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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

Hydro rate cuts in Ontario

Wynne, cut it out

If there was ever an appeal for votes, then Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cut to residents’ hydro bills is definitely one.

 

She announced last week the government would be implementing further reductions to hydro bills, totalling 25 per cent.

The reduction is being compared to remortgaging, where the government would make smaller payments to energy contracts over longer periods of time. This puts debt pressure on future generations because Wynne’s future after the next four years is a little hazy.

Wynne estimated the move would save about $1.5 billion a year by keeping increases at the rate of inflation, but only for the next four years.

At least Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault admitted that eliminating coal and rebuilding the grid cost “billions of dollars”  which “came at the expense of many families.”

Wynne’s “cuts” are a smoke screen and don’t address the real issues with hydro bills: global adjustment fees and delivery charges.

As prices increased, people started to use less and less electricity, so the fees and charges increased. This is what Wynne should focus on; instead, she wants to get back into the “good books” of voters.

In the next election, this issue will put Liberals in hot water (hopefully heated by electricity they paid for). But Conservatives aren’t any better … they don’t even have a plan.

– Olivia


VS.


Take what you get, move on

Time and time again we hear about soaring hydro costs.

 

Whether at a casual dinner with friends or sitting in a council chamber while a municipality discusses its latest budget, hydro rate increases are the not-so-subtle elephant in the room.

Last week Premier Kathleen Wynne announced she had a plan. The government intends to pass legislation before the summer to cut residential hydro rates by 25 per cent. That’s significant.

The government will also make cuts for rural and remote customers who have seen huge increases over the last decade.

The Wynne government listened ... and they’re doing something to improve the lives of their constituents. That’s what government is supposed to do.

Yet no one’s happy.

The opposition is postulating this plan is a ploy to increase Wynne’s support in opinion polls before the 2018 election. So what if it is? Hydro consumers are still benefiting regardless of the motivation.

Critics are also saying the cuts pass along this government’s mistakes to future generations. Wynne doesn’t refute that; she even confirms it. If taking more debt gets the rates down and buys the province time to come up with a long-term solution, so be it.

Debt is a healthy way of life - as long as it’s managed. The real question is whether the government is looking for sustainable solutions. Can anyone else envision alternative energy sources?

 

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 10

 
 

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