Ontario has introduced legislation that would, if passed, lower electricity bills by 25 per cent on average for all residential customers to provide significant rate relief and ensure greater fairness.
The proposed Fair Hydro Act, 2017 would result in lower electricity bills for all residential consumers and as many as half a million small businesses and farms, starting this summer. “We listened to people about the need to do more to lower electricity costs,” Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said. Lower-income Ontarians and those living in eligible rural communities would receive even greater reductions, as much as 40 to 50 per cent. As part of this plan, rate increases for four years would be held to the rate of inflation.
These measures include the eight per cent rebate introduced in January and build on previously announced initiatives to deliver broad-based rate relief on all electricity bills. Taken together, these changes would deliver the single-largest reduction to electricity rates in the province’s history.
If passed, the legislation would:
- Enable the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to work together to spread out the costs of Ontario’s clean energy investments over a longer period of time, which ensures that the costs of these investments are allocated fairly among current and future ratepayers. This would be accomplished through refinancing a portion of the Global Adjustment (GA), resulting in significant and immediate rate reductions.
- Modify the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) to ensure it is funded by government instead of ratepayers, reducing bills for all.
- Enhance the Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) program to provide distribution charge relief to about 800,000 customers and shift costs from ratepayers to provincial revenues. This would include customers served by local distribution companies (LDCs) with the highest rates.
- Provide on-reserve First Nations households with a 100 per cent credit of the delivery line on their monthly electricity bills.
NDP, P.C.’s to Vote Against Hydro Rate cut
Both opposition parties have announced they will vote against the legislation. “Starting next year, hydro rates will rise again, and by 2024 Ontarians will be paying a record high,” Progressive Conservative leader Patrick brown said. His party’s source is a leaked cabinet document presented to the Liberal cabinet in March. According to the document bills will increase to $151 by 2023.
New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Andrea Horwath cites the same leaked document. “I think people knew that, one way or another they’d pay the prices for Premier Wynne’s latest move on hydro, but the costs Wynne is expecting us all to take on with this plan is truly disgusting,” Horwath said according to CP24. The NDP plans to reduce hydro rates by 30%.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne first announced the cut in March, 2017.