Barrett concerned electricity prices driving out industry

May 5, 2015

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took the government to task during Question Period for its energy policies that could be scaring business away from the area.
Barrett’s question to the Premier came after he heard from a local industry saying it would likely move to the U.S. due to the high cost of electricity compared to the 3 cents/kWh south of the border. Previously, Barrett was aware of other local companies being enticed to move to the U.S.
“One of the basic principles of business is to make a profit, but Ontario now has the highest electricity rates in North America. Businesses cannot afford these rates,” Barrett said in the Legislature. He then asked the Premier, “Why will you not change your hydro policy to encourage not only this small company but other companies to remain in the Province of Ontario?”

The Premier referred to the Minister of Energy for an answer, who spoke of programs that could assist industries.

“My question is if they have these programs, why industries aren’t made aware of their existence,” Barrett said. “Still, though, reducing the high rate of 16 cents per kWh by 25 per cent means an industry is still paying four times what some States are offering.”

Barrett followed up, “My local companies are being lured by North Carolina, they’re being induced by Michigan, Ohio, New York state—all these inducements are on the table. They come and visit. I’ve heard this from a number of companies even before the latest electricity hike. Now it’s accelerated.”

With the answer this time coming from the Minister of Energy and referring to funds available for industrial expansion, Barrett retorted, “Many businesses aren’t looking for ways to expand, they are in survival mode. They are looking for ways to keep costs down and remain in the area.”
Barrett’s question today followed his comments yesterday in the Legislature: “The fact remains that electricity prices to date have tripled. The top-end price has tripled. Under this Liberal government, when they came in, the rate was 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour. Business knows this. I don’t think we’re going to see any alleviation of rates under this majority sale. This budget does not guarantee any savings in electricity.”

For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett
at 519-428-0446 or by e-mail at [email protected]