Ontario is playing politics with power – again – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – November 3, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Do you understand your electricity bill? Me neither. All I know is that it keeps going up. There was a rate increase in May, and Ontarians got another one this week.

The provincial government made it sound like nothing. An increase of only 3.4 per cent, on average. Four bucks and change a month! A latte at Starbucks costs more. But this isn’t the truth, of course. The truth is that residential electricity rates have gone up a whopping 12.6 per cent since last winter, says Tom Adams, an independent energy consultant who is an expert on energy politics in Ontario.

The average Ontario household is paying about a third more for power than in 2010. On Jan. 1, bills will go up again when the government cancels the 10-per-cent rebate that it cheerily calls the “clean energy benefit.” There will also be a new tax to subsidize low-income users. Suck it up, people. There is no end in sight.

“Your power bill is out of control, and the provincial government doesn’t go a day without making it worse,” Mr. Adams says.

Not long ago Ontario’s energy prices were in the middle of the pack. Today they are sky-high. Much of the problem is policy-induced – a result of the governing Liberals’ costly green schemes, runaway benefits and pension costs for hydro workers, and political shenanigans dating back to the misty dawn of time.

The government pretends that conservation can save you money if only you use your “smart meter” and switch to off-peak power. Good luck with that. Eight years ago, the price of off-peak power was about 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. Today it’s 8.3 cents.

Now the desperately cash-strapped government is selling off a big chunk of Hydro One to raise money. The shares go on sale this week, and eventually the sale could fetch as much as $9-billion. The Liberals plan to use the proceeds to pay down debt and invest in infrastructure, mainly public transit.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/ontario-is-playing-politics-with-power-again/article27072317/

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