Ontario Votes 2014

Election candidates promise to reduce pinch of power bills

With a week to go on the campaign trail, provincial election candidates are ramping up efforts to reach out to voters — and the rising cost of electricity bills is one issue that keeps coming up.
All major political parties have ideas to give you a break on your power bill. (CBC)

With a week to go on the campaign trail, provincial election candidates are ramping up efforts to reach out to voters — and the rising cost of electricity bills is one issue that keeps coming up.

“[It’s] one of the top two or three items, every time I do knock on the door,” said  Timiskaming-Cochrane riding candidate Peter Politis, who is running with the PC Party of Ontario.

“People are really, really concerned.”

The Liberal candidate for Timiskaming-Cochrane says at almost every house he visits, people want to talk about power and the cost of green energy.

“There's been a whole lot of talk from the other parties about scrapping the clean energy act and you kind of hear it a little bit at the door, but people are glad we made some hard decisions that we had to make in terms of the dirty coal plants that ensured that we are looking for the future,” Sebastien Goyer said.

Goyer noted the Liberals plan to drop a long-standing debt-retirement charge to lower electricity bills. However, the Grits also plan to end a 10 per cent subsidy that was a campaign promise last time around.

'Nothing ... parties can do'

The Ontario PC party plan involves cutting back on subsidies for green energy.

Energy consultant Tom Adams said that could prove difficult, because the province is locked into long contracts.

“There's a question mark that hangs over how effective the PCs could conceivably be in achieving reductions,” he said.

John Kiemele, an energy analyst with a firm called En-Pro International, says the move could bring savings in the long run.

But in the short term, “there is really nothing I don't think that any of the parties can do to eliminate that because of the length of the term of these contracts that the Ontario power authority has made,” Kiemele said.

Meanwhile, said the NDP says it will drop the provincial portion of the HST to lower electricity bills.

Kiemele said that would give people a small break, but it doesn't actually address the rising cost for electricity.

Adams remarked the NDP plan amounts to a shift in taxation, because that revenue will have to come from elsewhere.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now