Ontario Energy Board shoots down big hydro hike
Published Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:19PM EST
Consumers have dodged another hydro bill bullet, as the Ontario Energy Board has shot down a request for a sizeable billing increase, CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss reports.
Ontario Power Generation had been requesting a hike of 6.2 per cent for power from its nuclear and hydro stations. The province gets nearly 70 per cent of its electricity from those sources.
But in a ruling announced Thursday afternoon by the Ontario Energy Board, the price increase will be limited to about 1 per cent.
"It's good news for energy consumers, who can take some degree of comfort in knowing that the OEB is fulfilling their mandate of protecting consumers and ensuring that they're doing their due diligence to ensure value for money in our energy system," said Energy Minister Brad Duguid.
"We're pleased with the decision."
Ontario Power Generation had wanted increased the rates to help pay for upgrades and improvements to nuclear facilities and for new hydro stations.
Initially, the agency wanted to raise prices by 9 per cent, but the Ontario government asked for a reduction.
But the Conservative opposition said that the resulting 1 per cent hike smacks of political interference ahead of a provincial election.
"I can see, as a former energy minister, having discussions with OPG to get their ask down to the OEB, but the fact the OEB sliced it to one per cent is highly suspicious," said opposition critic Jim Wilson.
"I'm very, very suspicious of it and I think Ontario families should be as well. It could very well be part of the Liberal seat saver program, and if it is, it's highly illegal."
Meanwhile, Bliss also reported that the energy board is asking Ontario Power Generation to study its "staffing, compensation and performance" in an effort to "address future costs."
Bliss said that the request could be a pre-emptive move ahead of the impending release of the so-called "sunshine list."
The list is made up of public employees who make more that $100,000 per year. Bliss noted that Ontario Power Generation has thousands of staffers on the list.
With a report from The Canadian Press