Wynne heckled over hydro rates during IPM ceremony

 Premier Kathleen Wynne got a less-than-warm welcome from some visitors at the International Plowing Match on Sept. 20.

Not all attendees of the opening ceremonies agreed with Wynne’s comments about the Ontario government’s recent announcement to reduce hydro bills by eight per cent – the provincial sales tax portion of a bill.

During her speech, Wynne was booed by some members of the audience and even called a “liar.”

She told the crowd farmers are important to the Ontario economy and said her government is working to decrease electricity costs.

“I hear a mixed response to that,” she said in response to the jeering.

Wynne announced on Sept. 15 that the province would be introducing the Ontario rebate for electricity consumers act, which will provide a permanent on-bill rebate for eight per cent savings, or about $11 each month. Rural customers would also receive a decreased rural delivery charge.

Many Ontarians are speaking out over high hydro bills.

“But it’s really important that you know that as we take the PST, the provincial sales potion, off your bills and work with green house growers to make sure that they have the supply that they need at a cost they can afford (and) the rural folks have a 20 per cent reduction,” Wynne said.

“We know that those are the types of things that make your businesses viable.”

At that point, one person in the crowd yelled “liar.”

PC Leader party Patrick Brown took the opportunity to share his sympathy with farmers facing high electricity bills.

“We understand that our Ontario farmers are burdened by excessive red tape, we understand that Ontario farmers and processors are being forced out of business because of skyrocketing hydro rates,” said Brown.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath added the Hydro One sale would not help an already tough situation.

Ontario Hydro announces new rural response team

Later in the day, Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt and Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault announced a new rural response team.

The Farm Rapid Response Team will be used to assist farming customers to help identify, assess and mitigate on-farm electrical issues.

The team will manage and investigate all stray voltage and related on-farm electrical issues, have testing specialists in zones across the province, and conduct cause investigations when needed.