Ontario is taking action to reduce electricity costs and intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would rebate the provincial portion of the HST from the electricity bills of residential, small business and farms as of January 1, 2017. Rural electricity ratepayers would receive additional relief and commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from lower electricity costs, the government said in a statement. About five million families will benefit, it was stated.
Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy, said: “The actions we’re announcing today would benefit all ratepayers in a meaningful way. Many rural and northern customers would receive significant rate relief through these initiatives. Expanding incentives across Ontario would create more opportunity for businesses to be competitive and manage their electricity costs. Rebating provincial taxes from electricity bills would provide extra relief for families, farms and small businesses.”
Over the last number of years, Ontario’s economy has recovered from the impact of the global recession. While the province and independent economic analysts project consistent economic growth for Ontario, many families are not yet feeling the impact of the recovery in their everyday lives. Therefore, Ontario intends to take action to help with the costs related to electricity.
Together, these actions would provide a benefit to all electricity consumers in Ontario, including:
- Reducing Ontario residential electricity bills by 8 per cent on the amount before tax, an average savings of about $130 annually or $11 each month
- Providing eligible rural ratepayers with additional relief, decreasing total electricity bills by an average of $540 a year or $45 each month
- Empowering businesses to reduce their bill by up to 34 per cent through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative
About five million residential consumers, farms and small businesses, along with more than one thousand industrial customers will be positively impacted by these changes.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $35 billion in over 16,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished clean generation, including nuclear, natural gas and renewables – this represents about 40 per cent of our current supply.
- Ontario eliminated coal-fired electricity generation, replacing it with cleaner sources of energy, which has decreased electricity sector emissions by approximately 80 per cent since 2003.
- To help reduce electricity costs, Ontario has already removed the Debt Retirement Charge from residential electricity bills and introduced the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) to provide a monthly credit to low-income households who have applied and meet the eligibility requirements.
- As outlined in the 2016 Budget and the Climate Change Action Plan, the government intends to use a portion of the cap and trade auction proceeds to reduce greenhouse gases by helping industrial and commercial electricity consumers use less electricity, which will also help to keep rates affordable.
- ICI provides a strong incentive for large electricity consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours to reduce their bills by up to one-third. Expanding ICI would reduce cost pressures on the electricity system by enabling more consumers to lower their electricity demand during peak periods. – CINEWS