Hydro rate increases will be held to inflation after 25% cut

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the party's plan offers a number of concrete solutions to tackling hydro costs in the province

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the party's plan offers a number of concrete solutions to tackling hydro costs in the province

"I have heard from people around the province who are anxious about the price they are asked to pay for electricity and the impact it has on their household budget", Premier Kathleen Wynne says in a statement released Thursday.

As first revealed by the Star on Wednesday, Wynne is moving forward with a 17 per cent reduction on monthly bills this summer atop the eight per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax that took effect January 1. So, the government says it will extend the financing period of those investments in order to "ensure that system costs are more equitably distributed over time".

It's being reported that the plan was approved by the premier's cabinet yesterday, prior to today's announcement.

The move comes after the average residential hydro bill has jumped‎ from $91 a month in 2005 to $156 previous year, threatening the governing Liberals' re-election chances on June 7, 2018.

"We're taking it to the next level", Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault told the legislature during Tuesday's question period.

"Electricity rates in Ontario will come down significantly, they're going to stay down and everyone will benefit", Ms. Wynne said.

As it related to the NDP's desire not to produce more electricity than needed, Rinaldi said that "eliminating Time of Use pricing will increase peak demand and destroy conservation efforts". The interest on the refinancing will run to $1.4 billion a year.

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In a speech to the Economic Club of Canada on February 24, Thibeault said Ontario's Green Energy Act is partially to blame for the high cost of power.

The global adjustment also covers the premiums paid to green energy generators, such as wind and solar companies sell power to the electricity grid.

Additional measures were announced Thursday to give low income, northern and rural Ontario consumers additional savings, at a cost to the province of $2.5 billion over the next three years.

The Liberals responded considerably less favourably to the idea of not only stopping any further sale of Hydro One shares, but also buying back the 30% already privatized.

"As I have said, electricity is a necessity".

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, who is well ahead in public opinion polls, has been coy about what he would do if he won the election set for June 7, 2018.

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