To the editor:
Re:Ontario Chamber urges province to get jumping energy prices in check
In a recent article published in this paper, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has encouraged that the Ontario government lower electricity costs for businesses by increasing the bills of residential ratepayers. The Chamber’s recommendation that hardworking families and seniors pay higher electricity bills is not something our government will accept. We are proud of our commitment to remove the Debt Retirement Charge from residential bills beginning January 1, 2016 –two years earlier than planned. This is an important step in helping Ontario families reduce the cost of electricity by an average of $70 a year.
We understand how important it is to help businesses in Ontario address energy costs. While we seek to reduce costs through conservation initiatives and prudent system planning, we have also implemented a wide range of programs to reduce the cost of electricity for businesses. Our conservation programs and our new 5-Point Small Business Energy Savings Plan are directly assisting businesses in maximizing the cost saving benefits of conservation.
In recent months, I have toured the Province discussing our rate mitigation and conservation savings programs such as the Industrial Conservation Initiative, the Industrial Electricity Initiative, the saveONenergy Incentive Grant, and the Combined Heat and Power Standard Offer Program. In communities Vaughan, Sudbury, Windsor, and Hamilton we have had the opportunity to highlight these programs and help industries realize the potential savings. This is central to our government`s commitment to support a dynamic business climate, local economies, and job creation.
Ontario’s residential and industrial electricity rates will remain competitive with jurisdictions across North America. Industrial rates in Northern Ontario are among the lowest in Canada and lower than those in 45 American states. Industrial rates in Southern Ontario are lower than in Michigan, Wisconsin and New Jersey and in line with states like Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
It’s also important that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce remember that our government has taken a dirty system and made it clean. Ontario completely eliminated dirty coal-fired generation – meaning our province will have a cleaner future. And while other jurisdictions are still burning dirty coal for two-thirds of their power, our government is proud that we have achieved competitive rates while undertaking the largest climate change initiative in North America - ensuring cleaner air for Ontarians and reducing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions to historically low levels.
Our government has spent the past decade modernizing an electricity system that badly needed to be fixed. Our action has ensured Ontarians have the power they need, when they need it. The people of Ontario no longer need to worry if the lights will come on when they flip the switch each morning.
Ontario Energy Minister