Energy Minister: Hydro Cuts A Response To Demand

A response to public demand is how Ontario's energy minister characterizes the Liberal government's move to add $1.4-billion in debt to cut hydro bills an average of 17%.

Glen Thibeault speaking to AM800's The Afternoon News after his government's major announcement.

"We have been trying to find ways to help with the eight per cent reduction, with the changes with to the triple rp, with cancelling some of our large renewable procurement projects," says Thibeault. "That had savings for the rate payer but what we were hearing over and over again was it wasn't enough, it was not helping as many people as it should."

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced refinancing long-term power contracts to even longer terms would help realize the roughly 17% cuts to power bills, on top of an 8% rebate that took effect January 1, 2017.

Thibeault says stretching out the contracts will take some of the burden off of Ontarians. 

"It is actually giving us bigger relief right now for the customers who are nearing the front loaded burden that our assets were costing them," says Thibeault. "So by spreading that out, by extending the amount of time that we would actually pay off these contracts is allowing us to bring forward this significant 25 per cent reduction."

The government also took other measures to cut costs including removing the delivery charge for on-reserve First Nations customers. Some rural ratepayers will also see their distribution costs reduced.