Wynne confirms additional 17% hydro rate cut

Premier Kathleen Wynne has confirmed that there will be a further 17% decline in hydro rates for residential customers in Ontario, on top of the 8% cut that came into effect on January 1st.

In an announcement at Queens Park, Wynne admitted that her party, and others, had ignored or put off necessary spending on the province's electricity grid for half a century.

After that kind of neglect, she said, the cost of improvements made to the hydro system over the past decade are being unfairly paid by current taxpayers.

"In effect, this generation has been subsidizing not just those who came before, but those who will come next," Wynne said.

"That's not right, and it has been notably unfair on today's Hydro users."

Wynne said the province will pay for the savings by further stretching out the payment of current long-term generating contracts, a move that will cost about $1.4-billion per year in extra interest costs.

As well, electricity prices will only rise by the inflation rate for at least the next four years.

Support programs for rural and low-income customers will also be expanded, costing the provincial treasury as much as $2.5-billion over the next three years.

Wynne said that, despite the price tag, she is confident her government can still bring in a balanced budget next year.