The Ontario government’s hydro horror show

By MPP Toby Barrett


They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and under the guise of green energy, the present government has taken us on that road to the highest electricity rates in North America.

The result, a litany of horror stories from local ratepayers that would make Stephen King cringe.

I think of a recent office visit from a Port Rowan lady who loved to do baking for her mother and others in Norview. But now, she has been forced to turn off her kitchen oven as she cannot afford the electricity.

My office has taken calls from people who say they were disconnected without receiving notices. Then, they are told reconnection will take three days, but if an additional $180 is paid their hydro could be turned on sooner.

Then there’s the local farmer who also had his electricity shut off. He had paid his current bill but decided to take a stand against a new invoice that charged him $21.12 in electricity and $1,301.73 for delivery. This issue hasn’t been resolved, but in the meantime he has gone off the grid and bought a generator.

A Haldimand County gentleman “does everything right” when it comes to energy conservation in his home. He has installed energy efficient appliances, lighting, new heating and air-conditioning, has an on-demand water heater and is never home during on-peak hours. However, he gets a monthly bill of over $400. If that’s not bad enough, his family business pays $40,000 a month for electricity. Last year it was $30, 000 a month. No increase in sales, and a 30 per cent increase in expense makes it tough for any business.

Then there’s is the case of a Langton-area resident who is also doing everything right – new high efficiency furnace, new air conditioner, natural gas dryer, and natural gas water heater in a 1,300-square-foot home. His $400 a month bill is double that of a year ago.

This hydro horror tale has been brewing for some time. A couple of years ago, I met with a couple who live in a modest 790 square foot house – they heat with one electric space heater, wear heavy sweaters all winter and are doing absolutely everything they can to keep costs down. But their January hydro bill, back then, was $641.67 — $233.89 of which was delivery. During the meeting I was told: “All my pension goes to pay my electricity.” I can only imagine how their bill has escalated since.

Now frightened of the wrath of voters, the provincial government has recently tried to modify the ending of its own horror story by not going forward with some of the renewable contracts. Yet, they forge ahead with others, even though we don’t need the power. With much of the outcry coming from rural Ontario with its higher delivery charges, the government announced a paltry rebate. This though will be eaten up by the next price increase on Nov. 1 and the coming cap and trade tax.

And just in time for Halloween, when people of all ages don costumes to play a fantasy role for the evening, the premier labels Ontario residents, when it comes to greenhouse gases, as “very bad actors”.  I disagree with that label and, under the circumstances, feel people are doing the best they can.