Less use during winter given as reason by OEB
Ontario households and small businesses will be paying increased electricity prices starting May 1 and the reasoning given by the Ontario Energy Board has opposition politicians up in arms.
On April 14, the Ontario Energy Board announced time-of-use electricity prices will increase by approximately $3.13 per month on the “electricity” line, and about 2.5 per cent on the total bill, for a household that consumes 750 kWh per month.
The off-peak price will increase 0.4 cents to 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. The mid-peak price also increases 0.4 cents to 13.2 cents per kilowatt hour between 7-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. The off-peak price will increase 0.5 cents to 18 cents per kilowatt hour between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The explanation given was “Ontarians consumed less electricity than expected over the recent milder winter. As a result of lower usage, Regulated Price Plan (RPP) prices did not recover the full cost of serving RPP customers. One of the main reasons prices are increasing in May is to recover this shortfall.”
“The blame is not on mild weather, or that we are or aren’t consuming. It rests squarely on the shoulders of government,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell (NDP). “(The government) keeps signing lucrative contracts with generators. There is no need for the power and yet they are still signing these costly contracts. If we don’t need the power, not only are we paying the high prices (to the power generators) but selling it off for pennies on the dollar.”
Campbell said Ontarians are rightfully frustrated that the government introduced time-of-use smart meters on the basis of having to conserve electricity and now being told that is why electricity costs are going up.
The NDP claims the cost of electricity is increasing by more than nine per cent for the eighth year in a row.
“The government is out of touch with the priorities and struggles Ontarians are facing,” said Campbell, noting she’s been told by seniors in the riding they’ve had Hyrdo One bills larger than a pension cheque and for other constituents bills totalling more than their mortgage.
Last week during Question Period, Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown referenced a Hydro One bill which has been making traction on social media.
“I came across a photo of a Hydro One bill the other day – it was dated April 13, 2016. It read: On-peak: 0 kilowatts per hour used. Mid-peak: 0 kilowatts per hour used. Off-peak: 0 kilowatts per hour used. Total cost of electricity charges: $113,” Brown said.
“Why is it acceptable for Hydro One to charge this family $113 for not using any electricity?” Brown added.
Campbell said to put pressure on the Liberal majority government, it is stories like this that have to be brought forward.
“Send me, send the government messages that tell about your troubles,” said Campbell. She can be reached on facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.