Hydro customers heavily subsidizing energy pensions

For Immediate Release
August 6, 2014

Simcoe – Every day taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to save and invest, largely because they are paying for unaffordable energy costs and bloated energy agency pensions.

Hydro consumers across the province are putting in almost $5 for every $1 employees are contributing to their pensions.

“Hydro One customers, and energy consumers on a whole are paying for these expensive and unsustainable pension plans,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “The government has failed to save for these overly-generous plans and now the consumer has to pay at a time when they can least afford it due to already sky-rocketing energy prices.”

Last Friday – just before the long weekend – the Wynne government quietly released a report on hydro pensions. The report was dated March 18th and kept from taxpayers until after the election. The real kicker however lies in the fact that taxpayers paid $585 million in 2012 into pension plans for employees who had contributed just over $100 million at agencies like Hydro One, OPG, the Independent Electricity System Operator, and the Electrical Safety Authority.

“They continue in the Legislature to talk about being open and transparent, but when something like this comes along, it’s so blatantly obvious that they’ve gone out of their way,” said Opposition Energy Critic Vic Fedeli. “When you see the cost of these pensions and you know that that transfers directly to hydro rates, it infuriates people in Ontario even more.”

In total, among the Ontario energy agencies, there are 18,000 active members and 19,000 retired and deferred members.

“Leaving hydro consumers, many of whom don’t have a pension, holding the bag on this is simply unacceptable,” said Barrett. “It’s no wonder people can’t afford to save or invest for their own retirement – they’re working to pay for someone else’s.”

Both Barrett and Fedeli agreed that the majority of constituents they spoke to prior to the June election, stated increasing hydro bills are the biggest concern presently and for the future. The March report indicates that “should [pension] plans go further into deficit, the sponsors and, ultimately, ratepayers will be required to pay even larger contributions.”

“It’s convenient the government sat on this report until after the election and then waited yet again until the Ontario Legislature had completed its summer debate,” Barrett continued. “This government lacks credibility when they refuse to clean their own house while telling workers and businesses they will be forced to pay a new jobs tax for the proposed Ontario pension.”

– 30 –

For more information please contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446, 905-765-8413