Energy minister Glenn Thibeault says he has no control over proposed hydro pole fees

The Minister of Energy says there isn’t much he can do about a possible increase to hydro pole attachment fees in Ontario.

Ontario Energy Board proposing 133% increase for fees on hydro poles

Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault says it will be the Ontario Energy Board that makes the decision whether to increase hydro pole rates, not him. (CBC)

The Minister of Energy says there isn't much he can do about a possible increase to hydro pole attachment fees in Ontario.

Last week, CBC News reported a 133 per cent increase is being proposed by the Ontario Energy Board.

Internet and cable providers pay a fee to hydro companies to attach their wires to hydro poles. Providers have formed the Ontario Broadband Coalition to fight the rate hike as they say the expense would be one they'd be forced to pass on to customers.

Energy minister Glenn Thibeault says there isn't much he can do.

"They can send those [letters] to me but this is an OEB decision and as the Ontario Energy Board is our economic regulator it is not something that I can say yay or nay to," he said.

"They make their decision. We don't overrule the economic regulator."

The coalition says if the hydro pole fee goes through they may be forced to halt broadband expansion plans to rural and remote communities.

Thibeault says he's not aware of any company that's looking at dropping broadband expansion plans over the proposed increase.

"I've talked with some of the companies," he said.

"Some of them are very concerned, others say 'yes they understand it's the cost of doing business', but ultimately the OEB has the interest of the electricity and energy ratepayer at heart and so they've got to make sure that there will be no costs associated with that."

With files from Angela Gemmill


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