The Ontario Liberals have rigged your power charges and there is more to come

By Gerry Barker

Posted Decenber 5, 2015

Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, reports that  Ontario users of power were overcharged by more than $37 billion in eight years. This is a stunning analysis of a utility that has been mismanaged by the Liberal government under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne who were in charge.

Frankly, we believe Ms. Lysyk before Wynne or McGuinty. This is part of a huge series of mismanagement events by the present Liberal government headed by Kathleen Wynne.

My wife and I looked at our July/August Guelph Hydro bill that covers power costs and were astonished to see we paid a net $506.52 after the $56.28 “Clean Energy Benefit” rebate.

Now this doesn’t include the water portion of the hydro/water bill.

Home sweet home costing $1,500 a year for power.

We are just two adults living in a 2,800 square foot home and our hydro bill was 29.6 per cent higher in May and June compared to last year.

In all the years we have lived on this planet, we have never had a two-month increase in the use of power billed in this statement. Maybe we were power gluttons and we were using too much power at the wrong times. Nope. The highest usage was in the off-peak period in which we used 1,831.25 Kilowatts costing $146.50.

Now that’s the period from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. In 12 hours we’re asleep for 8 of them. The power during that period draw is for the airconditioner, standby power for appliances and two fans for distribution of air in the home.

We have a natural gas water heater, gas fired furnace and fireplace, gas dryer and gas barbeque.

So where is the money going?

So, we checked with some friends about the differences they experienced between the July and August Guelph Hydro bills from the same period the two months before. The comparison is for the base power cost not including the HST. Here is a snapshot of our survey.

Barkers – two persons – Net increase: $119 = 29.6% increase

Home A – single person – Net increase: $92 = 28.7% increase

Home B – two persons – Net increase: $113 = 36.8% increase

Home C – single person – Net Increase $66 = 23%increase

Home D – two persons – Net increase: $82 = 29% increase

Home E – two persons – Net increase: $79 = 61.4% increase

Home F – two persons – Net increase: $111 = 27.7% increase

Home G – two persons – Net increase: $101 = 51.3 increase

The surging price growth of power in Ontario           

In this brief survey there is a similar pattern of substantial increases in the cost of power. In our case, there was a slight per KWh increase over the same billing period in 2014. The summer of 2014 was much warmer than the recent July/August period. Since that time we have monitored two billing cycles and our electricity cost has remained in the same range. These past four months, our electricity bills have remained steady at about $125 per person per month, or on average, 20 per cent higher than 2014.

Now the government has announced a $17 billion retrofit of the six Bruce nuclear reactors. Next comes another multi-million dollar retrofit of the Darlington reactors.

With the gradual sell-off to private investors of Hydro One, it has already been announced that new management is planning to consolidate the 74 small municipal power distribution systems. Read that buy them out. A leading candidate for consolidation, Guelph Hydro is controlled by a separate corporation called Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc (GMHI). Guelph Hydro is municipally owned, it means that the board of GMHI can accept an offer to sell the utility. But it must still be ratified by city council, the majority of which will support the sale.

What’s Guelph Hydro worth? Probably the utility has a book value of at least $150 million. That’s why the former chair of GMHI, mayor Karen Farbridge, manipulated control in order to sell it and use the money to fund her past and present agenda. That was before she was defeated at the polls.

This is causing province-wide distress

Before you have a heart attack over all this, let’s look at the back of the hydro bill where the explanation of charges is found.

The first is for electricity. It is the cost of power supplied to us and is subject to competition. Well, what does this mean to we power consumers? The province has made deals with a number of corporations to develop sustainable energy sources that range from windmill farms to hydroelectric generators to nuclear power to solar power arrays.

Many of these privately-owned generation operations have been awarded 20-year contracts guaranteeing a KW rate that exceeds what the Ontario Power Generating Corporation (OPGC) charges municipal untilities. That’s why we receive this “Clean Energy Benefit.” If the OPGC charged what they pay those mostly privater clean energy suppliers, our power bills would be through the roof.

How does the Wynne government expect to attract business and manufacturing to Ontario with these sky-hight electricity costs?

If you can’t use it, give it away

There’s another problem. Ontario is awash with power with all these private deals it has made. You cannot store power so the province sells its surplus power to U.S. jurisdictions at less than cost. But we are still paying for it.

So consumers are left holding the bag. Just think about the decision to charge the HST for electricity, an essential service that we, in this northern hemisphere, cannot exist without.

And now the province has started to sell off Hydro One, the vital backbone of power distribution throughout Ontario. It’s like taking pennies off a dead man’s eyes. The Wynne government is going sell 60 per cent of Hydro One to private investors because they are desperate for money. The net will be less than $6 billion and will be gone in a flash to be spent on more Liberal programs including funding the new Ontario Pension Plan.

It is possible that Guelph Hydro will be sold within the next 24 months. That has the potential to be a $150 million bonanza that was planned by the former mayor when she created the off-balance sheet, Guelph Municipal Holdings Corporation. This corporation now has more than 125 employees and lost $2.8 million last year. It did manage to send a dividend of $1.5 million to the city as a dividend. That money came from the Guelph Hydro treasury. To me, this is an illegal tax on electricty.

The use of electricity was never meant to be a cash cow for the government

Next, let’s look at the regulatory fees ($18), delivery (143.40), and debt reduction ($21.02). Using our bill, it adds up to $182,42 or 57.79% of the actual cost of the electricity, ($315.64).

The final charge is for the 13 per cent HST that taxes all the above-mentioned costs on your bill.

And what do we get in return? The 10% Ontario Clean Energy Benefit that doesn’t even cover the HST charge.

These billing period increases are the price we pay for a life sustaining basic necessity. In the same bill your water charges are included but there is no HST charged for that life sustaining necessity.

Now Hydro is moving to monthly billing and the water bill will be split off and billed separately.

The government’s management of these essential services has been appalling. No wonder Ontario has the highest electricity prices in North America.

Feel free to comment on this guelphspeaks article. Make your opinion known.




Filed under Between the Lines

9 responses to “The Ontario Liberals have rigged your power charges and there is more to come

  1. Joe Black

    Back to kerosene lanterns and candles.I/we decided not to put up Christmas lights this year .Rather have a few bucks on in my pocket than theirs.

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Well, here are a few comments.
    I reduced the power consumed by outdoor Xmas lites by going to the green & red laser projection dots which consume only 5 watts of power and operate on a 6 hour on timer cycle. With a 5000 hr MTBF (mean time between failure) I may have to put them in my will. :>)
    The hydro boondoggle by both the politicians and hydro executives is absolutely unacceptable. The hydro executive level, including a president hauling in several millions in remuneration, should all be turfed out. Who could hope to justify their continued employment when one of their great FUBAR moves (in addition to high “feed in tariffs” for solar and wind power) was to convert a coal fired power plant to biomass that with the fuel pellets imported from Europe had a cost to generate electricity at 2500 times the ongoing system cost. Yes, 2500 times!! Are they brain dead? Drag them out of their plush offices and publicly humiliate them by putting them in a stock or pillory (check Wikipedia for definition & examples) in a public square where citizens can pelt them with garbage and rotten food.
    As for the politicians, the energy ministers over the last decade plus, if still in politics, along with the premier, should be hounded from office and forced to resign. Too bad Ontario doesn’t have legislation, as does BC, whereby an elected official (civic or provincial) can be recalled and forced to resign or run for re-election. It wouldn’t take long to make a list of say 7 “local yokel” civic politicians and a half dozen or so provincial politicians who should be recalled.
    I’m less than anxiously waiting to see how close to the mark will be Gerry’s prediction of a 3 to 3.5% property tax increase for Guelph even thought the yearly CPI increased by only 1%. :>(

    • Glen N. Tolhurst: You must be reading my mind, oooh scary! Tonight the GS Weekender will address the tax increase for 2016 and make a prediction. But you have to read it to the end. I don’t give up easily.

    • Tony Morrison.

      I’m all for pelting them with garbage and rotten food, but may I suggest tomatoes work better, especially if frozen or still in the can!

  3. lurka

    This is a disgrace! What in the world can we do to put a stop to this ?? Legally there has got to be something?? Candles and kerosene? Are we to regress that badly?? Seriously, there has to be some way to stop this before it gets more out of hand than it already is!! Speak up Ontarions! Write to Wynne each and every Sunday, or Monday if you prefer, or any other day— just write!! I did it with McGuinty and I am doing it with Ms Wynne.. Pick a topic a week and go for it !!

  4. BRENT

    Well it is hard to resist jumping into this issue again. My recent comments pertaining to the trend toward a new source of taxation, carbon emissions, for the Wynne Liberals, where we no longer have electricity as an alternative choice for reasonably priced energy unlike Quebecers, came just days before our auditor general revealed a scathing report of the electrical energy portfolio. Bless her for the thorough analysis of what we all have come to suspect thru our hydro bills.

    In the final analysis, the crises we are now experiencing in terms of the accelerating threats to our standard of living in spite of big advances in technological efficiencies, largely generated by private businesses, reflect back to the oppressive tax burden we are facing due to increasing rich compensation and benefits afforded those hired to provide our ever expanding government services. A classic example of this locally is the proposal to hire two “TRAIL TECHNICIANS” for about $120,000 each. It wasn’t too long ago that I recall that Maggie Laidlaw was railing about her worries that compensation to city employees should be generous to avoid she put it…a race to the bottom. Then she also said her prophetic wisdom, that we should expect that people would no longer be using cars in Guelph in 20 years.

    With respect to our provincial government there are in the order of 1.35 million employees. Just look at the compensation given the employees of OPG in consideration of the work they do!!! You will find a large percentage of them listed in the hallowed sunshine list. Now I was no big fan of Mr. Hudac’s political sense,…but just the proposal to slim down that payroll sent the media and citizens in a tizzy , and the good sense of the Provincial conservatives and their prospects for election went out the window in short order,,leaving the financially treasonous Liberals with a very rewarding majority government. Fancy that.. the bungling bunch that squandered three billion of our tax dollars were reaffirmed by the majority electorate( the ones that actually voted). So is it no wonder that they will continue to throw our economy into disarray. Their solution to their problem is to search out new innovative ways to tax. To the voters that embraced them….we now have the proposal to tax our carbon fuels. Unlike our USA neighbours we have barely seen any benefit from the collapsing oil prices. …but lots of job losses. Americans can now buy a US gal of gas ( 3.78 L)in the range of $1.60 to $ 2.00 down from about $4,00 a couple of years ago. This translates to prices of 65 cents to 75 cents Canadian per litre…while we pay about $1.00 down from about $1.40 . Meanwhile where is our Premier Wynne, formerly school trustee, the climate change conference self righteously vowing she will by introducing a cap and trade system . (a more obscure version of a carbon tax) compensate for the behavior of Ontarians who would dare to combust carbon based fuels in cars and trucks in order to make their living, distribute and produce their food or worse heat their homes in winter to escape the cold. Just the other day on CBC news an “authoritative guest” in a most misleading communication , referred to Canadians as the worst offenders of the world for carbon omissions. The truth is that you cannot talk about the full impact of a society or country and its citizens unless you calculate total emissions after absorption (eg by plants) for that jurisdiction.. For Canadians that figure is about 2% of global emissions. That means Ms Wynne and Mr Trudeau ( who is already giving away millions of our tax dollars to promote non carbon based energy development in countries with corrupt leadership) can exact all the taxes ( financial penalties ) they want on Canadians that will ironically reduce standard of living ( as McGuinty and Wynne have done for electricity) , and the global climate will still be at risk by the overwhelming emissions of the USA, India, China, Russia, and many other countries trying to burn their way into the developed world….and the current glut of oil and natural gas on the world markets hardly acts as a deterrent. In another era, the current response/behaviour of our political leadership would be regarded as treasonous.

    In conclusion, if you don’t like the electricity hit….just wait…soon we will see a carbon fuel hit too. There appears to be no way out of our dilemma….as we, the collective inadequately informed and gullible electorate , will face the negative financial consequence of our delinquent attention to or blind faith in our political leaders.

  5. lurka

    I have no faith, blind or otherwise, in the so-called political leaders, federal or provincial.

  6. Milton Burns

    Hold on to your wallet! On Nov 1.2015 the rates for electricity increase by 0.3 cents per Khr.for off peak, 0,6 cents for mid-peak and 1.4 cents for peak periods. On Jan1, 2016 the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit s will only apply to households with incomes below $50,000.. The Debt Retirement Charge will be eliminated
    as the taxpayers money from the sale of this asset will be used to retire Hydro debt .
    Gerry, it is very very bad and getting worst.

    • Milton Burns: Milton, as usual you have outlined Wynne’s retail electricity money grab. How this woman ever became premier is a political disaster. Her next move is to inflict a cap and trade program to grab more money. Canada’s official share of excessive carbon dioxide emissions is two per cent of the world’s contribution. Maybe it’s because of all those trees that survive on absorbing carbon dioxide.

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