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Shocking hydro rates an election issue

Parties differ on what to do about rising electricity costs

By Mark Newman, News Staff 

Jean Brellisford and Mario Carovelli are hoping the provincial election will lead to some relief when it comes to hydro costs.

“I’m really upset because I thought when I retired I could do my laundry in the morning (but) you can’t do it in the morning, it’ll cost you more,” said the 68-year-old central Mountain resident who feels rising electricity costs could force some seniors out of their houses.

“Reduce the hydro,” added the 73-year-old Carovelli.

The west Mountain resident noted seniors who are on a fixed income are finding it difficult to pay for electricity.

Rising electricity costs are an issue for many business owners in the province noted Josh Hjartarson, vice president of policy and government relations with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

“Ontariois not Quebec, we don’t have access to cheap hydro,” he said.

Hamilton Mountain Liberal candidate Javid Mirza said the Wynne government is promising to get rid of the debt retirement service charge, which will save users about $70 a year, along with a series of tax credits to cushion the cost of electricity.

The NDP’s plan on hydro would see an end to four separate electrical utilities in the province.

“We need to start by putting all the different hydro corporations together as one (public utility),” said Mountain NDP MPP Monique Taylor, who noted the move would end waste and duplication.

Tory candidate Albert Marshall said the Liberals committed the province to green energy contracts that cost consumers 13 to 80 cents per kilowatt hour at a time when the cost of power was 4.5 to five cents.

“They either did not think or did not care to think about seniors on fixed incomes or those mothers or fathers trying to raise a family on minimum wage,” said Marshall, who noted the Progressive Conservatives plan to end these deals where possible. “These families are now being forced to decide between paying for power or feeding their family. This escalation of power rates needs to stop.”

Green Party candidate Greg Lenko noted hydro rates are on the way up and governments can’t stop that from happening,

“The Green Party of Ontario will put $1billion a year (saved from replacing the Darlington refurbishment with hydro from Quebec) into home energy retrofits,” he said. “This program will create jobs of all sorts, from construction to marketing to engineering and it will help people add value to their homes.”

 

 

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