Ontario hydro bills to rise 42% in 5 years
(Toronto Sun files)
Ontario hydro bills are headed up, up, up.
The Liberal government’s new long-term energy plan shows that the average monthly residential bill of $125 will rise to $178 within five years — a 42% increase.
Hydro bills are expected to dip slightly in 2019 to $177 a month, and then rise again until 2022 when they’ll hit $193 a month.
A second decrease in prices is forecast for 2023-24 and then the trend for prices is onward and upward for the foreseeable future.
It could have been worse.
A decision to defer or cancel new nuclear construction, coupled with a few other initiatives to contain costs, shaved $13 off what the monthly bill would have been in 2018 if the Ontario government had implemented the last version of its long-term energy plan.
The new plan will save hydro ratepayers $3,800 between 2013-2030, the government says.
Premier Kathleen Wynne signalled that she’ll consider income testing for the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OECB), which currently takes 10% off the top of all hydro bills, and that could decrease some people’s bills past 2015.
The OECB is currently on track to end by 2016.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said his government faced an “energy deficit” when it took over from the Progressive Conservatives in 2003, and needed to spend $32 billion to improve transmission and distribution networks and in new cleaner generation.
“We had a lot of damage control to do so we had to invest in the system,” Chiarelli said.
The plan confirms that Ontario will not build new nuclear reactors but intends to go ahead with refurbishment of the Bruce and Darlington generating stations, starting in 2016.
Coal-fired generation of electricity is on schedule to be phased out at the end of this year, the report says.
Ontario expects to have half of its energy generated by renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2025 but will phase them in over a longer period than anticipated in the 2010 plan.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath did not express confidence that the Wynne government would be able to keep hydro rates as low as projected.
“For Ontarians paying the highest electricity bills in the country, the latest promises from the Liberal government of some relief on the hydro bills ring pretty hollow,” Horwath said. “Why should consumers believe the government has now got a plan when they haven’t stuck to any of the other long-term energy plans they’ve developed over a decade in office?”
Wynne said her government is taking a balanced approach to energy needs based on what was heard from First Nation and Métis communities, energy stakeholders, municipalities and consumers.
“Since 2003, what we have done is we have modernized an electricity system that was severely out of date, that needed investment, that needed upgrading,” Wynne said.
Typical Family’s Monthly Hydro Bill
2013 - $125
2014 - $137
2015 - $145
2016 - $167
2017 - $170
2018 - $178
2019 - $177
2020 - $181
2025 - $194
2030 - $205
(Source: Ontario Long-Term Energy Plan. 2013)
Do you think hydro rates are manageable?