Liberals Energy Boondoggle to Continue
(February 3, 2014) I know I’ve written a lot about it, but inquiries related to hydro have become the single largest issue my offices and I deal on a regular basis. Not only are people concerned by exorbitant price increases, but I continue to get calls about the debt retirement charge, the cost of delivery, and problems with customer service, including such matters as receiving bills on time, malfunctioning smart meters and poor service. The escalating price of propane has also become a real issue. Let me try to briefly touch on each.
On the energy side, we all know the issue. The Liberal government’s energy scheme is forcing ratepayers to heavily subsidize renewable energy and it’s costing us big time. What are we paying for? That’s the ridiculous part. Wind turbines that communities often don’t want—like the turbines proposed in Clearview and the Blue Mountains—to produce energy that we don’t need, as well as a $1 billion price tag for the Liberals campaign decision to cancel gas plants, one of them days before the last election.
I am not only committed to stopping these subsidies, but also restoring municipal controls over these projects to allow people living in the community to decide if a particular project should go ahead. Last month, Wpd Canada’s application for eight 500-foot industrial wind turbines near the Collingwood Airport was accepted for technical review and correspondingly opened for public comment until February 1st, 2014. If you’ve missed this deadline, I encourage you to contact one of my offices or the Ministry of the Environment directly.
In addition to rate increases, ratepayers are also being dinged on their hydro bills with two other fees, the ‘debt retirement charge’ and ‘delivery’. Premier Wynne refuses to open the books to show where this money is going, but we know through the 2010 Electricity Financial Corporation’s Annual Report that the debt retirement charge has been paid off. The Auditor General of Ontario also confirmed this finding in his 2011 report. So, why is the Wynne Government continuing to collect the Debt Retirement Charge? For more information about this fee please click here.
And, while we continue to pay more, we are ultimately getting less.
I continue to receive countless calls from concerned constituents with complaints about incorrect billings and poor service. To simplify the process, I want to reiterate to local residents that my offices and I are here to help. Additionally, I always urge ratepayers to file a formal complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman and the Ontario Energy Board. Further Information about both these agencies can be obtained through my office or by clicking here.
And finally, another issue I have been receiving a lot of calls about is increases to the price of propane in Ontario. Although supply of propane is regulated federally though Natural Resources Canada, energy is a provincial responsibility and it’s been tough getting basic questions answered by the Ministry. Recently the federal government announced that it has launched an investigation to review the issue, including high prices and scarcity. I will continue to follow this issue closely and push the Ministry of Energy to develop and implement a plan in coordination with the federal government to ensure supply is stable and affordable.
There are a lot of issues here, but the bottom line is that Ontarians are not getting value for their money with this government. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about any of these issues.