increases for 2013, the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are reaching into our pockets yet again by allowing hydro bills to go up.

Last week, the Ontario Energy Board announced, effective May 1st, 2013, smart meter pricing is set to increase by three to seven percent. Off-peak rates will go up 0.4 cent to 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour. Mid-peak rates will go up 0.5 cents to 10.4 cents per kilowatt hour. Peak rates will increase 0.6 cents to 12.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

It’s a lot of money considering electricity rates were a fraction of that (4 cents/KWh) a few years ago. And, certainly hard to swallow considering the increase is due to subsidizing often foreign renewable energy producers for power that we don’t need and have to pay other jurisdictions to take.

In fact, not too long ago the Auditor General estimated that in between 2005-2011 Ontario lost $1.8 billion paying other jurisdictions outside Ontario to take our surplus power. According to data from the Independent Electricity System Operator this computes to a loss, on average, of $24,000 per operating hour of renewable energy.

Are we willing to give away $24,000 per hour for energy that due to our climate is so inefficient that 80% is surplus and has to be exported at a loss; especially considering our $12 billion deficit and $411 billion dollar debt. It’s hard to rationalize. And, the result, as we’ve seen, is more debt, more taxes and increased hydro bills.

Most shocking about the Liberals Green Energy Act (GEA), however, are the falsehoods it perpetuates about being beneficial to the environment.

According to a new special report released by the Fraser Institute—Ontario Prosperity Initiative: Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act—the Liberals wind and solar energy push does little to yield any environmental benefits at all.

In fact, the leading Canadian think tank reported that due to the unpredictable nature of wind and solar power, we cannot rely on renewable energy without ensuring backup power from another source. And, due to our power surplus, more turbines and solar farms connected to the grid—unless we pay more to get rid of power—means cutting back on energy elsewhere and most likely reverting back from nuclear energy to gas-fired generation that yields far more air emissions and defeats the whole purpose of the entire initiative.

And if that isn’t enough, the Fraser Institute reports that the GEA will have a devastating impact on jobs. They anticipate further electricity price increases by 40% to 50%, which they note will impact the cost of production in key industries such as mining and manufacturing. They expect the rate of return to capital in manufacturing to decrease by 29% leading to massive closures and job loss.

As a former Energy Minister, I can attest that there is a reason Ontario never pursued this avenue before, and if the Liberals had of done their homework they would have realized that.

Wind and solar energy in Ontario is not only inefficient and expensive, but it does little to reduce air emissions, and, in fact, may have an adverse effect. The Liberals co-called green energy scheme is increasing hydro bills, costing us jobs and hurting Ontario, all the while doing little if anything for the environment. Ontario cannot afford the Liberals political games.

The Ontario PCs are committed to canceling these subsidies and restoring local control over renewable energy projects. To read the Fraser Institute report please click here.

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