Tories say Liberals spent $11.7M on consultants, media for hydro rebate plan

Ontario's energy minister admits the bulk of nearly $12 million spent on the government's plan to offer financial help to low-income electricity customers went to consultants and advertising.

Energy minister says money spent on 'robust and effective promotions campaign'

Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault says that the government had to make people aware of the new low-income hydro program. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

Ontario's energy minister admits the bulk of nearly $12 million spent on the government's plan to offer financial help to low-income electricity customers went to consultants and advertising.

The Progressive Conservatives accuse the Liberals of badly mismanaging the Ontario Electricity Support Program because $11.7 million of the $11.9 million budget went to consultants, publications, media and advertising.

About 137,000 of an estimated 500,000 eligible families have been approved to get between $30 and $50 a month taken off their electricity bills since the program started last January. 

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault says "it's essential that the government work with social service agencies and indigenous communities to communicate" the on-bill credits, which he believes are "very significant for low-income families."

Thibeault calls it a "robust and effective promotions campaign" that led to more than 230,000 applications for the hydro discounts.

To qualify for the maximum amount, a family of six must have a household income of $28,000 or less, or a family of seven could have an income up to $39,000.