The high cost of hydro continues to be the Achilles’ heel of Kathleen Wynne’s government.
Electricity prices in Ontario have been skyrocketing in recent years, mostly due to conscious and deliberate policy decisions the government has made.
Our local electricity distribution companies (LDCs), like Halton Hills Hydro and Centre Wellington Hydro, are not responsible for the massive increases in your hydro bill. The Liberal government at Queen’s Park is.
In January of this year, I launched a petition calling upon the government to immediately take steps to stabilize hydro rates. The response was tremendous, with hundreds of people coming forward to help gather signatures around our riding, and thousands of people signing in agreement.
I began tabling the petitions that were returned in the Ontario Legislature when the House resumed in February, and continued to do so as the year progressed. The petitions are still coming in, and I am still reading them into the record.
On Sept. 1, with the loss of what had been a safe Liberal seat in a by-election in Scarborough, the government woke up at last.
First, they panicked, proroguing the Legislature without seeming to understand the implications of shutting down the session. All the government bills, at their various stages in the legislative process, died on the Order Paper.
Then, they claimed a new session would herald a “reset,” with a new throne speech outlining a new agenda. In fact, there was very little that was new, other than a modest step to rebate the provincial portion of the HST on hydro bills. This reduction is estimated to be about 36 cents a day. The irony that the Liberals themselves had imposed this tax on hydro, starting in 2010, seemed to be lost on them.
When the Liberals were booed over hydro bills at the International Plowing Match on Sept. 20, the government seemed stunned. Exactly a week later, they cancelled the next round of a planned procurement of new solar and wind electricity projects, implicitly admitting that their so-called “Green Energy” program was putting significant upward pressure on electricity rates.
At the end of September, a poll commissioned by the Ontario Energy Association demonstrated the unprecedented anger of Ontario residents about hydro rates; 54 per cent of respondents said they believed the government to be on the wrong track, according to a published report.
What’s the bottom line in all this?
Hydro bills have become unaffordable for many households. Industries have left, taking thousands of good-paying jobs with them.
If you are concerned about hydro and want to have your say, please contact our riding office and add your signature to our petition.
Enough is enough.
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Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website is tedarnottmpp.com.