MPP Jim McDonell Confronts Premier Wynne on Hydro Poverty

May 13, 2015

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jim McDonell rose in Question Period today to bring forward the serious concerns of constituents, businesses and charities about rising hydro rates and unsustainable over-billing by the utility.


“Many residents fear opening their hydro bills, if they get them at all, because they know that their efforts to save on electricity do not matter when more than half of a bill is administrative charges and the Global Adjustment,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “Under Premier Wynne’s watch hydro rates have skyrocketed, forcing many Ontarians, including Ontarians living on fixed incomes to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table. The Liberals’ mismanagement of the energy portfolio has driven up hydro bills and created a new, terrifying reality in our once prosperous and competitive province: electricity poverty.”


Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the front lawn at Queen’s Park under the banner “Hydro: Enough is Enough,” with many members of the PC Caucus in attendance.


“People took the time to come to Toronto and make their voices heard because they know Ontario can do better,” MPP McDonell commented. “Our Province has abundant water power and our nuclear expertise is second to none. We have the means to produce cheap and plentiful energy that would attract employers. Instead, the Liberals believe they know better than the thousands of individuals, businesses and charities that are struggling to pay their bills, and continue leading the Province down the path that has caused peak hydro rates to rise by 15% on May 1st alone. Enough is enough; when will the Liberals realize it?”


Speaking at the Ontario Power Summit later, MPP McDonell highlighted that ratepayer assistance programs are not properly funded and aren’t a solution.


“In the last year for which data is publicly available, local utilities ran out of Low-Income Energy Assistance Program money in April,” MPP McDonell stated.  “Ontarians pay more for electricity at night than Quebecers do at peak time. The Government pays solar producers 44 cents per kWh, but charges ratepayers 16 cents to use it, making up the difference through the Global Adjustment. According to the Auditor-General, the GA has cost Ontarians $50 billion over the past 10 years, money that could have been used to bring tax relief to families and build capacity in the health care system. There is a real cost to Liberal mismanagement in energy.”


A recent report by Ed Clark recommended selling Hydro One shares and assets.


“We know Premier Wynne steered the Clark report in the direction she wanted it to go,” MPP McDonell stated. “She wanted cash for the Government and she needed the report to give her free rein over Hydro’s assets. The Liberals have the essence of Government all wrong: it’s time to use sound engineering and economic principles when setting energy policy.”