The Ontario government has unveiled its long-term energy strategy and if you're paying a power bill, you can expect to pay up to 33 per cent more in coming years.
The average monthly bill in Ontario right now is around $125 per month. By 2016, that will jump to $167 a month. Within 20 years, the average bill will rise to $210 per month.
One of the factors is the end of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which currently knocks 10 per cent off part of your hydro bill. There are no plans to continue that program beyond 2015.
Instead, the Wynne government will introduce programs aimed an encouraging ratepayers to use less power.
Boost in conservation efforts
The government expects Ontarians to boost conservation by 11 per cent over 20 years by making the following changes:
- A possible rise in the price difference between peak and off-peak hours for power use.
- A new program to offer loans for renovations that boost energy efficiency, with the cost added to the user's monthly hydro bill.
- Changes to allow each ratepayer to view their electricity usage rates compared and contrasted with those of their neighbours.
The Liberals will still proceed with upgrades to nuclear reactors at the Darlington and Bruce generating stations starting in 2016. The government also plans to shut down the Pickering nuclear station by 2020.
The government says though rates are going up, they are not as high as predicted in the last energy plan released three years ago.
The opposition argues this is not good news, saying the reason the province doesn't need new sources of power is because so many manufacturing jobs have been lost in Ontario.
The Progressive Conservatives said the Liberal power strategy will fail to bring back lost jobs and will drive companies out of the province.
"This is a government that's actually doubled hydro rates and chased 300,000 manufacturing jobs out of the province," said PC Leader Tim Hudak.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ontario families and businesses pay the highest electricity rates in Canada because of the Liberal government's policies.
"This doesn't look like a plan for affordable power," Horwath told the legislature. "It looks like a desperate government trying to hold on to political power."