Ontario hydro bills to cost another $137 for most in 2016

Electricity bills for most Ontario households will increase an average of $137 next year because of changes to Liberal government programs.

Family of 4 with less than $28,000 annual income could save up to $525

Low-income households in Ontario will get a break on their hydro bills next January, while all others will see an increase 1:46

Electricity bills for most Ontario households will increase an average of $137 next year because of changes to Liberal government programs.

The 10 per cent rebate on all hydro bills — the so-called clean energy benefit averaging $17 a month — will end on Jan 1.

At the same time, the debt retirement charge of roughly $5.60 a month, used to pay off old nuclear program costs, will also end. It has been added to bills for the past 10 years.

The government is also starting a rebate program of $20 to $50 a month for low-income residents.

That will add about 70 cents a month to hydro bills for other customers, depending on how many people apply for the discounts.

The sliding scale of hydro rebates will depend on the size of a family as well as its income level.

Engery Minister Bob Chiarelli offered the following scenario as he unveiled the program Thursday:

"For example, for a family of four with an annual income of less than $28,000, the combined savings from the Ontario Electricity Support Program and the removal of the debt retirement charge, will be about $525 annually."

His ministry`s website says savings from just the $38 monthly credit for the same family totals about $455 per year. 

A family of three bringing in $35,000 a year will get a credit of $30 on their monthly hydro bill.

The government says the program will help about half a million households, starting Jan. 1, 2016.

However, hydro bills will increase for those households with combined incomes higher than $50,000 to help fund the new Ontario Electricity Support Program for low-income households.

Engery Minister Bob Chiarelli on Thursday said as the program is rolled out, the province will work with social services agencies and local distribution companies to let people know how to reduce their hydro bills.

For example, he said the government will have to work to help those eligible to access the seniors' energy tax credit.

"This requires the senior citizen to apply with their income tax return, and we are finding a lot of seniors are not accessing that program, so we will be encouraging people to access," he said.

With files from CBC News


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