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Ontario’s 25% hydro rate cut will actually cost about $1.4B a year

The Ontario government's plan to reduce hydro bills pushes the extra costs into the future


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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne addressing the Ontario legislature. PHOTO: Premier of Ontario Photography/Flickr

TORONTO—The Liberal government unveiled its plan today to cut hydro bills, the biggest political issue boiling in Ontario less than a year-and-a-half away from an election.

The across-the-board relief, which adds up to 25 per cent after the eight-per-cent rebate that took effect Jan. 1, is being achieved by refinancing the province’s long-term power generation contracts over even longer terms.

In extending these contracts, the average 17-per-cent reduction in electricity bills this summer in Ontario is coming with a price tag of up to $1.4 billion a year in extra interest costs.

Those extra costs will ultimately come due for ratepayers in the future.

Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted that over time it will cost a bit more and will take longer to pay off, but added ratepayers don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of huge system costs.

“Over time it will cost a bit more. That’s true. And it will take longer to pay off…but it is fairer,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday as she detailed her plan.

The Liberal government faces no bigger political issue at the moment than hydro bills, which have nearly doubled in the last decade.

“The people and families I’ve spoken with in recent months have made it clear: this must be our top priority. The burden of high hydro rates has become too great. We have to bring them down.”

Several other measures were announced today to give low-income, rural and northern residents additional savings, which will cost the government another $2.5 billion over three years.

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