Rising hydo rate puts strain on family budgets
The executive director of the Social Planning Council in Sudbury says more families may have to rely on food banks after hydro rates are increased on Nov. 1.
Janet Gasparini says that despite more expensive hydro bills, people working for minimum wage or on social assistance haven’t seen any increases in their incomes.
“From a very small pool of money, more of that money is needed to meet basic housing and heat and hydro and those kinds of things, and leaving less money for groceries and participating in society,” Gasparini said.
As of Nov. 1, the regulated price of electricity is going up 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour across the province for households and small businesses.
The Ontario Energy Board, which sets the prices, estimates that will translate into an extra $4 a month for an average household, or a three per cent increase.
Gasparini says she expects people will end up relying more heavily on food banks and programs in the community.
“People are already making significant decisions about paying the rent or buying groceries,” Gasparini said. “So they pay the rent, and they have to rely on the food bank system, and the mission, and eating programs in the community, and this makes it that much more difficult.”