Bill tabled in assembly; relief promised in hydro costs

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New legislation was introduced in the provincial assembly yesterday that would, if passed, reduce electricity costs for about five million residential consumers, small businesses and farms. The province is also pursuing amendments to provide additional savings opportunities to more than 1,000 large energy consumers across the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Ottawa today to highlight savings for families and businesses in the Ontario Rebate for Electricity Consumers Act, 2016. The proposed bill would save families, farmers and small businesses eight per cent directly on their electricity bills by providing a permanent on-bill rebate equal to the provincial portion of the HST. Rural consumers would receive an additional benefit from decreased rural delivery charges for eligible customers. Combined with the eight per cent rebate, this would mean average savings of $540 a year or $45 each month for eligible rural customers.

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Wynne said: “”To build this province up for everyone, people need clean and reliable electricity. But it also needs to be affordable. I have listened to people’s concerns about how the price of electricity is adding to their daily pressures. And our proposed legislation is a solution that will save people money so that family budgets can go further.”

Critical investments

Building on existing programs, including the Ontario Electricity Support Program, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit and the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, these measures would deliver the electricity cost relief Ontarians need, while the government continues to make the critical investments necessary to maintain a modern, clean and reliable energy system.

  • Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $35 billion in over 16,000 megawatts of new and refurbished clean generation, including nuclear, natural gas and renewables, representing about 40 per cent of Ontario’s current supply.
  • The Ontario Electricity Support Program provides a monthly on-bill rate reduction to make electricity more affordable for low-income families.
  • Ontario’s removal of the Debt Retirement Charge from electricity bills this past January is saving a typical residential electricity user about $70 each year.
  • Between 2015 and 2020, Ontario will invest over $2.6 billion through its Conservation First Framework to help homeowners and businesses become more energy efficient and save money.
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Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy: “These actions will benefit all ratepayers in a meaningful way. Many rural and northern customers would receive significant rate relief. Expanding incentives across Ontario would create more opportunity for businesses to be competitive and manage their electricity costs. Permanently rebating provincial taxes from electricity bills will provide extra relief for families, farms and small businesses.”

The government is also proposing amendments to expand the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), empowering more than 1,000 more businesses to shift their consumption away from peak periods. The expanded ICI would include all sectors and have a lower threshold for participation, delivering savings directly to the consumer and the system as a whole. – CINEWS

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