Ontario Government Releases Plan to Cut Hydro Rates

Premier Kathleen Wynne is defending her government's plan to cut hydro rates by an average of 17 per-cent, saying it might cost more over the long term but it will be more fair.

The reduction, on top of an eight per-cent rebate that took effect in January, is being achieved by refinancing current long-term power generation contracts over even longer terms.

Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala says this is great news for our community and will provide immediate and significant relief for all Ontarians.

"Our plan will lower bills for Ontario families, farms and small businesses by an average of 25 per-cent and will limit increases to 2 per-cent per year for the next four years. We will help vulnerable electricity consumers by enhancing electricity support and conservation programs and removing costs from electricity bills. Eligible customers will receive additional funding through assistance programs including: a new Affordability Fund, Broadening Rural or Remote Rate Protection, Expanding the Ontario Electricity Support Program, and Establishing a new On-Reserve First Nations Delivery Rate."

The move comes with a price tag of up to $1.4-billion a year in extra interest costs, extra costs that will ultimately come due for rate payers in the future.

Wynne says the plan shares the financial burden more equally but the Progressive Conservatives say the Liberals are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and both are Ontario taxpayers.