[Ontario electricity rates] Wynne’s way: Rob the poor, help the rich – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – September 13, 2016)


The Wynne government loves to bask in the virtues of “sustainable” energy.
But its deranged pursuit of green energy at any cost – dating back to
the days when Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau’s BFF, was cutting his teeth
at Queen’s Park – is not economically sustainable at all.

Electricity prices in Ontario are rising faster than anywhere else
in North America. Many experts, including Bank of Montreal chief
economist Doug Porter, warn that soaring hydro rates are among the
biggest threats to the provincial economy.

Out in rural Ontario, far away from the lush grounds of Queen’s Park, a crisis is brewing. Electricity rates have soared so high that many people can’t afford to pay their hydro bills. Local charities have a name for it: energy poverty. The problem is so bad that they’ve set up relief funds to help protect families from the threat of disconnection.

No wonder Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Premier, is running for cover. The Liberal government’s energy policy has been a disaster for lower-income citizens, especially in rural areas, where delivery charges are significantly higher.

Many rural households now face hydro bills of $400 or $500 a month – double what they were 10 years ago. As the big thinkers in Toronto bask in air-conditioned bliss, more and more folks are struggling to cover both the hydro bill and food.

“People have become obsessive,” says Francesca Dobbyn, who is head of the United Way for Bruce and Grey Counties. “They’re sitting in the dark. They’re walling off part of their homes. They’re unplugging the stove, the kitchen clock, the microwave.” Sadly, utility providers (which disconnected 60,000 customers last year) aren’t especially sympathetic. “They told one woman to tell her kids to stop playing Xbox.”

With sky-high hydro rates and other political calamities on her plate, Ms. Wynne desperately needs to jolt her government’s approval ratings back to life before the next election. On Monday, she promised to axe the provincial-sales tax on electricity for everyone.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/wynnes-way-rob-the-poor-help-the-rich/article31835620/

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