Green energy, smart meters drive up hydro costs
The province insists green energy is the way to go, and that, combined with the introduction of smart meters means customers can expect to pay more very soon.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says "My first two summers as energy minister I was afraid to leave the province for fear of rolling brownouts and blackouts."
That is part of the reason the province has stood firm on plans for large-scale investments in the electricity grid and green technology.
Despite the growing backlash over rising bills, the provincial government appears to moving forward, but not everyone is convinced.
Julie Girvan of the Consumer's Council of Canada says "to necessarily say, all wind is good, all solar is good, let's connect it anywhere and everywhere we can regardless of the cost implication for consumers, I think they maybe need to rethink that."
In an effort to defray the rising costs for consumers, the province has introduced a 10 per cent rebate on hydro bills for the next five years.
Girvan says "At least it's a recognition on the part of the government that rising electricity prices are a problem for consumers."
But while the discount is in effect, the government has also acknowledged prices will rise 46 per cent over the next five years.
So what does that mean for your hydro costs?
The average Kitchener Wilmot Hydro customer using 800 kilowatt hours of electricity each month will see their bill change dramatically over the next five years:
- Currently the customer would be paying about $104.39
- By Jan. 1, 2011 it will drop to $93.95 with introduction of the 10 per cent rebate
- By 2015, it will hit $150.89 with the 46 per cent rise and the end of the rebate
By 2015 that means the customer will be paying $1810.68 annually, or $552.00 more per year than right now.
Consumers are likely going to take a little more convincing about how the extra money is being spent.
The energy plan must still be approved by various energy agencies in Ontario, and that won't be until after the 2011 election.
So everyone in Ontario will have a say in whether they approve of the provincial plan when it comes time to vote.